Kick-starting your prayer life

Start by acknowledging your shortcomings and your determination to address them 
Admit to God your prayerlessness and ask for his help from this point on.

Make a plan
Decide on a regular manageable time for prayer that fits with your lifestyle.  Decide on a venue where you won't be distracted.  Don't be too ambitious; God is not impressed by the length of our prayers.  To aim for 10 minutes may well be enough!

Work out a pattern
Decide on a way of praying that works for you:

  • Read a short passage of Scripture then pray from that: one thing to give thanks for, one thing to say sorry for, one request to make - apply these points to yourself, your family, others you want to pray for.
  • Use the Lord's Prayer. Pray each phrase slowly and let it lead you into prayer from these areas.
  • Read a short passage of Scripture then use the acronym ACTS to help balance your prayer:
    • A for Adoration - praising God for who He is;
    • C for Confession - saying sorry to God for wrong in our lives;
    • T for Thanksgiving - recognising the good God gives;
    • S for Supplication - asking God for the things on our minds.
  • Buy a book of prayers or a Prayer Book.  Make a list of things you want to pray for, then use the list and the book(s) to help you get started.

Keep at it
Habits need to be learnt. Don't give up as soon as it gets hard. Don't get despondent if you miss a day.  Just keep going to build up the habit.

Tell a Christian friend
So they can encourage you, pray for you, keep you accountable.

Don't get complacent
Once you've established the pattern branch out. Extend your prayer. Look for opportunities throughout the day to talk to God. He's waiting to hear!

Based on ideas from "Prayer and the Voice of God" by Phillip Jensen and Tony Payne.

 

Further reading:
"Prayer and the Voice of God"
by Phillip Jensen and Tony Payne. (Mathias Media)
"Prayer" by Richard Foster.  (Hodder and Stoughton)
"Too busy not to pray" by Bill Hybels.  (IVP)
"Prayer Life: How your personality affects the way you pray" by Pablo Martínez.  (Paternoster Press)

The Lord's Prayer (Contemporary)

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

The Lord's Prayer (Traditional)

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

A Prayer for the Church

O God, in whose sovereign power rests everything in heaven and earth, take hold of your church today that, in every parish in this Diocese, we may be led humbly in the paths of holiness and boldly in the ways of witness, that many may be found as new disciples of Jesus Christ and learn to live joyfully in the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.