I grew up in a Christian home, and learned at an early age that prayer was important. We would pray as a family before every meal, during family devotions, before we took a trip in the car, and at church services and bible study. Anytime I was sick or going through a difficult time, my parents’ first response was to pray with me. I can remember seeing my mom either on the couch or lying prostrate in her office/prayer room crying out to God. I would also find my dad in his bedroom reading his word and praying on a daily basis. As a child, it was very evident that talking with God was crucial and something that should be done regularly.
I carried that foundational practice of prayer with me into adulthood. But If I’m being honest, I have not always prayed in depth or set time apart to commune with God as I should. When difficult situations have risen, my first response has not always been to cry out to God. I’ve been guilty of hitting God up with a quick prayer of thanks in the morning or a laundry list of wants and needs just before I drift off to sleep. I’ve been inconsistent for most my life, until around ten years ago when my prayer life changed tremendously.
I had come to a place in my walk with the Lord where I had grown tired of the same ole same ole. I would read the word of God and wonder why things I was reading about were not happening in my own personal life. I’d pray, but not with fervency. I knew something had to give and the cookie-cutter, stale, dry prayers I was praying was not going to cut it for the situations I was facing. I wanted to know God more intimately and be able to pray bold prayers of faith. I didn’t want to just read about the miracles in the Bible, but I wanted to experience them for myself. I wanted to tap into the power of prayer the word of God said it had. I wanted to be a person who fights for her family, friends, and the world around me in prayer. It was then that a hunger for God like I have never experienced before began to stir up within me.
So, I began to study about prayer and read books I could find on the topic. As I searched and studied the word of God, the Lord began to show me what it takes to be an effective prayer warrior. The following tips are what I’ve learned on my journey to become a prayer warrior:
- Make prayer a priority.
Life is busy, I get it! As a mom of two young girls, most days, I definitely feel like a candle burning at both ends. But the truth of the matter is, we can’t afford not to pray. We need Him in every aspect of our lives. We need to commune with Him to survive each day with His strength and grace. We shouldn’t pencil him into our schedules, but rather let God be the agenda setter. We forget that when we put Him first, everything else falls into place (Matthew 6:33). We make time for so many other things in our lives, and prayer should not be an exception. Make a conscience decision and say, “regardless of what is going on in my life, I’m going to stop and put you first.” This may mean making some sacrifices such as: getting up early, cutting off social media, or saying no to social engagements. Do whatever it takes to spend time in the presence of God and see what a difference it will make in your life.
Let’s not forget what a privilege it is to have direct access to the Father because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. We don’t have to schedule an appointment or be in a certain location. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spent my time while waiting in the carpool line to really pour my heart out to God. Anytime or anywhere we have an opportunity to talk with the one and only true God, the creator of the universe, the very one who holds the world in His hands; we should take advantage of this. The great thing is He speaks back to us. Prayer is not meant to be one sided. When we truly quiet the chaos in our lives and spend time at the feet of Jesus, then we can hear His heart. We can find the strength and grace we need for every situation, wisdom and clarity for those times we don’t know what to do, peace that passes all understanding, and true joy for our times of sorrow.
- Pray the scripture.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I go to pray I’m at a loss for words. I’m not a big talker and I’ve never felt like I was very eloquent when I speak. I’m so thankful for the word of God, which is our blueprint for prayer. Some scriptures tell us about God and all His goodness, helping us to learn to express our praise. In other scriptures you’ll find instruction on how we should conduct ourselves, how we should confess our sins, seek encouragement, and even how we should ask for help. Scripture will teach us how and what to pray. When we read the word of God, we can then pray in response to it. When a particular scripture speaks to you, ask God to work that truth into your heart. Personalize every promise you read and pray God’s very words back to Him. We’d be so much better off if we’d use the word of God for every issue that arises in our life instead of seeking advice and help from outside sources. The word of God is the roadmap for our lives.
- Pray fervently, persistently, and expectantly.
Let’s be real, there are certain situations that only take a simple prayer and there are others that take fervency and persistence. Be a person who refuses to pray mediocre prayers. Be a person who is willing to do battle for yourself and others using the weapon of prayer. The enemy knows the power of persistent prayer and would like to discourage us when we don’t receive an answer right away or don’t see anything changing in our situations. Be aware of his schemes and like the children of Israel, keep circling your Jericho. Keep praying and do not lose heart (Luke 18:1).
The word of God says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “to pray without ceasing.” I used to think, “how on earth is that possible with everything I’m juggling?” But I’ve learned that sometimes you’ll get to pray 30 minutes or even hours and sometimes you’ll go about your day praying as you’re washing dishes, folding clothes, or just before your three-year-old pushes you over the edge. HA! There’s really not an excuse for why we can’t be in constant prayer.
Not only should you pray fervently and persistently, but expectantly as well. God is not a genie, and when we pray in faith it doesn’t mean His answer will always be yes or in the time frame we’d like. The outcome of certain situations may not always look like we think they should, but be for sure He hears us and He has our best interest in mind. Trust that He will answer you because, “He’s a good, good Father!”
The bottom line of all I’ve said here is that prayer is a necessity and effective. I hope these few tips I’ve shared have been helpful and encouraging. Are you ready to become a prayer warrior? Start today!
Question: What steps are you going to take to make prayer a priority in your life to become a prayer warrior? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!