Prayer is difficult but it is indispensable to the Christian Life. The most important thing you can do in developing a prayer life is to just start. Here are a few tips that have helped me along the way.
Categorize your prayer life so that you don't feel overwhelmed. Here's how my prayer life looks during the week.
Mondays I pray for personal renewal and growth in Christ likeness.
Tuesdays I pray for my immediate and extended families.
Wednesdays I pray for all things related to the church.
Thursdays I pray for all of my Ministry friends.
Fridays I pray for Missions and for missionaries.
Saturdays I pray for government at all levels.
Sundays I pray for the Salvation of the lost and all of our services and activities.
Journal your prayers. I used to start and stop journals all the time. I just never knew what to write. But when I started journaling my prayers I found that I always had something to write. Journaling my prayers helps me to focus on prayer more and it serves as a reminder of how faithful I am to my prayer life, for better or worse. When I write my prayers down I'm able to come back and see where God has been faithful to answer that prayer. This gives me strength to continue moving forward in my prayer life.
Pause in silence for 10 or 15 seconds before you begin to pray. Instead of just launching into what I want to say, I pause quietly and invite God into my prayer time. It reminds me that I'm not just speaking to myself, but that God really does exist and he is in the room with me. Pausing to invite the Lord into that time also reminds me that he is God and I should bow before him in reverence and adoration.
Use a simple scripture-based tool to help you learn to pray. One of my favorite books is The Hour That Changes The World by Dick Eastman. He has a prayer wheel filled with Scripture divided into twelve, five minute segments. This tool has helped me to learn to pray for a solid hour at a time.
Pray for people while you talk to them. Make sure that you are paying attention to what they are saying. But, as you listen, pray for them in your mind as you continue in conversation. You will find that this will enhance your prayer life as you learn to pray for people in the moment. I find that often when I'm praying for someone as I talk to them, the Lord guides me and gives me wisdom as to what to say to them.
Pray the prayers of Scripture. When I don't know what to pray, I go to the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6 and the Apostle Paul's prayers in Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. In fact, these are great passages to memorize and work through all during the week as you pray.
Learning to pray is a lifelong journey. Don't give up, keep working at it and the Lord will reward your efforts. Please let me know what is working for you and your prayer life.