Ways to Deepen Your Prayer Life
by Sharon Paskewitz

Prayer is essential to all who believe in God. If you do not pray on a regular basis, you are not tapping into the power and sovereignty of all that God is. In Ezekiel there are many passages that have the statement: The word of the Lord came to me. How do we know if the word of God has come to us? Through prayer and reading the Bible on a daily basis! In Ezekiel it also says many times, "...declares the Sovereign Lord." Prayer and reading the Bible are the basics of learning God's will and knowing His power in our lives. Ephesians 2:4 speaks of God's great love and mercy. His love and mercy empower us every day but we can only know the fullness of that power through daily prayer and Bible reading. Ephesians 3:16-21 clearly supports the power in knowing God's love. Through being grounded in prayer and Scripture we become aware of God's powerful love. If you want to deepen your prayer life, here are some easy guidelines that many of us find helpful.

The first guideline to always remember is to study the Bible when you pray. Many people find the Bible hard to understand. In prayer God will help you to understand what you are reading. There are certain passages that many modern-day women have a hard time relating to in their lives. For example, Paul speaks against women preaching. If a woman feels that God is calling her to preach, what should she do? Pray and ask God to guide her.

A second guideline to help in drawing closer to God is memorizing verses. Often in times of prayer, God will make a central message of Scripture jump out at someone you know or even yourself. This happened to me recently. In somewhat bad circumstances I had moved to another place. Haggai 2:9 came to my mind. I am not familiar with that book at all, so it could not be anyone but the Holy Spirit placing that verse in my mind. When I looked it up I discovered that it clearly stated: The Glory of the present house will be greater than the Glory of the former house, and in this place I will give you peace, declares the Sovereign Lord (NIV). It was very assuring that God would bring me the peace of knowing Him more! I immediately memorized the verse to remind myself of God's faithfulness. Many times in my life God has brought Scripture to me and it has always been just what I needed!

Memorizing Scripture helps us with the third guideline, which is, praying God's word. Ephesians 6:17 says that the Bible is our sword. When we pray the Scriptures we are speaking God's word back to Him. The Scriptures are very powerful. When we pray them, we are not only speaking God's word, we are reminding ourselves of His promises. This helps us to trust Him more, especially in times of trials. Once I was going through a rough time at work. God brought me Scripture to memorize and comforted me daily! I doubt that I would have made it through if He had not been so faithful! Praying the Scripture in that time and since then often brings me the strength and comfort I need.

The fourth guideline that may be helpful is to have something visual to focus on while praying. This can be a familiar picture of Christ. Of course we must be careful not to worship an object. Sometimes we all have trouble focusing on Christ. A picture can help us to center our focus on Him and not our problems! If you find it helpful to have a picture, then by all means use it! We cannot draw closer to Jesus if we do not focus on Him in prayer.

Having something tangible to hold in my hand is often helpful to me. This is the fifth guideline that I find often deepens my prayers. In my job of working with people who are disabled I often use my hands. Psalm 90:17 is a verse I use frequently- "May the favor of God rest upon us. Establish the works of our hands, dear Lord. Establish the works of our hands for us (NIV)." What is the main work of our hands to be! Prayer! Through prayer God's hand works in ours.

The last guideline that I have found useful is to light candles. Traditionally, candles have been used to symbolize the Holy Spirit. Some people have even believed that lighting candles is a way to ask the Holy Spirit to be with them. Lighting candles reminds me that the Holy Spirit is always there to help me when I pray.

Each of us must find our own way in prayer. We need to let His Spirit guide and direct us in prayer. If we are comfortable raising our hands in prayer, then we should. If not, then there should be no reason to feel obligated. Prayer along with the Bible is to be used to draw us closer to God. Why not start today and begin knowing the fullness of God?

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