I think all of us lean toward either Bible study or prayer in our quiet times. There is one we enjoy more and are therefore drawn to do more. I honestly am drawn to Bible reading and study more than prayer, but I know prayer is so important in my daily life so I work on it. If your prayer life is struggling right now, maybe one of these methods will help reinvigorate it.
The biggest thing that helps me to be consistent in prayer is variety. I have to change methods and the tools I use or it will just become stale and repetitious. Some people can stick to the same method for years and that works for them, but it just doesn’t for me. I like to have lists, but sometimes I just feel like I’m saying the same things over and over so I need to be more spontaneous or use other helps.
One method I’ve used is a list system. You can keep your list in a journal or on index cards. I’ve made index card systems of things to pray for each day of the week and a card for daily prayer. Some things on my weekly cards (Monday card, Tuesday card, etc.) might be missionaries from each continent, different levels of government officials (local, state, national; courts, legislatures, president, etc.) or specific things about my local church or other prayer concerns. My daily card will be things I want to ask the Lord for daily. Each member of my family would also get their own card with things I want to pray daily for them. I keep these in a box and go through them some time each day. It could be in the car, waiting in line or while brushing my teeth.
There are other methods for prayer like the ACTS method- where you Adore (praise God), Confess your sins, Thank Him for his gifts and do Supplication- ask for things. I’ve also heard some people go through the ABCs thinking of names for God for each letter or praying for someone who’s name starts with each letter. I also sometimes use a journal to write out my prayers and thoughts to God.
There are a few books I like to use to prompt my prayers. One is called Valley of Vision by Arthur Bennett. It is a compilation of Puritan prayers. They are great in helping with confession especially. Another of my favorite books is Every Moment Holy by Douglas Kaine McKelvey. He has written prayers for different situations you may find yourself in. It’s a helpful tool to put words to some of the things I’m feeling.
My favorite book to use in prayer is by far the Bible. I love praying through Scripture. Donald Whitney has written the book Praying the Bible, which is helpful if you’re just starting. I pray through different parts of the Bible, depending on what I’m reading that day. I just read, then what I’ve read will bring something to my mind to pray about. So I stop and pray about it. Then I keep reading until I think of something else to pray for.
Often I will pray through the Psalms. I either go to one that’s on my mind or I pick one from the Psalms of the day. I start with the day of the month, like today is the 11. I take that number and keep adding 30 until I have 5 Psalms to pray through. Today I prayed through Psalms 11, 41, 71, 101 and 131. On the 31 day I can use Psalm 119.
I need to be sure I’m following what God’s Word says about prayer- that it’s not just pointless repetition of words but it’s meaningful conversation with my Father. For me I need to vary the way I pray to keep it like this. I hope these different methods are helpful for you as you strive to strengthen your relationship with God through prayer.