Habits of Prayer

Jesus Praying“Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1 (ESV)

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There was something about the way that Jesus prayed that caught the attention of the disciples. They saw that His prayer life was different than theirs, and so they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.

But prayer is more than the words we say to God.

Prayer also includes certain habits.

One of the habits Jesus displayed in prayer in Mark 1:35 was getting up early in the morning to pray. This habit is important because it lays the foundation for our day. Starting the day with prayer allows us to place the events of the day into His hands and trust that the day will unfold as He desires.

For us in healthcare, it often means rising very early in the morning…before rounds. But that effort is worth the price since beginning the day with prayer also helps us take on the right mindset for the day, enabling us to properly interpret the events of the day. It also allows the Lord to bring the Scripture we read back into our memory through the day as He molds us into the image of Christ.

Another habit in prayer Jesus displayed in Mark 1:35 was going to a “desolate place” to pray. He didn’t stay with the disciples, but took the time and energy to go off by Himself.

Distractions are the enemy of prayer.

The distractions in our own minds are enough to deal with let alone any other external distractions around us. Doing what we can to minimize distractions during prayer is an important habit to develop.

One tool that has helped me deal with distractions in my prayer life is Ken Boa’s Handbook to Prayer. This little leather bound book contains Scripture verses under the headings of adoration, confession, renewal, petition, intercession, affirmation, thanksgiving and then a closing prayer. It lays out Scriptural prayers for 90 days and also gives different suggestions for prayer for each day of the week.

Learning to pray is a process…and part of that process is refining our habits of prayer.

It’s never too late to refine those habits.

Prayer: Lord, teach me to pray as You taught the disciples.

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