Praying Five Minutes Is Better Than Zero

I’m wired to more naturally spend time reading my Bible than praying. Always have been. Not an excuse, but a reason for why my prayer life has often struggled.

So here are a handful of things that God has been teaching me about prayer. You don’t have to do all of them, but try one or two and see how God uses them.

1. Pray Because You’re Needy. Keith pointed that out here, but it bears repeating. The more I see my true ability (which is next to zero) the more I pray. So my motivation to pray isn’t to become more holy (although this is true), my motivation is because I just realize I can’t do anything by myself and I owe nothing to myself. So lately I’ve been motivating myself to pray not by guilt or pep-talks but by sober reflection on my own sin and what I’ve accomplished on my own without God in the past (not much). Those times of reflection have reminded me of my need and childlike-ness before God and have pushed me to pray more often than normal.

2. 5 Minutes is Better Than 0. I trick myself into thinking that to be a real mature Christian requires like 45 minutes of non-stop intense prayer on my knees. Should I do that? Yes. But my failure to do so should not discourage me into not praying at all. Which it often does. So I’ve been reminding myself that 5 minutes is better than 0. So take the pressure off yourself, pray for 2 minutes, 3 minutes, whatever you can do. And don’t beat yourself up for not praying for 30 straight. Not only is that undoubtedly better than 0…I think you’ll also discover that those 3 minutes will turn into 10, then 15, etc.

3. Find Creative Times to pray. 2 minute prayers are great. Do them by finding times you can get in the habit of. For instance, I’ve been praying in the shower and in the car lately. I’m now in the habit that when I wake up in the morning and the water starts pouring down I pray. Same for my drive to work or the gym. That’s time I’m not doing anything much anyway. Try it.

4. Pray One Liners. When my heart has been moved to pray for someone, either out of pity or tragedy or rejoicing, I do it. Not for even a minute, but for 5 seconds. Since I’ve been practicing this I’ve noticed that at times it feels like I’ve got God on continuous bluetooth.

5. Commit to Pray for Someone Daily for a Period of Time. Sometimes I forget to pray for myself…but for some reason when I’ve committed to pray for someone, and they know it, I don’t forget nearly as much. And when I do forget I’m convicted the next day. Next time you know of someone in need, or after a conversation where someone has shared the burdens, commit to pray for them for a given period of time. 2 days, a week, a month. And then follow up with them.

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