In this week’s Monday Minute, Ginger shares with us 5 Simple ways to flourish in prayer, by making it a normal part of our daily routines.
5 Simple Ways to Flourish in Prayer
by Ginger Harrington
When my husband deployed to the Middle East, I prayed for his safety daily. “Lord, please watch over my husband and keep him safe.”
With every move we made, I prayed my way through the months of settling into new places. “Lord, please bless my children in this new place. Help us all to make good friends and get used to a new community.”
Problem-solving and decision making are areas of life that prompt me to ask for God’s guidance. “Lord, show me how to solve my problem. Please guide me in this decision.”
Praying about our needs and concerns is an important part of thriving in our spiritual life. Over the years, God has been changing the way I pray. So often I approached prayer as seeking answers to questions or provision for needs. It was an exchange–my prayers for God’s answers.
God is gracious to answer our prayers, and I’m grateful for his faithfulness. It’s important to remember prayer isn’t measured by a formula, nor is it a transaction or bargaining tool for getting God to do what we want.
When We Flourish in Prayer Our Intimacy with God is Increased
Prayer is a vital part of our intimacy and relationship with God, a way to communicate and be present. Too often, I prayed to “get something” I wanted or needed. To be honest, that’s still a frequent mindset in my prayer. As we mature in faith, our prayer needs to include both asking for God’s help and seeking to know his heart. To flourish in prayer, we need to reach beyond request-driven prayer as we deepen our relationship with God.
Living in communion with God, we learn to pray as a way of enjoying one another. Seeking more of God is the heart of prayer, and it is a practical aspect of abiding in him. I am inspired by the desire for God in these words from Psalm 73: “Nevertheless I am continually with you. . . there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. . . But as for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge. . . “ (Psalm 73: 23-26, 28 ESV).
Sometimes prayer is trusting God knows what we are experiencing. He knows our hurts, understands our struggles, and loves us in the midst of it all. Because he invites us to pray, we can let go of the pressure to pray pretty prayers that sound good.
We Don’t Need a Formula to Flourish in Prayer
Flourishing in prayer isn’t a matter of getting a formula correct. It is living in an authentic connection with God, trusting that he listens to us. Be honest and real with God. Pour your heart out to him in prayer. Abide in him and trust in his Word. He already knows all the details, but prayer reminds us to rely on Christ.
God knows our hearts and is well acquainted with our needs. He even knows what we are going to say before the words form in our mouth. He knows our hearts and is well acquainted with our needs. “You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether” (Psalm 139:3-4 ESV).
Simple prayers often best convey our true thoughts and needs in the moment.
- “Help me, Lord,”
- “I trust you, Father.”
- “You know what I need.”
- “I love you, Lord.”
- “Help me to pray.”
- “What do you want me to learn in this situation?”
Prayer connects our hearts with God. When we believe God is good, faithful, and present, we begin to trust him even when we struggle to understand our circumstances.
How to Flourish in Prayer
Make the choice to live a prayer-filled life. In the fast-paced operational tempo of military life, we need to seek God wholeheartedly, trusting him with our concerns. Practice some of these steps to vibrant prayer.
- Pray in the moment. Keep a continuous conversation with God. Talk with him throughout the day (Ephesians 6:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
- Pray with confidence, trusting in God’s grace and mercy. God has invited you to pray, to come confidently whenever you have a need for mercy, help, or grace. Military life often requires strength beyond our reserves. Take him at his Word by praying with the assurance that he welcomes your prayer (Hebrews 4:16, Hebrews 10: 19-22).
- Pray with a thankful heart. Gratitude changes our perspective, shifting our attention from our problem to God’s power and presence (Philippians 4:6-7, Psalm 100:4, Colossians 4:2).
- Ask God to help you pray when you’re not sure what or how to pray. The Holy Spirit helps us to pray in a variety of ways. Prayers don’t always have words and we don’t always know what to ask for. Trust the Spirit to help you pray (Romans 8:26).
- Watch to see what God does next. Pray with anticipation that God will work through your prayer. Let go of the expectation of a certain answer, but trust that God will respond. Surrender your desires by trusting that God will give the best answer (Psalm 5:3, Habakkuk 2:1-3, Colossians 4:2).
We can flourish in the military when we make prayer a natural part of our day. Connecting with God in prayer increases our faith and empowers us to receive his life in any challenge we face.
Lord, thank you for the gift of prayer. Teach me how to flourish in prayer. I want to know you more, sharing my life with you in prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Verses to Consider
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. (Romans 8:26)
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2)