We talk a lot about how to improve prayer in your group (here, here, here, here, here, and here). But it’s also important to pay attention to your personal prayer life. Staying connected to God as an individual is a must if you’re going to help other people take steps in their spiritual growth.
So, whether you’re trying to start a new prayer habit or whether you just need a fresh approach to add some vitality back to your conversations with God, here are three things you can do to improve your prayer life:
Get traditional . . . or not.
If your prayers are normally casual and conversation, you might shake things up with a more traditional approach, such as using the Psalms or the Book of Common Prayer to guide your conversations with God. It’ll probably be weird at first, but it may offer a new way of communicating with your heavenly Father, and you may learn a few things about prayer in the process.
On the other hand, if you come from the Anglican Church or some other tradition that uses more formal approaches to prayer, it might be a good idea to experiment with more casual and conversational approaches to prayer. Even small things, like referring to God as “father” instead of “Lord,” can warm up the relational aspects of prayer in surprising ways.
Pair prayer with solitude and silence.
Get alone. Spend anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes in silence—no talking, TV, computer, phone, books, or any other distractions—before you begin to pray. This will help to focus your prayers and intensify your connection to God.
Solitude is a powerful spiritual practice that can have dramatic effects on your prayer life. If you want to learn more, check out the Solitude page of our Connect with God resource.
Pray with your family.
Specifically, you can use a simplified version of the Prayer of Examen to connect with God and your spouse and children. Here’s how it works: at the dinner table or during some other family time, ask everyone to share the high and low of their day. Then pray, thanking God for the highs and asking for his guidance through the lows.