Seven Steps to a More Consistent Prayer Life

By Richard E. Dodge
Prayer is a discipline, much like fasting, meditation, and confession, but in our multi-tasking, instant gratification world, how can you focus on and make time for the discipline of prayer? Consider some suggestions for developing a more consistent, disciplines prayer life.
Step 1: Accept your need to pray.
Consider how much Jesus depended on prayer. Jesus prayed not only to set and example, but also to teach us that even the Son of God needed to be connected through prayer to the Father.
Step 2: Admit you need to learn.
Even the apostles asked Him to teach them to pray (Luke 11). Prayer is not a formula or code; prayer is one heart talking to another, expressing our sincere desire to know the heart of God.
Step 3: align yourself with God.
Jesus knew God's will because He prayed and listened to Him. God let us know His will when we spend time with Him, whether through prayer, Bible study, worship, or conversation with others who also seek God's will. Prayer is listening as well as speaking, feeling as well as pleading.
Step 4: Attune to others' needs.
The much-maligned political phrase, "I feel your pain," has great significance for a Christian. Anytime we feel the pain of another person, our immediate response should be that God has revealed a prayer opportunity for which we need to pray, right then and there. Hearing, feeling, sensing, and seeking the needs of others is a reflection of God working in and through us.
Step 5: Adapt to focus on God.
The difference between you and God's greatest prayer warriors is your time and focus. God has given all of us the same amount of time and the same instruction: Seek Him and invest ourselves in prayer for others. Whether we do this depends on whether we want to do this.
Step 6: Accept God's help.
The Bible tells us that our prayers are not efforts to inform God of needs or concerns. He already knows them. Our prayers help us acknowledge our trust in and dependence on Him to handle our prayers, seek His encouragement and strength, and trust Him with the results.
Step 7: Adopt a plan.
Certainly prayer should not be mechanical, but prayer should be disciplined. In fact, that's one reason we suggest that prayer is a Christian discipline – it's something we should practice and make a habit. Adding structure – such as a place, time, pattern, even having a prayer partner – encourages consistency and growth.
I gave certain family members a unique Christmas gift one year. I promised to pray for each individual for at least five minutes each day for one year. I spent 20-30 minutes each way driving to and from the office, and decided that this time could be used to pray rather than listening to the radio. That time in prayer helped me get closer to God and closer to each person for whom I prayed.