Last year, 221 followers of Christ voted in a poll I tweeted: “Where do you need to improve the most in 2017 by God’s grace?” Of that number, 39% voted prayer, 38% Bible reading/study, 15% life application, and 8% service/ministry.
I can certainly relate with the desire to pray more and pray better. Prayer is our lifeline to God, and all through Jesus’ life on earth, we see Him model the praying life.
Here are two dozen little tips that can make a big difference in your prayer life this year:
1. Don’t just pray the Lord’s Prayer, use it as a pattern to model your prayer life as a whole after. (Matthew 6:9-13)
2. Don’t be vague when making your requests known to God. Pray specific prayers, telling God what you would love to see happen in your life and the lives of those around you, according to His will. (Ephesians 3:14-21).
3. Pray for God to make you a bold and effective witness for Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Remember that the first thing the Spirit’s power enables us to do is be Christ’s witnesses, bearing testimony of Him without fear. (Acts 4:29-30)
4. Don’t give up on praying for Nigeria and encouraging others to do same. (Daniel 9:3-5).
5. It’s perfectly okay to just be in God’s presence counting your blessings and thanking Him for all He has done, without asking for stuff. (2 Samuel 7:18)
6. God offers us grace and a clean slate when we fail; it always was His nature and we are even more blessed to be under the New Covenant in Christ’s blood. Remember this when you repent before Him. (Psalm 51:10-13).
7. You can be honest with God; He already knows everything anyway. Be open with Him about your sins, failures, shortcomings, dreams, and desires. There is no need to hide from the One who can heal and help you. (Ezra 9:6)
8. Pray for others, including your spiritual leaders and those you lead. (Philemon 1:4-7).
9. It’s good to pray not just quietly, but also out loud for those with you to hear, like Jesus did. It builds faith. (John 11:41-42).
10. Pray for clarity, direction, and for God to always show and confirm to you what he wants you to do. (Judges 6:36)
11. This year, don’t just pray for solutions; ask God to open your eyes to see how you can be part of the solution. (Habakkuk 1:2-4)
12. God longs to comfort those whose hearts are aching or grieving. Pray for them. (1 Samuel 1:11)
13. Pray for deliverance to come to those who are in spiritual or physical danger. Remember our brothers and sisters in #SouthernKaduna, in IDP camps, and other war-torn zones and distressing situations around the world. (2 Kings 19:15-19)
14. There’s never a wrong place or time to pray. (Jonah 2:1-9)
15. Pray that Jesus will truly be the centre of His church and that we will reflect His love, power, and glory. (Romans 15:5)
16. Pray that God will strengthen you to do His will; it’s not always easy. (Matthew 26:39)
17. Don’t feel bad about praying for greatness. Everything you have and are is for God. (1 Chronicles 4:10)
18. Do you ever wonder if God really hears or cares? Feel free to talk to God about your doubts. (Jeremiah 14:7-9)
19. Kneeling isn’t the only acceptable prayer position. Express yourself before Your Father without shame or fear. (Joshua 7:6-9)
20. Remember to ask God for wisdom. He gives it generously. (1 Kings 3:5-9, James 1:5).
21. Is there a cause or an issue on your heart? Ask God to help you be a change agent and a true leader. (Nehemiah 1:4-11)
22. Pray for discernment and for the Spirit’s help in all your decision making. (Philippians 1:3-11).
23. Pray that your life, and the lives of believers all over the world, will reflect who Jesus truly is. (Colossians 1:9-12)
24. From time to time, sit quietly before God and allow the Holy Spirit to take over and pray for you. (Romans 8:26).
The effectual, fervent prayer of the person in right standing with God makes tremendous power available. This year, pray!