Over the past two decades, I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my prayer life, and the Lord has taught me so much that can help you avoid getting in a rut.
Doing prayer too formally.
“Most Gracious Lord, I pray Thou hearken unto us…” Yes, of course, God is worthy of respect, but your lofty words don’t impress him. It’s sincere relationship that He is after. Prayer is relationship; it is simple communication, just as between parent and child, husband and wife.
Doing prayer without the word.
“Dear Lord, be with them and help them.” These are good and sincere words, but I have worn them flat out. Yes, prayer is to be like a natural conversation, but any conversation grows dull when it runs out of new material. Try praying some apostolic prayers; God has revealed his will clearly in scripture, and we would do well to intercede with the focus and clarity that His Word brings.
Doing prayer in the same spot every time.
Have you gotten into a posture rut? Consider changing location or position! If you normally pray inside, try it on the balcony or in the park. If you always talk to Jesus on your knees, try standing. Then bow. Have you ever tried yoga for exercise? I’ve come to enjoy it recently. There’s a reason it works! Try it with prayer; get the blood flowing and find new energy.
Doing prayer empty.
Far too often, prayer is our last resort after we have tried everything else. We pray with our eyes on the problems, not having taken any time to reflect on the promises of God. We pray without first engaging the Lord in praise and without getting filled up by his spirit. That’s why I make a habit of combining prayer with worship… Because I know that if we minister to the Lord first, heaven is going to touch the earth.