I’ve always had the genuine desire to be a better Christian. I used to look at people who were doing exploits for God with a lot of admiration and sadness. Sadness because I felt I could never be like them.
I felt this way because I understood that it must have taken a great deal of sacrifice for them to have gotten to that point. Things like spending quality time with God daily, praying, Bible study, and fasting among others.
I felt it was going to be extremely difficult for someone like me to make those sacrifices. I knew it’d be very painful and unpleasant, and I wasn’t ready to go through all that pain.
Mind you, I didn’t just jump to this conclusion. I had previously tried praying consistently and the few times I made some effort, I found it very difficult to abandon the fun things of life and go back to the place of prayer on the following day.
If I couldn’t even stretch for two days, how could I expect to pray every single day for the rest of my life?
So, I resorted to settling for the mediocre Christian life and admiring the spiritually mature individuals who had made the sacrifice and paid the price to get to where they were. Little did I know that none of them made those sacrifices by their personal strengths, but by the help of God.
As expected, my Christian life was a miserable one. I found myself having a series of hot and cold seasons. Hot seasons where I’d be on fire for God and cold seasons where I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from backsliding.
I’d see myself falling into different kinds of temptations, not being able to help it. In the mornings, I’d wake up with a disturbed conscience and the first thing I’d do would be to ask God for forgiveness, but going into the day, I’d do the exact same things I repented of, and the cycle would keep going on and on.
I was in a state of spiritual stagnancy and it was a miserable state, to say the least. But God saw what I was going through and He did not abandon me to my struggles. Things began to turn around for me when I returned home from boarding school in 2017 and God made me spend several months at home with my parents.
These, in my opinion, were the best several months of my life because this was the period when God began to take me by the hand and lead me on the path of spiritual growth.
During this period, I lost the freedom I’d enjoyed in boarding school because, in my home, family Bible study was compulsory. So I had to attend Bible Study every morning.
But this was different from the previous holidays and my nursery and primary school days where I’d be sitting in Bible Study and my mind would be hundreds of miles away. This time, I paid attention.
My parents are wonderful Bible teachers. They are the first tool that the Holy Spirit used to begin His work on my mind.
Also, in my home, making contributions during Bible study is quite compulsory. So in a bid not to embarrass myself when it was my turn to contribute, I had to force myself to study the Bible.
Days turned into weeks and weeks, to months and I began to see a drastic change in myself. My pattern of thinking began to change as my thoughts became more in line with the Word of God which I’d been studying and out of line with some of the things I’d learned from my peers in boarding school.
On one particular day, during that period, as my friend and I were returning from music school, he took my phone, transferred an audio file into it, and asked me to listen to it.
I looked at the duration of the audio and the first digit I saw was 2, so I assumed that it was just two minutes long. Glad that it was short, I began listening to it immediately I alighted from the vehicle and was alone.
What felt like several minutes passed, yet it didn’t seem as though the audio was about to end. So I checked the duration again to be sure I had seen it correctly. That was when I realized that what I had read as two minutes was actually two hours and some minutes.
Normally, I would have immediately stopped listening to it and proceeded to do other things, because two hours was a lot of time, right? But something kept me listening; something I couldn’t explain.
The preacher, Apostle Joshua Selman was dishing out so much wisdom, and to be honest, It was far from boring.
The next time I saw my friend, I asked him for more messages by the same preacher. I kept getting more and more messages from him and the more I listened to those messages, the more my thinking pattern changed for the better.
God was working on me.
Fast forward to 2020 when I had already gained admission into the university. I was living in the school’s campus and I joined a campus fellowship. That was my first time seeing so many young people with a very strong passion and fire for God.
The more I surrounded myself with these people, the more motivated I was to chase after God.
I will never forget this particular day when we went as a group to the field to pray. We held hands, formed a circle, and prayed together. I’d thought that we’d be there for thirty minutes or one hour, but these guys stood there for over two hours praying in the Spirit without taking a break.
The amazing thing was that I joined them throughout. I mean, everyone was doing it, so I definitely could. After the prayers and a series of other prayer meetings, I began to see myself growing spiritually.
But I wasn’t satisfied with praying only during corporate meetings which were once in a while. I wanted to feel that peace and joy of growth every single day. I wanted to be able to pray for a reasonable amount of time every day. Alone with God, not with a group of people.
Guys, God turned that desire into a reality. And that is my aim of writing this post. To help you who is in that season of your life where you aren’t just satisfied with praying once in a while.
If you want to learn how to make prayer a part of your daily routine and improve your prayer life, please pay attention to the things I’m about to say. I’m sure that they’ll bless you.
5 Keys to Developing A Consistent Prayer Life
1. Ask God for help
When I decided to build up my prayer life, my first prayer request was for God to grant me the grace to pray. The truth is that if God does not help you, no matter how much you try to pray consistently, you will fail.
Jesus says that without Him, we can do nothing. Zechariah 12 talks about the Sprit of supplication. When this Spirit is at work in your life, praying consistently will become a lot easier.
Please debunk the idea that you need to summon up a lot of strength and endurance in other to achieve this. Look what the Bible says;
For by strength shall no man prevail. 1 Samuel 2:9b
It does not therefore depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. Romans 9:6
Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. Psalm 127:1-2
Without God’s grace, all your physical strength and resolve will profit you nothing. The Grace of God is what makes a man do with ease, the things that are considered humanly difficult or impossible.
2. Understand the importance/necessity of prayer
Understanding the importance of a thing fuels your appetite for that thing. Imagine me giving a toddler a one thousand naira note. He’ll probably throw it away and reach for the colourful toy beside him.
But if I take that same one thousand naira note and offer it to an eighteen-year-old girl on the condition that she does the dishes, she most likely wouldn’t mind inconveniencing herself by doing the dishes.
She’ll receive the money with gratitude and proceed to purchase something she’s been desiring to have. This is because she understands the value of the money whereas the toddler doesn’t.
Why is prayer so important? How will it benefit you in the long run? What good will it add to you? Knowing these things will motivate you to pray. To understand the importance of prayer, check out 10 reasons why we must pray every day.
3. Set aside a specific time of the day
Let’s face it. When you’re starting out, prayer might not be one of your favourite activities. So, here’s what will happen when you don’t intentionally set aside a time for prayer.
You’ll wake up in the morning and say “Oh, what a beautiful morning. I’m definitely going to pray today.” You get off your bed and begin to indulge in your normal daily activities. One hour passes. Two hours. Three.
Then maybe you remember that you’re supposed to pray. You check the time and it’s not even noon.
“Good.” You say. “There’s still much time. I’ll definitely pray before the day ends.”
You do all the fun things you’re used to doing. You watch TV, chat with friends on social media, eat, and read, forgetting that you’re supposed to pray. Then maybe you later remember that you planned to pray today. You check the time and it’s 4 pm.
“Wow,” You say. “It’s already evening.”
But you just don’t feel like praying at that moment. You prefer to watch that movie or read that book or take that stroll. So you say again,
“I’ll pray when I’m done doing this.”
We both know that you’ll continue with your normal activities until night comes when you’re exhausted and your eyes are heavy. Then you’ll say,
“I don’t feel up to this task today. I’ll be more intentional about praying tomorrow.”
The cycle continues the next day.
But when you set aside a specific time and say to yourself, “When my alarm rings, I must stop whatever it is I’m doing and go, talk to God”, it may be hard for the first few days, but if you ask God for help and get strict with yourself, you’ll soon come to realize that you’ve been consistent for a week, two weeks, or even a month.
But l must add that picking odd hours when you’re just starting out might not be the best decision for you. When I first started, I set my prayer time for 12 midnight. When my alarm would ring, the sleep would be just too strong to resist. So I’d say,
“Since today is my first day of starting, I can just postpone it to tomorrow, and tomorrow would then be my first day.”
The next night, I did the same thing. The third night too. I’m pretty sure this would have continued if I didn’t reschedule to 12 noon.
Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t pray at night. In fact, night prayers carry tremendous power. But if you’re just beginning the consistency journey, then it’s more advisable to start with something easy.
In my opinion, the best time you could fix is in the morning. First thing after you wake up. You may be wondering why I set my time for 12 noon while I’m advising you to set your time for early in the morning.
I set my time for 12 noon because at that period, I was at home with my family, and family devotions had already taken the first part of my morning. But now that I’m away from home, I give God the first part of my day.
4. Set the atmosphere
I’ve observed that whenever I pray, listening to spiritual music with my earpiece plugged in and my eyes closed, I tend to connect with God more easily, there are fewer distractions, and I enjoy the prayers more than when I don’t do any of these.
The more you enjoy your prayers, the easier it’ll be to come back to pray the next day, So this is one simple key to building consistency.
5. Surround yourself with people who are given to prayers
I mentioned that I joined a fellowship in school where there were a lot of young people on fire for God who were serious about their prayer lives. This was one of the factors that motivated me to press deeper into God.
The importance of the kind of people you surround yourself with can’t be overemphasized. Are you friends with people that love to while away time having fun and doing frivolous things? Are you friends with people who are not interested in God?
You are likely to become like the company you keep. Good friends are quite hard to find as opposed to bad friends, but It is better to have just one friend who is serious about pressing into the things of God than to have ten friends who are not interested in God.
When You Skip a Day
Although this should be avoided as much as you can, you may find yourself in a place or situation where you unavoidably skip a day of prayer. When such a thing happens, don’t give up or feel like you’re back to square one. Just make sure you cover up for it on the following day.
Let me explain what I mean. Let’s say you usually pray for 30 minutes daily and for some reason, you were unable to pray yesterday. To cover up for the time you miss, you’ll need to pray for one hour the following day.
Or you could share the missed thirty minutes between the next two days. In that case, you’ll be praying for 45 minutes for the next two days. I learned this from Dr. Pastor Paul Enenche, and it has helped me to build discipline and not to be lackadaisical.
The Thirty-Day Challenge
When I started getting more serious about building up my prayer life, I needed something to wet my appetite for prayer, so I came across the book; The Hidden Power of Speaking in Tongues by Maheesh Chavda and it was a huge blessing to me.
Something he said in that book gave me the final push I needed. He challenged us to pray in tongues for thirty minutes daily for thirty days and watch what happens to our spiritual lives.
I keyed into what he said, and after thirty days, my spiritual life had undergone such a quantum leap that I find so hard to describe with words. I noticed a huge difference in myself.
There was no longer the issue of me being hot today and cold tomorrow. I didn’t stop praying in tongues daily after the thirty days elapsed. I continued because I wanted more growth.
By God’s grace, I’ve been praying in tongues daily till date and it has been instrumental in my spiritual growth.
He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself. 1 Corinthians 14:4a (kjv)
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Jude 1:20 (kjv)
I encourage you to get the book: The Hidden Power of Speaking in Tongues by Maheesh Chavda. Take part in the thirty-day praying in tongues challenge and watch God transform your spiritual life for the better.
So here they are. 5 simple keys to building a consistent prayer life. I am confident that if you diligently follow these steps, you’ll definitely see a drastic improvement in your prayer life.
I pray for you, that God will fill you with the Spirit of prayer. The grace to discipline yourself in this regard is yours, in the Nam of Jesus.