How to Build a Better Prayer Life

Teenage girl praying
Design Pics/Hammond HSN/Getty Images

Our prayer life matters significantly in our relationship with Christ.  It is through prayer that we do a majority of our communication with God.  It's when we have our conversations with Him. It's when we ask Him for things, tell Him about our daily lives, and it's when He listens.  Yet sometimes it's a little tough to get started and actually pray regularly.  Here are some ways you can build a better ​prayer life:

Set Your Mind to It

Nothing gets started until you decide to start it.  It takes a conscious decision to develop your prayer life.  So the first step is to set your mind to having a prayer life.  Set some realistic goals and put your mind to building a closer relationship with God.

Decide on a Time

Just deciding to build up your prayer life doesn't mean that it's just going to magically happen.  When you set your prayer goals, it also helps if you set down some guidelines for yourself.  For instance, we're all extremely busy, so if we don't set a specific time to devote to prayer, it's not likely to happen.  Set your alarm 20 minutes earlier in the morning and make that your time to pray.  Know you have small moments during the week?  Set aside 5 to 10 minutes for prayer Monday through Friday and a longer time on the weekends.  But make it routine.

Make It a Habit

Routines make prayer a habit.  It takes over 3 weeks to build a habit, and it's easy to get off track. So first, make prayer a habit by not allowing yourself to get off track for a month. It's funny how prayer will just start to become a regular part of your life and you won't have to think about it anymore.  Second, if you do find yourself getting off track, don't be discouraged.  Just get up, brush off the slip, and get back to routine.

Eliminate Distractions

Distractions make prayer more difficult.  So if you're trying to build up your prayer life, it's a great idea to turn off the tv, turn down the radio, and even get some time alone.  While distractions also give us an excuse to not take time out for prayer, they can also interrupt our time with God.  If you can, find a nice quiet place where you can focus on your time with Him.

Choose a Topic

One of the major blocks to prayer is that we just don't know what to say.  On days when we just don't know where to begin, it helps to just choose a topic.  Some people use prayer lists or pre-written prayers when trying to come up with something.  Preparing a list of topics is a great jump start to deeper prayers.

Say It Out Loud

It can be intimidating at first to say our prayers out loud.  After all, we're talking about our most personal thoughts and ideas.  However, when we say things out loud they can feel more real.  Whether you pray out loud or inside your head, God hears our prayers.  It doesn't make it more powerful to God whether or not it's said out loud.  Sometimes it just makes it more powerful to us.  Also, when we're speaking out loud, it's harder for our thoughts to roam onto other things.  So try saying prayers out loud when you can.

Keep a Prayer Journal

There are many different types of prayer journals.   There are journals that contain our prayers.  Some people do better at writing their prayers out.  It helps them put everything out in the open.  Others keep track of what they want to pray about in their journals.  Even others track their prayers through journals.  It's a great way of going back to see how God has worked in your life through prayer.  Keeping track of when you pray can also help you stay on track in your prayer life.

Also Pray Positively

It's easy to get caught up in all the negative things in your life.  Often we turn to God in prayer to fix what's wrong.  However, if we focus on the negative too much, we can easily end up thinking that's all that goes on in our lives, and it becomes discouraging.  When we become discouraged, it's easy to turn away from prayer.  So add a splash of positivity to your prayers.  Add in some things your grateful for or great things that have happened lately.  Be thankful for the good, too.

Know There is No Wrong Way to Pray

Some people think there is one right way to pray.  There isn't.  There are multitudes of places and ways to pray.  Some people pray on their knees.  Others pray in the morning.  Still, others pray in the car.  People pray in church, at home, while they shower.  There is no wrong place, time, or way to pray.  Your prayers are between you and God.  Your conversations are between you and God.  So be yourself and true to who you are in Christ when you pray.

Build in Reflection

We don't always have to say something when we're in our prayer time.  Sometimes we can spend our prayer time saying nothing at all and just listen.  Allow the Holy Spirit to work in you and put you at peace for a moment.  There is so much noise in our lives, so sometimes we can meditate, reflect and just "be" in God.  It's amazing what God can reveal to us in silence.

Remember Others in Your Prayers

Our prayers are often focused on ourselves and making ourselves better, but we should also remember others when we pray.  Be sure to build others into your prayer time.  If you use a journal, add in some prayers for your family and friends.  Remember the world and leaders that surround you.  Our prayers shouldn't always just be focused on ourselves, but we should lift up others to God, too.