Matthew 6:5-6, “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
The key to secret prayer, is to actually pray! Now of course, this is not the only way nor necessarily the best way of praying! Prayer can be expressed in a variety of ways: in a group, on the way to work, and with your spouse or family. But, how we go about our private prayer life, is usually expressed in our public prayers. Therefore, the most important thing about private prayer, is that we actually pray.
So consider the following tips on assisting you cultivate a more consistent private prayer life:
1) Get Your ‘Closet’
To pray regularly is important. But forming the habit of prayer is to find a regular time and place for prayer. The point here is to make a space where you can regularly go to in order to pray. Remember, it doesn’t have to be an actual closet.
2) Begin with the Bible
The next first thing is to turn to God’s Word, as prayer ought to be a response to God’s Word to us! Prayer is a two-way street only if we understand that the way God speaks to us is through His revealed Word. So, listen to God first by reading the Word and then respond to God in prayer.
3) Consider a Structure (ACTS)
ACTS means, Adore – Confess – Thanksgiving – Supplication. Using a regular pattern like this can help in our private prayer. Adoration is to adore God with praises. Confession is to confess your own sins and failings before God. Of course, we then give thanks for His forgiveness and grace. And finally, supplication is to ask God – to requests for yourself, your family, your church, and beyond. With this, let me mention the prayer app I use to help manage my prayer points. It is called PrayerMate and it help categorize prayer points & keeps track of who or what I’ve been praying for.
4) Reveal Your Desires
Often times we are more focused on others, or even just getting through our prayer time, that we overlook Scripture’s clear teaching that prayer can truly change our hearts. True prayer isn’t merely pouring out the contents of the heart to God and moving on. True prayer is expectantly asking Him to change and develop our heart’s desires to align with His will!
5) Keep it Fresh
Don’t always pray for the same things, or the same people – out of habit. Pray for various points throughout the week. Again, the Prayer app (PrayerMate) I use, allows me to have different prayer points everyday or every time I use the app. These are all prayer points I have added over time. And it continues to grow.
So cultivating a private prayer life is an important part of a Christian’s journey of holiness. Developing this habit by incorporating these tips will help you grow in your love for and joy in Jesus Christ. Let us therefore follow His example of prayer.