If you ask any follower of Jesus, mature or new, most would say their prayer life could be improved. We all have this desire to draw closer to God, and prayer is the means of this communion.
This past week my husband and I spent time in Florida helping my mother-in-law clean out her Florida residence. She decided to sell the house after her husband passed away. It was an emotional as well as physically exhausting week. Everything in the house had to go – from the plethora of plastic bags to a 100-year-old table crafted by a relative. On the desk near that table, sat a small note in her handwriting asking God for strength.
My mother-in-law turns 86 in one month, and she is still asking God for help, still depending on Him for strength. What a testament to a life of prayer! She understands and clings to this dependence on God.
But many people don’t. I didn’t. I became a new believer, a new mom, and a new wife in a span of three years. I was drowning in a pool of inadequacy where all my usual coping mechanisms failed. I had to learn a different way—a better way and prayer was that path. Twenty-eight years later, I’m still asking God for help. I by no means have it all figured out or am an expert in prayer, but this path I’ve taken has drawn me closer to God. Thinking back, three specific books propelled my prayer life and directed me towards this union with God.
The Power of a Praying Wife (Harvest House Publishers) – After one year of marriage, I fixated on all the quirks and mannerisms of my husband. (Oh, yes, I had my own!) I hadn’t noticed these irritations in the dating phase. After talking to a friend, she recommended this book by Stormie Omartian. I didn’t know how to pray back then, so I simply repeated the written prayers in her book. I prayed through this book several times over several years. These prayers changed my marriage and, ironically, me.
Praying God’s Word (Broadman & Holman Publishers) – Another friend gave me this book by Beth Moore while I was in the hospital. I had been struggling with lots of medical issues and a tepid prayer life. In addition to the medical problems, I had three young children and a husband at home. I didn’t know how I would function over the six weeks of recovery. The prayers in this book are also written out and based on scripture. Over and over I read chapter 10, “Overcoming Despair.”
The Bible – As I matured in my faith, I was able to wean myself off of others prayers and pray using my Bible. In addition to the Psalms, prayers are recorded all over scripture. I color coded these passages in my first study Bible with a purple highlighter. Later, I realized that most scriptures can be verbalized as a prayer. Just this week I prayed Romans 15:13 over my family: Now may the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Like any new discipline, we need to do it again and again to become proficient. The same is true with prayer. May one of these books kick-start your prayer life into sweet communion with God.
It is in prayer and its answer that the interchange of love between the Father and His child takes place. Andrew Murray
What do you struggle with in prayer?