Shaking things up and talking about 4 ways to cultivate a practice of prayer—plus I’m giving a review of Val Marie Paper prayer journals, so you can see how they may help you out like they’ve helped me!
So many of us probably wish we prayed more, or if you’re like me, this hits closer to home: I realized I would say “I’ll pray for you” to friends and family a lot … but then never follow through.
It just became a nice thing to say!
Today, I want to share 4 tips for creating a habit of prayer using a tool that has helped me so much, and how I’ve used prayer journals from Val Marie Paper. Check them out below!
Tip #1: Get practical about prayer.
Not everyone loves to pray, and I understand that. If that’s you, and you’re like, I don’t even know where to start, I’m confused, I’m overwhelmed and it’s honestly kinda boring to pray—I GET IT. I’ve been there. I feel like everyone goes through that, I don’t want you to think you’re crazy.
What I recommend is just taking the woo-woo/mysticism out of it and starting to look at it practically.
I think you’ll find the Lord wants to meet you there. He didn’t design talking to him to be something that’s only attainable for a few people—it’s open to you.
“Jesus wants us to come to him without pretence when we go to him in prayer,” Paul Miller says. It’s not a “come to me, everyone who’s mind doesn’t ever wander in prayer because you’re such a good concentrator” kind of thing.
Reading PRACTICAL books and articles on prayer has totally helped me with that. I read Gospel Coalition a lot (Be careful with false teachers! There are so many Bible/”spiritual” teachers out there who aren’t teaching truth, which is why knowing what Scriptures say for ourselves is so important. That’s another soapbox/blog post, but Gospel Coalition is a good source for articles and book recommendations that are theologically sound.).
5 of my favorite books on prayer are:
A Praying Life by Paul Miller (I would recommend starting with this one if you’re a little overwhelmed—I think it breaks things down the best!)
Ordering Your Private World by Gordon McDonald
The Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster (A little tough/heady, but really good!)
To note, my not-so-favorite/read-with-a-grain-of-salt prayer books are Fervent by Priscilla Shrirer (SORTA. I’m half-and-half on this one), Circle Maker by Mark Batterson, and Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize.
The other thing that’s helped me get practical are these prayer journals from my friend Valerie at Val Marie Paper. I used to scribble prayers in different notebooks, but I’m going to tell you through the video how I’ve used a specific journal JUST for prayers to help me create a habit.
Tip #2: Have a morning routine
Okay, number 2! Having a morning routine, even if it’s super stripped down some mornings has helped me make prayer a commitment. Now, the morning routine I go through (PRESENT) is my favorite because it can expand or contract based on life seasons. I know this will change with a newborn!
But, if I don’t commit to prayer through my morning routine, it’s just simply not going to happen. Again, not going to jump into the full routine because I did a whole blog on it, but I wanted to bring it up as something that’s helped tremendously cultivate a regular practice of talking to God.
Tip #3: Make it physical and in the moment
Like I said at the beginning, being someone that grew up in the church, “I’ll pray for you”/”How can I pray for you” is like, Christian talk that has lost its weight.
It’s so important we don’t throw those words around.
It’s important that we honor our words—if we say we’re going to pray for someone, we need to do it.
When someone asks you to pray for them, do it on the spot (I’m not saying you have to do it out loud, but like, if you wrap up lunch with a friend who needs prayer, why not just turn down the music and pray in the car for a moment?). Do it right when you think about them.
Another way of making it physical has helped is my VMP prayer journal.
Going through the sections each month has helped me write specific things to pray through. I just pray over one page every day, so it looks like:
- Monday – World, nation, community
- Tuesday – My husband, my son, and my family <– this one is huge. I have my family’s names written down, and I list what they need me to pray for. It’s helped me check in regularly with them!
- Wednesday – My friends, salvation, and current aches/hurts <– this one is LIKEWISE huge. I have my friends’ names written down, and just like the family thing, I pray specifically for things they’ve told me they need prayer for.
- Thursday – Things I need prayer over c-o-n-s-t-a-n-t-l-y and my big goals
- Friday – My business, friends struggling with infertility/family
- Every day – Verses and words the Lord’s put on my heart, thanking him for answered prayers
I actually write down things people ask me to pray for now!
Tip #4: Mark how prayers have been answered
This also has made me want to pray more, which is cool. “When we see God really working as we pray, it’s easy to keep praying,” Val has written before. Agree.
I’ve seen how days just GO better when I start them with prayer time.
Here’s how I do that:
- I mark down 3 things every day in the back section of the journal—it’s SO COOL to look at this list after there are a few hundred things written down! You have a moment of seeing wow, God’s pretty faithful!
- I write down big prayers that have been answered in each month
- I answer these 5 questions at the end of every month (usually in my Powersheets, but my VMP prayer journal tends to be a reference point for this practice):
✖ What did God teach me this past month?
✖ How did I see the month going?
✖ What actually happened?
✖ What were my wins? Disappointments?
✖ What were 3 lessons I learned?
✖ If this month had a “theme, what would it have been?
If you’re looking for a tool that can jump-start your prayer life, I do have to say this tool has been so helpful for me!
Click below to shop, and tell me below—what’s a tip that has helped you remember to cultivate a prayer life?