The old adage insists, “practice makes perfect”.
Perfection may be a little out of league, but proactive certainly makes proficient. It also opens up a freedom that nothing else can.
I’m a strong advocate of passion in prayer. I believe that the wings that carry prayers to the nostrils of the father are like the flames of incense on the altar. Fire causes our requests to rise. But fervency alone is not sufficient to enjoy the depths of all the Father has provided.
A pianist or a violinist has to traverse the painful scales and bypass a very choppy rendition of chopsticks before they soar on to sonatas and symphonies. The hard hours of practice break the back of resistance and ignorance and free the musician to relish the unlocked music of their heart.
Why would anyone think that the secret depths and songs of the spirit would be any different? Access has been freely given but so few sit down to play long enough too get past the equivalent of kindergarten chopsticks.
At times it is tempting to so spiritualise spiritual activities that we falsely convince ourselves that there is some mystery to their attainment. There is no mystery, dear friend, the discovery is in the doing.
Do prayer, and you will discover the secrets of praying well.
Don’t do prayer and your life song will remain unplayed.
So how do we practice?
The same way one would practice most skills.
1. Learn from others
I spent many hours reading and listening to others pray. I even went so far as to record fire-infused prayer meetings and preferred to listen to those playback than even the sermons. Hearing the untamed and unedited language of the heart pouring from my leaders left lasting impressions on my own spiritual expressions.
It is said that prayer is often more caught than taught, and I would agree. And if you don’t presently have someone to infect your passionate pursuit of God, lean hard into the Master Himself. No place is more alive than the secret place.
Repetition is the mother of skill. All those hours at the keys, or honing your business acumen, did not happen by accident. Whatever your expertise in the natural the same disciplines apply in the spiritual.
For me, set time set place has been a master key to mastery. No excuses, no shirking, just working your spiritual muscles until the lifting becomes a breeze.
I find it amusing how people so readily apply themselves to natural things, sacrificing whatever is necessary to accomplish their goals, but when it comes to spiritual disciplines they sit around waiting for a lightning bolt to move them to action.
Don’t wait for the lightning, set your alarm, shut you door and pray. Set. Shut. Pray. Repeat.
3. Never Give Up and Keep It Spicy
A big killer of powerful, satisfying prayer, is boredom. We stumble through the same vain circles so many times that our soul loses interest and our enthusiasm wanes. This is why you must engage yourself emotionally in your praying. I won’t push this on anyone, but one simple key to keep prayer spicy and live is to turn up the volume. Get your diaphragm involved! Find somewhere you can lift your voice in ways that are socially unacceptable and let her rip!
Aggressive prayer of this kind blows the pipes clean and gets the gusher running like little else can.
Don’t believe me, go give a try. Shout out your requests. Whoop and holler your praises. Make yourself nervous with how excited you sound. If nothing else, you’ll make yourself laugh at how noisy and childlike you are acting.
And believe it or not, noisy and childlike is a great place to pray from!