So what makes for powerful prayer? How come we pray about somethings and God’s seems overwhelming responsive and other things appear all but ignored? There are no easy answers to this, but in order to have a vibrant pray life it helps to understand factors or patterns that seem to turn up the volume on our prayers. Here are 12 dynamics of prayer that I have recognized as playing some role in the authenticity and efficacy of our prayers.
1. Visualize what you pray for using all of your senses
2. When praying for enemies pray for their health and happiness or God’s best for them and pray daily for at least two weeks.
3. Be specific with God, but open to however God may answer.
4. Compound Prayer. Do so by praying directly with other people, engaging more people to pray for you about something specific, or set up a vigil of continuous prayer.
5. Learn to be silent and still. In short, lose your mind and come to your senses regularly.
6. Enact your prayer/use symbols. This involves physically rehearsing, the spiritual reality of what is occurring. For example, writing out a confession to God and burning it as a symbolic way of letting go of a sin.
7. Use Triggers. Triggers are events or objects that can serve as prompts to get you to pray. For example, carrying a cross or small object in your pocket and lifting up short prayers for someone each time you bump into it or posting a prayer or prayer list in a prominent place to nudge you to pray.
8. Always give thanks for answered prayers. Gives thanks on your own to God in prayer and give thanks public for what God has done.
9. Identify tasks that our “unconscious competence” tasks that can also be times of prayer. i.e. praying while you fold laundry, knit, do dishes, cook, play music, or do arts. Activities that are rhythmic and slightly physically engaging of body and mind are ideal.
10. Create a form that you follow for your prayer time. Sometimes our method of prayer can be a catalyst to getting us into an open place before God.
11. Have a prayer space. This may be a particular chair you settle into to spend time with God, an outdoor favorite spot or a literal closet.
12. “Pump” prayer when praying for discernment. This involves consciously choosing to cycle between “pushing” and “releasing” or asking and then taking time to listen.
None of these things are some magical formula for successful prayers. They are just techniques that when utilized regularly can dramatically enhance our prayer life. I will begin unpacking some of these over the next few days. Blessing from the Practical Disciple, John