Think of prayer as texting.
What if you begin sharing things with the Lord as frequently as you text your spouse and friends? Since God wants you to reach out to Him regularly, throughout your day, prayer-texting is a practical way to keep you connected to your Father. Text Him about the things that are important to you and to Him. If you tend to lose focus when praying audibly, try writing them instead, in an actual text. Written prayers make it easy to keep track of your requests and how God is answering. To help, consider adding “Heavenly Father” to your contacts. For His number, use a landline (I use our area code plus all 0s), or get a fake number from a company like Hushed or Twilio. Fake numbers can also come in very handy when you don’t want to give out your real number.
Speak your prayers.
There is something uniquely powerful in actually speaking your prayers to God. He hears you whether you ask silently or write it out. But you hear yourself when you speak and that strengthens your confidence that your Father is listening. It makes prayer feel more authentic. It also helps to keep you focused so you’re not suddenly thinking about whether you paid your cell phone bill or not. And if you would rather speak than type, get Siri or Alexis involved.
Hey Siri, text my heavenly Father.
What do you want to say?
Father, I thank you for the grace that you envelope me with each day. Please open my eyes to see your grace in all the ways you are going to bless me today. Amen.
Your message to Heavenly Father says: Father, I thank you for the grace… Ready to send it?
Regularity is critical.
By that I mean speaking to God consistently and continually. Jesus emphasized this reality on multiple occasions. After telling His followers a story about a neighbor who wouldn’t take “no” for an answer even though it was the middle of the night, He said: “So I tell you, keep asking and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10. When you were a kid and wanted that to-die-for Christmas gift, what did you do? You pestered your parents to death! Why? To make sure you got what you wanted. How much more giving is our heavenly Father to give us what is truly good? So keep asking.
Believe God will answer.
No, it’s not very likely He will send a reply to your text. But He knows everything you think, say, post, and text. He is always listening, just like a faithful parent, wanting to help in every way. And He never drops a call. You always have a four-bar connection to the Almighty. You can be assured that God is already working on the solution to your every request. iPhone users know this feeling: you’re waiting for a reply when that glorious bubble appears with the three dancing dots. “Yes, they’re answering!” But just as quickly your hopes are dashed. The bubble disappears. God will never do that to you. His three dancing dots are always there (think Father, Son, Spirit). He’s working out your request in his timing and according to his plans. Remember, faith is believing what you can’t yet see.
Asking is the key.
Begin by asking for wisdom.
One of the most practical prayers in the Bible is in Colossians 1:9-12. It begins with the request for wisdom. The apostle Paul and his team prayed nonstop for the believers in Colossae, “asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding…”. This is where the rubber meets the road in praying. God wants to fill you with His Spirit’s wisdom and insights in every decision you make. Before you make that sales call, or talk to your boss, or write that report, ask God to give you his understanding and insights. Afterall, he’s the only one who knows what tomorrow holds. The results of God giving you wisdom are four-fold: you’ll make right choices, you’ll fully please God, you’ll have a positive impact on others, and you’ll understand God better.
You also need His strength.
The second request in this same prayer is for empowerment: “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might…” Colossians 1:11. God wants to strengthen you with His unlimited power! It is His will for you and for everyone you pray for. Couldn’t we all use a lot more divine muscle in our lives? God wants to help you overcome that temptation that seems to dog you daily. He longs to empower you so that you can successfully “stand strong in the strength of his might”. But you must ask Him for it, and keep asking, every day and in every situation where you need strengthening. This powerful request produces three practical results in those who keep asking: endurance (for every circumstance), patience (with every person), and joy that’s found in a confident connection to your heavenly Father.
Flare prayers keep you aligned.
Flare what? A flare prayer is a quick, heat-of-the-moment cry out to God. When you are about to lose it, flare a prayer to God to strengthen you so that you can calm down. I flare prayer God quite frequently while I’m driving. Before you say something that you’ll have to apologize for, speak with your heavenly Father. Before you return that text or email or make a post, take a moment and discuss your feelings with your Father who understands exactly you feel the way you do. He promises to provide us a way out of every temptation. The way out most often comes through a quick prayer for strength. The simple act of acknowledging your need of God, which is what prayer actually is, will give you a new perspective to help you deal with the situation in a right way.
Leverage your commute time.
Remember your Father’s goodness.
After His followers asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, He gave them a humorous illustration. If telling it today, He’d probably put it something like this. “What father would ever give his son a salad of azalea leaves and flowers when he begged him for Happy Meal? Or what dad would give his little girl a cup of cock roaches if she asked him for a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch? If you dads, who are actually evil compared to the goodness of God, want to give wonderful things to your kids, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” He is not too busy to listen to you. He is not disinterested in your petty problems. He is the Father who wants to give what is absolutely best to his children who ask Him.