“How do I keep myself consistent when it comes to daily prayers?”

I saw the question above on Quora. Consistency in prayer is something all of us struggle with from time to time. Here’s what I wrote (expanded a little for this post).

Finding consistency in your prayer-life depends on your ‘why’. Or, more accurately, two ‘why’s’.

1. Why you want to pray
2. Why you want to pray daily

To resolve these ‘why’s’ let’s take some instruction and inspiration from Jesus.

We see him praying often (Luke 5.16) and early (Mark 1.35). It’s not stated specifically that he prayed daily, but it seems likely. For one thing, his relationship with his Father was emotionally close (John 17.24). For another, he must have needed a consistent connection with the Father to carry out his will (John 15.9-10), given that it was a tough assignment! Jesus found a motivation that helped him pray at difficult times (Matthew 26.36ff) and at times of joy (Luke 10.21). If we don’t have the motivation we want, we can be inspired by his example. A good place to start when looking for motivation is to study the prayer life of Jesus in the Gospels. Doing so with an open mind is likely to result in the desire to pray, and to pray often.

If we don’t know how to pray we can learn from his teaching (Luke 11.1–13). This is a blog post for another day, since there is so much to discuss in this passage, but for now, we see that Jesus taught his disciples a prayer structure to help them pray. It has become a rote prayer for some, but I doubt it was intended to be used that way. Instead, it is healthier to view it as a set of prayer priorities. These areas of prayer (honouring the Father, the kingdom, daily needs, forgiving others etc.) are hooks on which to hang our own prayers – guided by the priorities Jesus reveals in Luke 11.

From the above it seems that finding the motivation to pray, and to do so daily depends on studying the example of Jesus, and embracing his teaching on prayer (as in Luke 11). Structure can be helpful, and variety of location or occasion can also be beneficial. Can you find a structure that helps you and a different place and occasion to pray than usual?

I hope your find your ‘why’s’.

Malcolm

P S. What are your tips? Leave a comment or send me a message.

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