Praying is a precious gift. It delights God, and it gives us hope and peace. As what Filipino priest and columnist Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD said,
“Prayer time is always the best time because we get to talk to the One who loves us the most.”
In this post, let me share with you some practices that have helped me achieve a more meaningful prayer life.
More often than not, our prayer time is spent talking and blabbing to God, but have we ever thought of stopping and actually listening to what He has to say?
During my quiet time, I usually say a short prayer, asking God to speak and send me the Holy Spirit so I can decipher His message at that time. Then with my eyes closed, I open the Bible, and point my finger to a chapter/verse/passage. I read it and try my best to digest every word given to me. Sometimes, I feel like the verse has got nothing to do with my specific situation, but in the end, I am always able to find a connection. I just really need to dig deep and ask God for wisdom.
Quiet time requires utmost focus. I usually do it when Van is already asleep so I will not be distracted. Once you get into this habit, you will crave for it more and more. It is a really refreshing experience.
When I’m in a really, really bad situation, this is my go-to activity.
I know that when I am faced with a hurdle, it is God’s way of telling me that He is trying to get my attention. It is a sign that I need to stop and consult Him. I am working on doing this more regularly, as I don’t want quiet time to just be a 911-kind-of-solution. God craves to spend time with us; we should do too.
Every morning, I spend about 15 minutes for my daily devotional reading.
A devotional is a short reading, which usually includes a biblical scripture, a reflection from the author, and a prayer in the end. It enhances meditation and provides a guide for more purposeful prayer time.
Reading devotionals help to enrich different aspects of our faith. I learn so much from reading my devotionals everyday. Whatever your situation is, you can be sure to find something that will help you get through it. There are devotionals about purpose, courage, dating, anxiety, marriage, singlehood, you name it. For devotionals that are more topic-based, I recommend the Bible app, where there are lots of specific devotionals within.
Van also has his devotional book, which we read and discuss at bedtime.
He uses The Purpose Driven Life Devotional for Kids. This was recommended by my very good friend, and both our kids use this book. I think it is a good idea to start developing meaningful prayer habits while they are young.
Praying With A Group
Having a prayer group or buddy is a really good practice. For one, gathering in Jesus’ name pleases Him. More than having our petitions answered, I believe prayer should also seek to honor God.
Praying with a group also invites the Holy Spirit’s presence, making the experience more powerful.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20)
Prayer from one faithful person touches God’s heart and gets answered, how much more would multiple voices do?
Worship songs are powerful prayer tools. Back in high school, we were told that singing is like praying twice. Singing praise songs helps immerse us in God’s love in an extraordinary way.
Sometimes, when I want to simply feel God’s presence, I listen to and belt out worship songs. I usually play these songs in the morning while preparing for the day, or at work while I am doing my tasks. It helps me to stay calm amidst the daily hustle.
Of course, worshipping with a group of people is a completely different, special experience.
There is amazing beauty and power in seeing people gathered together, with hands lifted, eyes closed, and hearts wide open to God’s presence.
Be specific with prayers. Raise up the main petition, and pray for the particular people, places and circumstances surrounding it.
Although God knows exactly how to fulfill them, He wants us to declare it. Remember the bible story of two blind men asking Jesus to heal them? The men boldly came up to Him and asked for mercy. Jesus already knew they wanted their eyesight, yet He still asked them very specifically.
So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.” So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him. (Matthew 20:32-34)
Specific prayers help us to clearly define our needs and keep us on track with our goals. It increases our faith and makes us more dependent on God.
Praise, thank, and raise specific petitions. We can whisper, speak, shout, sing, or cry in prayer, but in the end, remember to surrender.
His will, not ours.
No matter how we pray, keep in mind that at the end of the day, the most important thing of all is being able to communicate with God.
I hope you were blessed by this post. See you in the next one.Ciao!
P.S. An hour before the scheduled posting of this entry, our family received great, great news! An answered prayer that we’ve been praying for for so long. The waiting was quite a stretch, but now God has started to reveal His purpose little by little. I’m excited for Him to unveil the grand plan soon. God is good. All the time. May your prayers come true too soon. ❤️