How do you set up your own prayer life?

Pastor J.D. shares some practical ways to cultivate a habit of prayer.

A glimpse inside this episode:

I have a 15-15-15 pattern. (15 minutes Bible reading, 15 minutes prayer, and 15 minutes in a devotional of some kind.)

When it comes to prayer itself, I’m a big believer in helpful mnemonics. The one I always use is: HEAR (hear, examine, apply, respond). Also, ACTS (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication). It’s roughly based on the Lord’s Prayer, but it identifies the key elements in a way I find helpful. (There’s a kid version of this that’s also great, and much simpler—WITH, “wow, I’m sorry, thanks, help.)

What else? Ooh, here’s a big one: Set aside time for it. I don’t know anyone who really excels in prayer who doesn’t have a devoted daily time for it. That’s not the only time they pray. But it is the anchor. For me, I have a designated time every morning and every evening in which I meet with God. And while I pray at many other times throughout the day, I find the rhythm of my morning/evening prayer times incredibly helpful in cultivating a heart of prayer. 

Here’s another one: I read Scripture with an eye toward prayer. So as I read a chapter of the Bible, I take special note of promises or instructions. These help provide direction for me as I pray, becoming the promises on which I ground my requests and the instructions that become my requests. Another way to think of this is that we shouldn’t just read through our Bibles. We should pray through our Bibles. 3000 promises! 

Here’s one last tip I picked up from Tim Keller (though it goes back to Martin Luther, and probably beyond him): “Riff on” the Lord’s Prayer. While it is good to recite the Lord’s Prayer, “riffing on” it means we take each phrase, personalize it, and apply it to our circumstances. 

Just start! Set a time. 

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