How to Deepen Your Prayer Life

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Recently, I went through new challenges which taught me a lot about my prayer life. I realized that while I was enjoying my bible study time, my prayer life was lacking and I needed to learn how to have a deeper prayer life if I was going to make it out of these challenges stronger in Christ.

My life was caught up in the day-to-day priorities and lost sight of how powerless my prayers had become. They were rushed and repetitive. Infrequent: prayed once to twice a day. Or so often, focused on self instead of God (I will address this later in this post).

Prayer Life: How should Christians pray?

To help us learn how to deepen our prayer life, let us examine first how Christians should pray. 

Jesus gave us the best example on how to pray: He gave us a prayer to follow (see Matthew 6:9-13).

Notice that the Lord’s Prayer places us last. It puts God in first place (to remind us of His sovereignty and His will), and then, others. 

I recently read this about the Lord’s Prayer:

The Lord’s Prayer is comprised of seven petitions, which are divided up very much like the Ten Commandments. The first three petitions are God-ward—vertical—and the last four petitions deal with the horizontal relationships we have with others.1

When we look at the life of Jesus, we know that He often found a quiet place to pray to His Father (Mark 1:35-39).

Also, Jesus prayed to do His Father’s will and did His Father’s will.

And based on Hebrews 5:7 KJV, He opened His heart to God with “strong crying and tears.”

So, how can we deepen our prayer life? Learn from the example Jesus left us.

What can we learn from Jesus’ prayer life?

  • Pray often.
  • To pray sincerely.
  • Plead with the Father.
  • Praise our Father.
  • To find a quiet place.
  • Ask and do His will.

How to pray according to the Bible?

Let us look at the examples of many in the Bible who give us insight into having a deeper prayer life. We will examine (very briefly for the sake of your time) prayers in the Bible.

  • Job’s prayer life:
    • We learn in Job chapter 1 that he prayed for his family OFTEN. It says that he’d go EARLY MORNING to give a burnt offering for each of his children in case they had sinned (see Job 1:5)! (What a lesson for parents!)
    • Job also prayed after finding out the death of his sons/daughters (see Job 1:20-22). If you read what he said in his prayer here, Job is acknowledging Whose we are and that He is ultimately in control. While he is mourning the loss of his family, Job PRAISED God and DID NOT SIN AGAINST God. (Wow!)
  • David: How did David pray
    • Something we learn from about David’s prayer life is his FREQUENCY IN PRAYING. The Bible says he prayed 3 times a day (see Psalm 55:17). (If you were wondering how often Christians pray, maybe this should give us some insight…wink wink!)
    • David had great sins but showed great repentance and obedience to God. Look at David’s prayer for forgiveness after the sin with Bathsheba and Uriah: Psalm 51. Many of his Psalms show A REPENTANT HEART – truly a man after His own heart.
    • And then, look at how God talks about him: “and yet you have not been as My servant David, who kept My commandments and who followed Me with all his heart, to do only what was right in My eyes;” 1 Kings 14:8, NKJV.

Two additional men who teach us how to pray according to the Bible:

  • King Solomon: His powerful prayers
    • Many of us are familiar with King Solomon’s prayer for wisdom and discernment/knowledge to help judge God’s people (see 1 Kings 3 and 2 Chronicles 1). 
      • Do you know what Solomon was doing? Exactly what it says in Matthew 6:33, NKJV which is to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you”
      • Solomon’s PRIORITY WAS GOD’S KINGDOM and that’s why he prospered. His request pleased God greatly.
    • Are you familiar with his prayer of dedication for the temple? Here are a few things Solomon did in his prayer of dedication:
      • Solomon KNELT to pray (1 Kings 8:54, 2 Chronicles 6:13).
      • He started his prayer by PRAISING GOD (1 Kings 8:23-24).
      • He PRAYED GOD’S WORD BACK TO GOD, meaning he uses God’s promises to remind God of what He has said. Not that God needs reminding, but Solomon is claiming that promise God made to his father, David (1 Kings 8:25).
      • Then, Solomon asks from God.
      • If you keep reading the chapter, he continues to praise God throughout his prayer.
  • Daniel’s prayer life:
    • Well, Daniel’s prayer life is one that I have yet to start studying, but here is what I know. 
      • Daniel was committed to prayer. 
      • He went to God to reveal His will.
      • He praised God when God revealed it.
      • Daniel was NOT ashamed to pray in front of others.
      • He prayed often throughout the day (David wasn’t the only one that prayed often! Daniel is another one that shows us how often Christians should pray…more than once in a day!)

Did you pick up some lessons on how to deepen your prayer life from these great men of God? (Hint: I bolded and capitalized some of them!)

The Bible has many life lessons to teach us, especially on prayer! With just these few examples, we learn how to pray according to the Bible (prayers that please God)!

What is considered a selfish prayer?

I think to deepen our prayer life, we need to understand what is considered a selfish prayer or prayers with the wrong intentions.

These are prayers focused on self or prayers asking for bad things because prayer is more than asking God to do things for us.

Look at what Frank M. Hasel shares in his Longing for God: Prayer and Bible Journal:

how to deepen your prayer life and books on prayer by em bounds, how should christians pray, and how to pray according to the Bible and Jesus prayer life, free books on prayer, how often should christians pray

“Prayer that pleases God is much more than asking Him to fulfill your wishes. Prayer that pleases God takes you into the immediate presence of God Himself and is an important part of having a vibrant relationship with Him.”

“But actually, my prayers often center around myself. They speak about what I wish to have. What I want to receive from God. Sometimes even in His name.”

“God’s presence is much more important than the things He gives to me. In His presence, I feel sheltered. Without Him, I don’t want to live. Without Him my life would lack the decisive perspective. The time I spend with Him is precious because He is precious to me. I can confide everything to Him. He understands me … loves me tenderly … wants to be with me. I long to be with Him. That is the center of true prayer.”

This is a great prayer and Bible journal book to deepen your prayer life. It helps us understand prayer and reminds us to do it daily, and with gratitude and love towards our Heavenly Father.

A book on prayer: How to pray effectively and deepen your prayer life

One of the best books on prayer I recently read is called The Essentials of Prayer: How Christians Ought to Pray by EM Bounds. This is a book on prayer and intercession that has so many wonderful and convicting points I can’t include them all here!

Here are some great quotes from this book:

“It takes the whole being to pray until all the storms that agitate the soul are calmed to a great calm. . .”

“God sees it that when the whole person prays, the whole person will be blessed.”

“Humility is an indispensable requisite of true prayer.”

“Kneeling suits us well as the attitude of prayer because it indicates humility.”

“Busyness is not devotion. Activity is not strength. Work is not zeal. Moving about is not devotion.”

“Appreciative men and women have neither the time nor the disposition to stop and complain.”

“Trouble is not punitive in its nature. It belongs to what the Scripture calls “chastening.”

“The church is not turning out praying men and women, because the church is not intently engaged in the one great work of holiness.”

“People can do many excellent and commendable things in the church and be utter strangers to a life of consecration, just as they can do many things and be prayerless.”

Wow! I still have MANY more wonderful quotes from this book on prayer by EM Bounds, but I will stop myself here!

This is for you if you need a book on improving your prayer life!

And guess what? It is a FREE book on prayer! You can find the free versions on Hoopla and CloudLibrary apps, as well as the audio version on YouTube.

Praying the Word of God Back to Him: A powerful way to pray

I have written previously about praying the Scriptures – aka praying bible verses – (which is a powerful way to pray) and this definitely helps deepen your prayer life. I still do this daily! It helps with memorizing bible verses, too.

Matthew Henry, the great reformer and Bible commentator, said this on prayer:

“The best we can say to God in prayer, is what He has said to us.”

Here is an example on praying scripture when you lack faith:

  • Dear God, I know we shouldn’t have faith in only what we see, but please help me to walk by faith. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
  • Lord, I didn’t do anything to be saved because it is a gift from you. I need my faith not to rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (Combination of Ephesians 2:8 and 1 Corinthians 2:5)

And this is the scripture I pray whenever I feel weak in my faith:

  • Dear Heavenly Father, I believe in You, but please help me overcome my unbelief! (Mark 9:24, NIV)

As you can see (and should hopefully practice one day), praying the scriptures is a powerful way to pray!

You can find a resource I created with scriptures to use when praying in my Free Resources.

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To Recap: How to Deepen Your Prayer Life

Did you notice how I didn’t give you steps to deepen your prayer life? I didn’t think I should because there is no cookie cutter method to improving your prayer life.

I think the best method is to learn what Jesus taught us on prayer and also what His Word teaches us on it, and then, you can create your own steps in improving your prayer life. You know your life best and what needs to be worked on.

And if I start giving you steps, it will become almost legalistic or rote that your heart may not be in it. You’ll be doing it to check off the boxes: I am a good Christian today because I prayed according to my list. And that is not a good thing! You’ll end up sour and unsatisfied with your prayer life again!

Remember to take it easy and slow. He is your Loving Father, your Best Friend, your Counselor. . .everything! We live because of Him! So, allow yourself time and honesty with Him!


Christian Online Book Club: A Women’s Book Club

If you are wanting to be a part of an online christian book club or need some recommendations of christian books for a women’s book club, you came to right place!

We read a book a month and there is no pressure! We try to find great christian books or books in general that are affordable, new, and even free! (Most of the ones we’ve read this year have been free on the Hoopla and CloudLibrary apps – requires library card, though.)

The book on prayer and intercession by EM Bounds mentioned above was the September book pick!

To find out more about this online Christian Women’s book club, check more info on my Eyes on Him Book Club category.

And to be a part of our online christian book club, sign up here:

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Citations:

  1. Batchelor, Doug. “Teach Us to Pray.” Amazing Facts International, https://www.amazingfacts.org/media-library/book/e/50/t/teach-us-to-pray#THE-MAKEUP-OF-PRAYER

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