Sometimes prayer is boring.
If you pray often and conscientiously, you know this is true. Perhaps you use a prayer journal to list the people and ministries you want to pray for. Or maybe you have a structure for your time of intercession, like one of my favorites, P.A.R.T. (Praise, Admit, Request, Thanksgiving). You might have a simple method, like praying daily for your family, friends, and missionaries.
However you structure your prayer time, if you pray often, you probably battle boredom from time to time.
One of the unexpected benefits of my husband’s recent unemployment has been that he's been able to walk with me in the mornings. In almost 32 years of marriage, we’ve never had schedules that allowed time to exercise together. For the past three months, however, we’ve been walking for an hour every morning, and while we walk, we pray.
After a few weeks, I noticed we were praying the same prayers, in the same order, for the same people, day after day. I knew repetition was necessary, but boredom was not. We put our heads together and brainstormed ways to infuse new life and joy into our times of intercession.
Today I’d like to share three ways that helped jazz up our prayer time.
1. Use the alphabet to praise God.
We begin most of our prayer times by praising God. Reminding ourselves of who God is is a powerful reminder that he is quite capable of answering our prayers and working on our behalf. Using the alphabet, we list a character quality or attribute of God for every letter (X is tough). Then we turn each attribute into something for which to praise him.
Here’s an example: “God, you are our Advocate. Thank you for interceding for us when we are unable to help ourselves. You are also Benevolent, providing all we need, every day, in just the right amounts. I praise you for being Compassionate. You are a God who feels our pain, sympathizes with our weaknesses, and collects our tears in a bottle. . . .”
2. Use the alphabet to pray for people.
Like chronicling the attributes of God with the ABCs, praying for people using the alphabet can also take your prayer time in a fresh new direction. Use the sequence of letters to prompt you to pray for a person whose name (first or last) begins with the next letter.
Here’s an example: “Father, today I’d like to pray for Aaron. Strengthen him in his faith. Help him love his wife as Christ loves the church. Help him parent his daughter wisely, and bless their unborn baby. Be with Bethany, too. Help her grow to love you more every day. Inspire her to read her Bible every day and work hard in school. Thank you, Father, for Chris, draw him to yourself. Save him and make him a mighty man of God for your glory.
3. Pray for people for whom you don’t regularly pray.
The only rule for this prayer approach is that you can’t have prayed for the person recently. Ask God to bring people to mind, and then pray for them as the Spirit leads you. When my husband and I pray this way, we’re always amazed at the people who pop into our minds—friends we went to church with 20 years ago, other people’s children, even patients of mine.
Trusting that the Lord knows these people need special prayer, we lift each one to the Lord. We’ll probably never know how God used our prayers, but we can be confident that he took note of them.
God calls us to prayerful persistence, and oftentimes such repetition can be a little dull. Thinking creatively and mixing up our routines every now and then can jazz things up and renew your enthusiasm. If your prayer life needs a spark, why not try one of these ideas or share one of your own
What do you do to keep your prayer life dynamic? Leave a comment below to share your ideas. If you’re reading by email, click here to visit Hungry for God online, scroll down, and leave a comment at the bottom.