Let’s say you’re going to have 30 minutes this afternoon to chat with your best friend.
You look forward to it it. You think about things you want to tell her. You are happy when it finally happens.
The next day, you’re given another 30 minutes with her—with one caveat: Repeat the same conversation.
Okay. You can do that. You probably missed a few things the first time anyway.
The next day, same instructions.
And now you dread your conversation time. You long to escape it. Instead of pleasure, it brings pain.
Is this how we approach our conversations with God?
“I have 30 minutes (or less) to talk with God today. Will I repeat the same requests as yesterday? Exact same thanks? Same confessions?”
When this is how we pray, no wonder we don’t look forward to it.
Granted, some things need repeating every day. Those things don’t get old.
But let’s not allow our prayers to become so repetitious that we recite them with no thought.
4 Ways to Pray a Fresh Prayer
1. Rotate the focus
For example, some people pray for a different group each day. Monday: Immediate family. Tuesday: Church family. Wednesday: Neighborhood. Etc.
2. Pray through scripture
Use scripture prayer books for help. My favorites are the Face to Face books by Kenneth Boa, “Volume 1: Praying the Scriptures for Intimate Worship,” and “Volume 2: Praying the Scriptures for Spiritual Growth.” Bible passages are phrased in the first person so you’re praying as you read.
3. Update your list
Are many of the requests on your list outdated? Follow up and see whats changed. Maybe your friend’s surgery two months ago ended well. It’s okay to cross off requests as “answered.”
4. Pray through time
Past: Be specific in thanking God for grace in your past 24 hours. Confess areas you messed up yesterday, and thank him for his perpetual forgiving spirit.
Present: What are you thankful for in this day? What do you need help with right now? Praise God in this moment just for who he is.
Future: Ask for his blessings on tonight’s events and tomorrow’s situations. Requesting his guidance for your future can improve your attitude about what’s ahead.
Just as our circumstances change a little (or a lot) every day, so should our conversations with God.
Our intimate time with God won’t be boring if we’ll intentionally keep our conversations fresh!
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What tips do you have for praying? Please share in the comments.
revised from the archives
- Index – The Spiritual Practice of Welcoming
- Are We Separating or Attaching?