Written By Jason Van Dyk, Canada
Jason Van Dyk is an artist and designer. Together with his wife, Laura, they decided to create artwork focused on and inspired by God’s word, which they called “God’s fingerprints”. When Jason is not working on “God’s fingerprints”, he works at a homeless shelter, doing ministry with men recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.
Prayer is an essential part of a healthy walk with God. For many Christians, though, this is an area of struggle. We know prayer is important, but we find it difficult to establish it as a regular habit in our life. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Here are five different ways to help renew your prayer life.
1. Take a prayer walk
The habit of morning prayer walks has revitalized my prayer life more than anything else. As an active and creative person, walking as I pray helps get the prayers flowing. If you’re having trouble praying in one place, prayer walks may be something worth looking into.
Prayer walks can be done anytime and anywhere, but there is something very special about the early morning. This is the way Jesus did it (Mark 1:35). Most of the world is still asleep before the sun rises. The quiet and tranquility of this time is ideal for communion with God, as distractions are at a minimum.
To get started with prayer walks, all you need to do is step out the door! I find it helpful to imagine Jesus—a loving friend with a heart to listen—walking next to me. Making it one of the first things you do each day will really help establish the habit and bring new life into your relationship with God.
2. Keep a Prayer journal
The act of writing our prayers can help us find words when it’s hard to speak. This is a practice that my wife, Laura, does daily, and I’ve seen how she’s been blessed by it. Sometimes she types out her prayers, but mostly she writes them in a special prayer journal.
To get started, find yourself a journal (or any piece of paper), and pour out your heart on the page. Write to God as your loving Father and friend. Share your dreams, your hopes and your fears, and pray for those that He puts on your heart.
You can also use this time to write down Bible verses that speak to you. Allow yourself to be creative and create art around certain prayer requests or Scriptures. Write freely and creatively, allowing the Spirit to lead you.
3. Pray with a friend
“It sounds like we gotta pray. The only time I can do every day is 4:30am. Are you down?” These were the words of my good friend Zoe when he found out I was going through a challenging season. He committed to praying with me every single day at 4:30am for a month. I thought he was joking, but he was dead serious. Words cannot describe what these early morning prayer times did for my faith.
Finding somebody to pray with on a regular basis is a great way to recharge our prayer life. It may not be possible to always find a willing partner, but you’d be surprised how many people are up for regular prayer if you step out and ask.
We’ve scaled back quite a bit, but I still pray regularly with Zoe. We live thousands of miles away now, but we still pray on the phone together every Tuesday. It’s an anchor in my week that keeps me in a healthy rhythm of prayer.
4. Read the prayers of others
In his book Reaching for the Invisible God, American Christian author Philip Yancey describes a season when he found it very difficult to pray. He felt a spiritual darkness and an absence of God in his life. In desperation, he got a collection of prayers and simply read the prayers each morning. “I have no words of my own,” He told God. “Please accept these prayers of others as the only ones I can offer right now. Accept their words in place of my own.”
Later, Yancey came to see this time of spiritual darkness as an important season of spiritual growth. His commitment to keep praying, even when the words weren’t his own, helped forge his faith.
There are many books of collected prayers available. If you’re really struggling to find words to pray, this may be a good option to consider.
5. Give thanks
One of the simplest prayers you can ever pray is “thank you”. If you are finding it difficult to pray, starting a thank-you list is a simple way to get back in the posture of prayer. As you write, thank God for each item on the list. Sometimes the simplest prayers can be the most profound.
Keeping prayers simple can really help in renewing our prayer life. And prayers of thanksgiving will develop gratitude in our hearts.
Start small, and thank God for all He has done in your life. Thank him for the little things, the beautiful things, and even the challenges that helped you grow.
As you seek to renew your prayer life, remember to be patient. Establishing the habit of prayer is like building a relationship, and it takes time. Remember that God eagerly desires to hear from His children, and that through Christ, we have direct access to God’s throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16).
Finding a regular time to pray will help establish the habit. Commit to a week, and see how things go. Once the habit is formed, it’s much easier to keep going. May the words of the David encourage your heart as you embark on this journey: “Wait on the LORD; be strong, take heart; and wait on the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14)
This article was originally published on the writer’s blog here. This version has been edited by YMI.