7 Ways to Improve Your Prayer Life

Do you long to experience a deeper relationship with God through prayer? If you want to learn how to improve your prayer life, it starts with your attitude—how you approach God—as well as your daily prayer habits. These seven practices have helped me, and my hope is they will help you too.

how to improve your prayer life

{ This post and the photos within it contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking an affiliate link, my ministry gets a small commission, with no extra cost to you. See my full disclosures HERE. }

PRAYER. It’s our lifeline to communicate with God! Prayer gives us the opportunity to grow in our relationship with Him, to cry out to Him when we need help, to give thanks for His blessings in our lives, and so much more. So it should be top priority in our lives, shouldn’t it?

And yet, so many of us struggle with prayer. How to pray, what to pray, when to pray… and sometimes, we just don’t pray at all.

For at least a good ten years after I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, my prayer life was pretty lackluster. There might’ve been a few little ‘thank you’ or ‘please help with’ prayers sprinkled around here and there. But my only dedicated prayer time was right before bed—when I’m always so exhausted, I would fall asleep after the first sentence or two.

And yet, I was so reluctant to set a morning prayer time. Me, slow as molasses, foggy-brained, pray in the morning? No way.

It wasn’t until I finally relented, and started a regular morning prayer practice, that my prayer life improved. And since then, there’ve been a lot of different attitudes and practices that have helped to further enrich my prayer life.

But, enough about me… If you’re still reading this, I know you must be asking yourself the same question that I have many times…

how to improve your prayer life

How do I improve my prayer life?

There are two overarching principles that have helped me improve my prayer life, and learn how to pray according to the Bible.

First and most important: To learn how to pray to God effectively, it starts with your attitude (how you approach God). We like to think that prayer is all about the asking (for help, for blessings, for growth, etc.). And the truth is, the Bible DOES instruct us to ask for what we need, BUT…it also says that the real value of prayer is simply communicating with God, and growing closer to Him. (More on that below).

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
1 Peter 5:6-7 (NLT)

And secondly, if you want to truly begin living a prayerful life, you need to build prayer into your daily habits. Like I said before, it wasn’t until I made that commitment to pray each morning, that I even felt like I had a legit “prayer life”. And I’m still learning new and creative ways to pray, beyond that first-thing-in-the-morning appointment with God.

enrich your prayer life

7 Ways to Enrich Your Prayer Life

But still, you might ask “How do I actually implement those things? How can I change my perspective on prayer, and actually build prayer into my already crazy life?”.

Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. To develop a consistent and powerful prayer life, will be something you’ll learn over time. (Just as I’m still learning too!) But that being said, these seven things will help. If you can implement these things, even one at a time over the next few months or year, you’ll find that you have a greatly enriched prayer life and deeper relationship with God.

1) Focus on the relationship

Pray to God like He’s your friend and confidante, because He IS! God doesn’t want formulaic prayers from His children, indeed quite the opposite. He wants to hear your heart’s cry… your deep gratitude for His blessings… your laments at the things you don’t understand (but that you ask Him for help understanding)… your cries for help when you’re in distress… and so forth. If you need help finding the words for that, just pray some Psalms! They’re a great example of what it looks like to pour your heart out to God.

Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
Be merciful and answer me!
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

Psalm 27:7-8 (NLT)

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
John 15:15 (NIV)

2) Approach God humbly

At the same time, revere God for who He is. As Isaiah 55:9 says, His ways are higher that our ways. That means, so often we think we know what should happen, but God knows better. We think we’re doing good, but God sees the sin still hidden in our hearts.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT)

If you could do only ONE thing to improve your prayer life, do this: Simply repent of your sins, and submit yourself to the Lord. The times when I’ve felt closest to God, are those times when I’ve made a point to ask forgiveness. Some days, I’ll even ask the Holy Spirit to point out to me what areas of my life still have unrepentant sin, and without fail, there is always something that He reveals to me that I need to change (like I’ve been judging others, coveting something that’s not mine, or focusing too much on material things rather than on God).

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
Romans 2:4 (NLT)

A closer relationship to God starts with repentance, and allowing Him to purify your heart, so you can live as He wants you to live.

prayer

3) Make a daily appointment with God (and keep it!)

Okay, now, moving onto some practical ways for how to deepen your prayer life, starting with this wonderful quote:

“Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.”
~Corrie Ten Boom

I’m telling you, this is the best advice! It doesn’t matter as much the time of day you pray, as long as you do it consistently. For a lot of people (including Jesus!) morning works best, since it’s the most reliable quiet, uninterrupted time most of us have in the day. But, if a different time works better for you, then do that!

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Mark 1:35 (NIV)

If necessary, you could even have a different ‘appointment’ time for your work days vs. days off. Just so long as you keep that appointment!

Lettering Prayer Journal

4) Keep a list/prayer journal

Have you ever sat down to pray, but you’re not sure what to pray about? And by the same token, maybe you told your friend you would pray for them, but then you forgot? If you really want to learn how to be prayer warrior, interceding for friends and family, you need a place to write things down.

In fact, starting a prayer journal is one of those things that has helped to improve my prayer life the most. It’s so good to easily remember what or who I need to pray for, so no one falls through the cracks, and I have a place to write down answered prayers too!

5) Take time to listen

This is one that I know I tend to forget. It’s so easy to do all the asking, lamenting, and rambling on about my problems, and never stop to say “Lord, speak to me”. And yet, don’t we WANT to hear from God?

Something that I’ve started doing in my morning prayer time, is reading a passage of Scripture, and asking God to speak to me through it. Occasionally, I will even sit still for a few minutes after praying, to see if there is anything God brings to my mind.

seek God in prayer - Jeremiah 29:13

Regardless of how you go about “listening” for God, the important thing is to ask and expect to hear from Him. Say as Samuel did in 1 Samuel 3:10: “Lord, speak, for your servant is listening” (and then really do listen with an open heart and mind!).

6) Pray continually/throughout the day

Last Sunday, the youth pastor at my church gave a powerful message about prayer, in which he said this: “We shouldn’t process things (events/happenings) through our minds, but through our hearts…on our knees in prayer”. What he meant was, when things occur in our daily lives (problems arise, people make us angry, or something good happens) we should pray about it FIRST, rather than trying to overthink it.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually

I don’t know about you, but I could sure do more of that! I want to grow in prayer, so that my first reaction when life happens, is to get “on my knees” and cry out to God (whether in praise, thanks, lament, or pleading for help).

7) Be persistent

Finally, our last point on how to improve your prayer life, is to BE PERSISTENT! In Luke 11:1-13, Jesus teaches us how to pray (with the “Lord’s prayer”, verses 2-4), and he ends with this lesson about the importance of persistence in prayer.

“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Luke 11:9-10 (NLT)

Of all the Bible teachings on prayer, I would call this one the cherry on top! Once we’ve mastered how to pray, we need to keep asking, and not give up. The Bible says (in 2 Peter 3:9) that the Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, but is patient with us. So, as we pray, we can have faith that God will answer our prayers in the way that’s best, and in His good and perfect timing. Let us pray persistently, until the Lord answers!

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

❤️ On my journey as a Christ follower, it never ceases to amaze me as I learn more about my Heavenly Father, see His fingerprints on my life, the ways I grow spiritually, and how good God truly is. I pray you are seeing this evidenced in your life too! We are truly His handiwork.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Anne- One Determined Life September 10, 2020, 3:50 pm

    These are great tips. When I was younger, I struggled to pray consistently. One of the things that helped me was to think of something that I do more then 2 times a day and to let that be a reminder to pray. It’s an easy way to build prayer into your day.

    • Barbara Austin September 10, 2020, 9:21 pm

      Yes, I love that idea to “habit stack” prayer with something you already do!

Leave a Comment