There seems to be a constant revolving process of calling people to pray, them experiencing an initial burst, only to be followed by a regression to where they first began.
Once again, there is a call to pray, and the cycle repeats. How do we prevent this? How do we sustain a healthy prayer life? It’s not easy. There is opposition.
In evil spiritual forces. In our flesh’s resistance. But it is achievable. So, what are some of the things that help facilitate a healthy prayer life? What makes a prayer life sustainable?
The Healthy Prayer Life
What do you think of when you hear the word healthy prayer life? For myself, I always thought the healthy prayer life was characterised by bold requests non-stop.
Now, however, I acknowledge this as a crucial part, but I have realised there is even more to it. Passionate declarations are a sign of the mature, but they are the tip of the iceberg. The healthy prayer life is characterised by variety.
The healthy prayer life may include:
- Adoration and praise.
- Rejoicing and celebrating God’s work.
- Prayers of intimacy and friendship.
- Confessing sins.
- Intercession for the spiritual growth of others.
- Intercession for the lost.
- Intercession against Satan and strongholds.
- Declaring spiritual privileges over your life.
- Declaring God’s promises.
- Requests and petitions.
- Prayers of lament and emotion regulation.
- Prayers of surrender and stillness.
- Talking to God in mundane moments.
I agree, there is a lot there. But please, please don’t get me wrong. This is not a checklist we have to complete so that we can call ourselves Christian. This list is so you can get an idea of the variety I mentioned.
And here is some even better news, this is not a checklist to complete, rather, this is an invitation to the greatest relationship we will ever have! Why do I say greatest relationship? Because each of these styles of prayer is an invitation to talk to God in a different way; and when we talk to God in a multitude of ways, we will have a dynamic relationship.
Variety in Relationships
Isn’t it true that relationships are strengthened when we share a variety of experiences with one another? A husband and wife share both the honeymoon and the fighting over the unwashed dishes. They share both intimacy and reconciliation. The mundane decision of what to cook for dinner and the closeness of date night.
So it is with God. New levels of relationship are reached when we approach God in a variety of ways. Think about how strong our connection can become if we are in constant communication with God in every gradient of mountain and valley.
Think about some of relationships you have that are tethered only by one thing. Relationships that are tied together by one strand can be easily broken. We can easily drift apart from our friends because our workplace changes or our hobbies change. But relationships with many strands are more resilient.
When variety and consistency are achieved in the life of a believer, their prayer muscle is activated on many occasions. Through praying in every mood and occasion they find themselves in a regular rhythm of praying. This means their prayer muscle is strong! With a strong prayer muscle, they pray powerful prayers. They pray powerfully not because they have been motivated by a sermon or meeting, but because they have been living a lifestyle of constant conversation with God.
Furthermore, what makes this so powerful is that it practices sincerity. When we are sharing every experience, every ambition, every emotion with God, we build the habit of sincere prayer. We pray what is truly on our heart. Practiced sincerity marks the anointed.
I have found times when I have lacked intimate friendship with God. I focused so much on the other sides of prayer, to the neglect of the friendship side. Consequently, my prayer life slowly tapered off. This made me feel lonely. Disconnected. When I simply started to talk to God as my friend again, I felt my prayer life reinvigorated. My prayer muscle being exercised once more.
Another example is the neglect of the prayer of personal affirmation. “God, thank you for the privilege to be called your child”. “Father, I’m so grateful to be loved and valued by you”. These are powerful prayers. However, when these dry up, you just might find yourself trying to prove yourself more. You might catch yourself being swayed by criticism more than usual. But once you rectify this, you will find yourself secure once more.
Maybe there is something in the list at the start that struck a chord with you. Maybe there is an area that you have unintentionally neglected. This happens. Life is hectic! But be encouraged, when you invite God back in this area, you will soon find your prayer life injected with new life!
A healthy prayer life is achievable for everyone! Sustaining a healthy prayer life is achievable for everyone! May the Holy Spirit continue to guide your prayers. May God turn his ear toward your prayers.
Roden Meares enjoys playing basketball, reading comics and going to the gym. He has a passion for evangelising and helping others in their faith through writing.
Roden’s previous articles can be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/roden-meares.html