Three Ways to Grow in Prayer

Sam Gibson

Can we be honest? Most of us struggle with our prayer lives. As Christians, we definitely believe in the power of prayer, but our practice of it can be non-existent. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when we see people we perceive as “prayer giants” and feel we won’t measure up. Trust me; I’ve been there, too.  

As a pastor, I struggled for years to develop consistency in prayer outside of a few short spurts in desperate moments. I knew there was more to my prayer life, so I started the journey of intentional growth in prayer. It’s the best thing that has ever happened in my walk with Jesus!  

Committing to grow is the key to stepping into more! Here are three things that helped me grow in prayer:

Ask God to teach you how to pray.

I tried reading books on prayer, but they didn’t do much to help me. Everything shifted when I realized that, if the disciples were willing to ask Jesus to teach them to pray, why shouldn’t I? I’ve been praying through Luke 11:1, “Jesus, teach me how to pray today,” and asking Him to make me a man of prayer every day for five years. He has answered! It’s a prayer that Jesus is waiting on you to ask Him. We all need the Lord’s help, and He is more than willing to guide you. 

Create room for prayer. 

Carve out space in your life for that prayer to be answered. Our lives are busy, and as a result, it feels like our souls are busy, too. Prayer is usually left out because there’s no scheduled space for it. If you have the desire, have you made room for prayer to actually happen?

Jesus went away to carve out space for prayer; shouldn’t we do the same? Instead of your typical playlist or podcast during your morning commute, take that 20 minutes and pray. Or set aside 30 minutes in the morning to walk and pray through your neighborhood. You have asked God to help you; now make some room for Him to answer your prayer!

Learn how to pray God’s Word. 

More than we could imagine, Jesus cares about our circumstances. But when our circumstances are what primarily fuels our prayer life, we won’t get very far. Slowly meditating on and reading Scripture passages out loud is one of the best ways to grow in prayer. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “We need to learn to pray from the richness of God’s Word rather than the poverty of our circumstances.” 

Jesus modeled this by praying the psalms. If you need help picking a place to start, try praying through Psalms, or Jesus’ prayers in the gospels, or the prayers written in Paul’s letters. Slow down, read slowly and out loud, repeat phrases that stick out to you, allow those phrases to get deep into your heart — and watch that shift how you pray! You will find that a small section of Scripture can fuel hours of prayer.  

Ask Jesus to teach you to pray, make space for Him to answer that prayer, and then learn to pray His Word. There is so much more for you to experience with God, and it’s right on the other side of growing in prayer. Welcome to the life you’ve longed to experience!

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