Variety is the spice of life. This certainly has proven true in my prayer life. Here are a few things that have worked for me at different times.
Prayer list. When I began taking a few minutes every day to pray for others, I simply prayed for whoever came to mind. I soon found, however, that there was almost no end to people and situations that needed divine intervention. To make the most of my prayer time, I needed to get organized, so I started keeping a written list. I don’t have time to pray for every item on my list every day, so I keep track by checking off each item as I pray for it. When I get to the bottom, I start over with another series of checkmarks. I also add new items as new needs arise, and mark items “Done!” when God answers.
Prayer promises. I printed “promise” verses from the Bible—“Ask and it will be given to you,”1 for example—on small cards. As I pray for each item on my list, I draw a card from the stack and apply that promise.
Meditative prayer. Nowhere am I more aware of God’s love and care than when I walk in nature. As I take in the sights and sounds of His creation, I ask Him to guide my thoughts to people and situations that need my prayers, and then ask Him to take care of them as only He can.
Teaming up. Sometimes I arrange with a friend to spend 10 or 15 minutes praying together. “If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask,” Jesus promised, “it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.”2
Pillow prayer. When I can’t sleep, I focus my thoughts on others and their needs, and pray for God to provide. Or sometimes I count my blessings in the form of short, specific prayers of praise and thanksgiving to God for His goodness. After a short while, I usually drift off to sleep.
Unloading. When I feel overwhelmed by problems or the task ahead, I sometimes unburden my mind and spirit by imagining each issue as a brick and handing it over to Jesus, in the form of a short prayer.
Variety. When prayer gets ho-hum or routine, I ask Jesus for a new plan or way to pray.