Question of the week: I have been struggling with prayer lately. Sometimes I am not able to think of things to pray about and sometimes my mind will wander as if I cannot stay focused and connected with God? What would you recommend I do to improve my prayer life?
My answer: Prayer is basically a process of determining God’s will for a particular situation or set or process of situations. God wants to partner with us. He wants us to discern his will.
An important first step in developing a fruitful prayer life is consistent Bible reading. When I read the Bible, I begin by asking God to speak to me as I read. I ask him to teach me, to grant me understanding, to rebuke me, to redirect my plans, to show me what I should be praying for.
Second, it is important to take time to listen to God when we pray. Prayer is intended to be a two-way communication. It is important that we do not do all the talking.
Third, God wants us to pray with progressively greater specificity. For example, we can begin with a general request. However, do not be surprised if you sense God saying, “Exactly how do you want me to fulfill your request?” God wants us not only to discern his general will but his specific will. He wants us to discern the precise steps and the order of those steps in bringing about his will in a particular situation.
Fourth, the power of prayer becomes greatly magnified when we fast. Fasting is where we sacrifice food, drink, sleep, or pleasures in order to dedicate extended focus on prayer. Some of my greatest experiences with God have occurred when I have dedicated an entire day to fasting and prayer. Reasons to Believe was birthed through days of prayer and fasting. Ever since the founding of Reasons to Believe 36 years ago we have dedicated 3–4 days per year to prayer and fasting. If anyone would like to join us on those days, either in person or through the internet, please contact our office.