How can the Christian pray more faithfully? Remember, prayer is a relationship. The desire to pray better should come out of a desire for a better relationship with God. Because prayer is a relationship, each person’s prayer life will be unique to the individual. Some people are more talkative, some are quieter, some are more thoughtful and some more emotional. These personalities traits will be evident in the practice of prayer. Prayer will not look the same for everyone, and a Christian should not expect others to pray like he does. The Christian must also be careful to not expect his prayer life to look like the prayer life of a particular saint. You are not trying to have George Mueller’s relationship with God, you are developing your own.
As with any other relationship some things can be done to improve and strengthen your relationship with God. So we need to be intentional in learning and practicing the skills necessary for a healthier relationship with God.
What can be done to help your regular times of prayer? Set aside a specific time each day to pray. In that time you can follow certain guides to help you know the kinds of things you should pray for.
For example, many have found the acronym ACTS to be helpful in shaping their prayer times.
Adoration: praise to God for who He is
Confession: acknowledging to God that I have sinned today
Thanksgiving: gratefulness to God for what He has done and for prayers He has answered
Supplication: making request for others and myself.
Others use the acronym PRAY to guide them through their prayers.
Praise: worship of God for His glorious character and for His answers to our prayers
Repent: confession of my sin to God
Ask: making requests to God for my needs and the needs of others
Yield: seeking God’s will as more important than mine
Or you can use the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13to shape your daily prayers.
- Praise to God
- Submission to God’s plan and will
- Request for personal needs and the needs of others
- Confession of sin and seeking of forgiveness
- Supplication for protection
- Praise to God
Using guides like this, you can then list specific items of prayer. For example, following the acronym PRAY may look like this:
God for being faithful to His promises
God for His unfailing power
God for specific answers to prayer
Confess and seek forgiveness for specific sins committed this day
For our nation and government
For the healing of sick individuals
For salvation of specific persons
For spiritual strength to be given to church members
For protection for our missionaries
For blessings on children and grandchildren
For guidance in decisions
For growth in holiness
“Your will be done”
Teach me to be like you
Help me exalt you.
“In Jesus name”
These patterns and lists are just guides. They are tools to help you use your time with God wisely and to help shape healthy prayer habits. But prayer is all about a relationship with God. Having a plan for a conversation is helpful, but rigid adherence to a formula leads to formal or wooden conversations. In the process of learning, a pattern helps us know what to say. If we never get to the place of being able to have a natural conversation without reliance on the guides then we will not grow in the relationship.
Deep communion with God does not come from completing your prayer list or remembering specific facets of prayer. Deep communion with God comes as you converse with your Father. Let the patterns of prayer help you keep a healthy practice of prayer and give you skill in coming to God so you may better know the joy of deep fellowship with your Heavenly Father.