Prayer is universal. But in Christ, prayer experience is wonderfully unique – a realm beyond religious ritual, form and ecstasy. Not all followers of Jesus have meaningful, daily prayer times, or enjoy doing life in pray continually mode. Most of us will admit we want a better prayer life.
For some, that means going from good to great; for others it simply means taking the first step in prayer growth. But, whether we feel we’re in the basement, on an upper floor or stuck on a mezzanine, the Spirit is ready to help us individually move to a new level.
Where do we start? After all, the realm of prayer is as big as God.
Moving forward in prayer isn’t a puzzling walk in a dark maze. It’s a journey in light. The Word unfolds the path and the Spirit navigates the way. But movement happens because we want it.
Our growth journey is not a generic copy. Yes, we’re all invited to the same journey: prayer growth that deepens our love for and response to Glory. But the Spirit and Word personalize the daily route details for each of us. Here’s what I find helps maintain the momentum: praying about a better prayer life.
Not just repeating the Lord, teach us to pray request, or asking for more discipline, or more perseverance. Instead, focus on prayer growth MOTIVES. They can include: the Father’s joy, intimacy with him, holy living, advancing his Kingdom, or any other pure reason that fuels desire to grow as a pray-er.
Select one motive, find a relevant scripture (example below) and use it to shape prayer for a better prayer life. Do that for a season. Allow the MOTIVE to strengthen and become a passion. Then move to a new motive focus. Talking to the Lord regularly about WHY we want to grow as pray-ers, fuels our desire for the journey, and energizes us to take important growth steps.
Motive example: to bring glory to the Father – John 14:13-14
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Jesus invites us to ask anything,* but he adds: ask in my name. His name gives us Throne access, but also confidence. We draw our asking point into his name because it’s where the answer is waiting. And that answer does much more than meet a need; Jesus gives it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. The Father receiving glory from Christ’s answers to our asking: what a powerful motivation to grow as pray-ers!
In the ongoing journey of a ‘ better prayer life’, this is one excellent motive for prayer growth: more and more glory to the Father through the Son’s answers to our praying.
*for more on the whatever see blog post Can we ask WHATEVER we wish