Take Your Prayer Life out of the Box


Is it time to get out of your prayer box and start a prayer LIFE instead?

A few years ago, my prayer life was in a rut. No energy. No interest. I was zoning out during my devotionals. The one steady part of my routine was that my prayer journal got filled each day. I sort of felt that if I didn't fill the page, I hadn't prayed. If the page was full, I was good to go.

Then my friend Melinda confronted me: "Maybe you should put your journal down. It seems like you're putting your prayer life in that box, and it's stuck in there."

Get Out of the Box!

I think we have a lot of prayer routines, tools, and helps that can be like this. Journals, Wednesday night prayer meetings, Bible homework, morning devos, and writing long lists of requests can be "boxes" where we get stuck. These things aren't bad, but as long as you keep your prayer life in these boxes, you'll never have a prayer life.

Prayer is an ongoing conversation with God. He goes with you everywhere. You wouldn't spend the day with a friend and say, "I'll speak with you at lunch, but for the rest of the day, let's not talk!" Why do we relegate our prayer lives to one portion or portions of our day?

Peter and John's Prayer Life

Let me challenge you to read Acts 3:1–10. In these verses, Peter and John were headed to the box of "the hour of prayer." But these guys weren't stuck there. Peter and John were in constant communion with the Holy Spirit, and they knew what He was about to do before He did it. That's why when they walked by a beggar, they said, "Look at us!"

Why didn't they say, "Look to Jesus? Look to God? Come to the hour of prayer with us?" (Oh, how often we fail to just pray with a friend, and we tell them to come to church to get prayed for . . . wrong!) Peter and John knew they were filled with God, and they looked like Him and sounded like Him because they were full of Him! They were in constant communion. They had a prayer life.

There are other evidences that they had a prayer life in this passage. When they speak healing in Jesus' name, it was a prayer. (Remember, John 14:13–14 says, "Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.")

Funny thing . . . they didn't have their eyes closed when they said these words. You don't have to have close your eyes, kneel, be at church, or even open and close with "Dear God" and "Amen" for it to be prayer. Ultimately, prayer is communication, and it yields results.

In this case, the beggar who had never been able to walk was healed. He began leaping and praising God. Fairly good results, don't you think? He's so overcome by this healing that he begins leaping and praising God. He knows of no box or rules by which to pray; it just flows out of him in jumping praise. When was the last time you did that? Why don't you get out of your prayer box and start a prayer life?

By Dannah Gresh

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