Prayer isn’t a great mystery or something reserved for the most devoted followers of Jesus. And it’s not just for mealtime, weddings or funerals. Prayer is for every believer who wants a stronger relationship with God and to see the power of God manifest in their life.
Let’s pray before we dive into this topic: Dear Father, let your sacred Scripture minister to me in a way that grounds me and helps me become the kind of person you’ve called me to be. In Christ’s name, Amen.
My topic today is Developing a Prayer Life. A foundational principle of prayer simply means to talk to God. It’s nothing fancy or deep. God doesn’t just want us to have casual prayers. He doesn’t just want emergency prayers. Even though both casual and emergency prayers have a place, that’s not the style of prayer I am referring to. I am talking about a lifestyle of prayer.
“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” —Max Lucado (American Author)
Paul, the apostle, wrote a letter to the church of Colossae. This city was located in what we would call modern-day Turkey. A young pastor visited Paul while he was in a Roman prison because many problems were going on in the church of Colossae. The pastor questioned Paul and asked him for wisdom on dealing with heresy and false doctrine. Paul gave him answers, and amidst the answers came Paul’s clear teaching on how the people of Colossae can develop a strong prayer life.
Do you have situations in your life that are bigger than you?
Do you have people in your life who you need God’s help to deal with them?
One of the most challenging things, even for people in the Bible, is to establish a prayer life. It’s hard to spend daily time with God. It is difficult, but it’s very doable. To develop a prayer life, you need to make prayer a priority.
As I mentioned before, prayer is talking to God. It is a conversation with Him. When you make prayer a priority, you realize the reason why you pray is not just to get stuff from God. You pray because God loves you and wants you to spend time with Him. When you have that in mind, it removes all guilt and shame.
When you know that your Heavenly Father loves you and He knows your weaknesses, you can realize that He truly just wants to spend time with you.
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people” (Colossians 1:3-4, NIV).
Paul is writing to the church at Colossae, and he starts by saying that prayer is a priority. He says that before he asks God to help them, he thanks God for them.
What a tremendous way to prioritize the value of prayer. Paul is thanking God for the Colossians because they added value to him and them. He loved the relationship that they had.
Spending time with God is pure.
If you think about all the things that He has done for you and spared you from, isn’t He worthy of you just telling Him thank you? Spending time with God is so important. To have a prayer life, you have to make prayer a priority.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed” (Mark 1:35, NIV).
The night before, Jesus stayed overnight at Simon and Andrew’s home. The Scripture tells us that Simon’s mother-in-law was sick with a fever. Jesus prayed for her, and she was healed. The Bible says the entire village came out, and many were healed and delivered. Jesus was probably exhausted.
It is draining when you are ministering to others. The following day He woke up and walked gingerly outside the house to find a private place to pray. Why?
If you want prayer to become a priority, you should set a prayer time.
Might I suggest that you start taking 15 minutes a day to pray? If you’re going to have a standing appointment with God, it helps to develop patterns. The
Father wants a close relationship with you. You have to be intentional about keeping your appointment with God. If you want to stick with your 15 minutes of prayer, set the time according to what works best for you. If you’re a morning person, pray in the morning. If you’re an evening person, pray in the evening. Set the appointment and keep it.
How do you have time to pray every day?
What can I talk to God about?
Here’s what I suggest you do to develop a life of prayer—pray the Scriptures. It gives you beautiful words to pray. God’s word is full of relevant prayers.
“We have not stopped praying for you since the first day we heard about you. In fact, we always pray that God will show you everything He wants you to do and that you may have all the wisdom and understanding His spirit gives. Then you will live a life that honors the Lord, and you will always please Him by doing good deeds. You will come to know God even better. His glorious power will make you patient and strong enough to endure anything, and you will be truly happy. I pray that you will be grateful to God for letting you have part in what He has promised His people in the kingdom of light. God rescued us from the dark power of Satan and brought us into the kingdom of His dear Son” (Colossians 1:9-13, CEV).
If you’re going to have a daily prayer life, you need a plan. You need things to pray about. If you don’t know how to pray or what to say, ask God for guidance, just like Paul when he was praying for the people of Colossae. He asked God to give them direction. I
want you to recognize that you can steal that verse and pray it.
Why pray the Scriptures?
Because God’s word is powerful.
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires (Hebrews 4:12, NLT).
When you pray God’s word, you have the language to articulate precisely what you need to say. You can know that when you pray God’s word, it gets in between bone and marrow. His word can expose and penetrate areas that are dark to you and that you don’t understand.
If we go back to Colossians, I will show you how to pray those verses over yourself, others and your communities.
- Praying verse nine over yourself—God, show me everything you want me to do. And that I may have all the wisdom and understanding Your Spirit gives.
- Praying verse 10 over others—God, I pray that (insert name) will live a life that honors the Lord, and they will always please Him by doing good deeds. May they come to know God even better.
- Praying verse 11 over communities—God, I pray that your glorious power will make others patient and strong enough to endure anything and that they will be truly happy.
Many people today are doing crazy things because they’re just not happy. They are not at peace with themselves.
What would happen if you were the spiritual priest of your family? What if you were the one praying and crying out to God for them? I want you to understand what would happen if you were the intercessor for your family.
I believe God will do powerful things through you. If you want to develop a prayer life, you have to make prayer a priority. Pray the Scriptures.
Don’t let prayer be sporadic but make it a habit. To get stronger in prayer, you need a disciplined lifestyle.
“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about His mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains” (Colossians 4:2-3, NLT).
Paul is encouraging these Christ followers to develop the habit of prayer by being devoted to it. You commit yourself to prayer by having an alert mind, becoming aware of when you’re drifting away from spiritual practices and noticing when you’re distracted by social media and earthly things.
Be mindful of how you forget to spend time with God. This is why Paul tells us to devote ourselves to prayer with an alert mind. He also tells us to develop a prayer habit by being thankful.
One of the greatest things is having a heart of gratitude. If you want to break the spirit of depression, start being thankful in prayer. Thank God for all that He has given you.
We also see in this Scripture that Paul is asking for doors of opportunity to be open. He is saying, if you want a strong prayer life, pray bold prayers. Ask God to take you on spiritual adventures. God can take a boring life and make it exciting, fantastic and dynamic. Ask God to send you on an assignment. Look at yourself as an ambassador for the Kingdom of God. Pray that God will use you for His glory.
To develop a prayer life, make prayer a priority, pray the Scriptures and make prayer a habit. If you can do these three things, you’re on your way to becoming a powerhouse in God.
Let’s close in prayer: Dear Father, thank You for what You’re doing. Thank You for the power of the Holy Spirit at work in each of our lives. Continue to transform us for Your glory in Christ’s name, Amen.