My habit of prayer is something I’ve been working on in my own life here lately because over the years, I’ve learned that prayer is a truly incredible thing. It’s the ability to speak to our Heavenly Father who created us, loves us, and cares for us above all His creation. Because He cares for us so much, He gave up His only Son to die for our sins so He could rise again on the third day and be able to intercede for us and prepare for us a place in Heaven (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34; John 14:2).

In the meantime, we have access anytime to talk to Him, make requests, praise Him, and so much more. This is what makes prayer a unique, powerful, and beautiful aspect in our relationship with God.

However, we get so busy that prayer unfortunately gets put on the back burner. Since this shouldn’t be the case, I want to outline some ways to help you get in the habit of prayer.

Pray anytime, anywhere, for any reason.

When I was growing up, nearly everyone had a landline phone. If you wanted to call a friend, you often had to ask their parents if they were available to talk, and you needed to take in consideration what time you were calling, just so you didn’t interrupt mealtimes or other scheduled activities. These days, you can call anyone directly – or just send a quick message – with a few keystrokes in a matter of seconds. Prayer is much faster and more convenient than landlines or even cell phones because you don’t have to go through a middle man, so to speak, and you don’t have to rely on a paid data plan or the Internet to talk to the God we serve. We can – and should – talk to Him whenever we want, no matter what the time, no matter what the reason (2 Timothy 1:9). He is there, and we should we present and communicate with Him as well.

Pray often.

Typically, habits are established by repetition. If you intentionally pray whenever you possibly can – during your commute, before meals, before bed, while living out your day, and so on – prayer will come more naturally throughout your days, weeks, months, and years. We are encouraged through Scripture to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), meaning that we should pray purposefully and often for whatever is on our hearts, and in turn, He will seek us.

Pray with the intention of praise.

We have the ability to praise God outside of our worship services, and we should take every opportunity to do so. Many of the Psalms – which serve as praise before God in poetic form – can inspire us to come up with ways to show our love for Him. For example, David – the man after God’s own heart – lauds, ” I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works” (Psalm 9:1). And here’s the really cool part: God has done the same for us. “The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).

Pray for others.

It goes without saying that prayer is one of the best ways to help our fellow man. We should be aware of how our family, friends, and congregation are doing, as well as how we should reach those who are lost. If you don’t know, ask questions. Offer encouragement. Show His love. Also, when you actually tell someone that you’re praying for them, their knowing that they have both your and God’s support will help them get through even the hardest of trials, since “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16b).

Pray for forgiveness and assistance to walk with Him.

Whether it’s for courage to stand for Him or for strength to get through the valley of a trial, God wants us to reach out to Him in our heavenward journey of faith. We’re not perfect, but He is perfect, and when we lean on Him through prayer and allow Him to guide us in His way, we are made perfect through His sacrifice on the cross. Also, we’re not expected to know exactly how to pray. The apostles had questions on how they should pray to their Lord (Luke 11:1), and Jesus answered them (Matthew 6:5-15). He’ll do the same for us (Romans 8:26).

Pray in faith that you will receive an answer.

Finally, when we pray, we should pray in faith. There are times when we are hesitant to pray because we don’t know if our prayer will be answered or if we’ll receive what we’re praying for. First of all, we can’t let the fear of not receiving an answer keep us from prayer. Jesus Himself reassures us that if we ask, we will receive (Matthew 7:7; John 14:13-14). Second of all, even when the answer we receive isn’t the one we want, it’s still an answer nonetheless, and it fits in with God’s will for our lives like a puzzle piece (Luke 11:2). Regardless of the outcome, we should pray that His will be done when we make requests to Him.

In the end, prayer is a means of communication that truly transcends all others; it allows us to talk to our Father in Heaven who created us. It’s in this way that we’re able to build a relationship with our God and, if we keep up the habit of prayer, that relationship will only grow stronger. How amazing and awe-inspiring is that?

By Savannah Cottrell