Five Tips for Improving Your Prayer Life in the New Year
By Kayla Faherty
New Year is a time of change, a time to focus on becoming the best version of yourself. Out with the old and in with the new! With all the talk about creating and maintaining New Year’s resolutions, let’s try one with eternal value: improving your prayer life. Taking small steps to include prayer time into your daily routine can help you draw closer to God. Being more mindful of your spiritual wellness and the importance of prayer can be the positive change you are looking for in the New Year. Saint Paul encourages us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 to “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” Here are five tips to help you answer the Holy Spirit’s call to a deeper relationship with the Lord.
1. Put Prayer on your Schedule
Make prayer a priority in your daily life. Set aside a specific time each day to pray. Whether it is first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, right before bed, or anytime in between, find a quiet time to devote to prayer. Make it work for you. Whatever your schedule looks like, start by setting aside just five minutes. So, what time are you going to pray today?
2. Go to a Special Place
After you have set aside a specific time to spend in prayer, set aside a specific place. It could be a small table and chair in your bedroom, at the kitchen table, your favorite chair in the living room, or even in your car. Wherever it is, devote that space to prayer. Remove distractions. Place the items you will use during your prayer time in that special place. Your Bible, rosary, prayer book, devotional book, prayer cards, journal, prayer box, crucifix, statue, and candle are all ideas.
3. Make a Plan
You learn to fish by fishing, you learn to bake by baking, and you learn to pray by praying. As you commit to a deeper relationship with the Lord, it is good to have a plan. Discover what works best for you. Reading the daily Scripture is a good place to start. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Find a good devotional or prayer book, pray the rosary, or use a prayer journal. Enter your prayer time ready.
4. Discipline Yourself
As with any addition to our lifestyles, having self discipline is key to following through. If your prayer time is 7 in the morning, set your alarm and get out of bed to make it happen. If you get sick or accidentally sleep in, set aside the next available time and pray. Make God your highest priority. Prayer is simply our relationship with God. Discover how much Jesus loves you. He invites us to spend time with Him, and sometimes all that is required is that we show up. So show up.
5. One Step at a Time
Start with just five minutes. As you are led by the Holy Spirit, increase the time you spend in prayer. Let prayer change you. Ask for grace. Place God at the center of your life and watch Him work in you. Walk with Him each step of your journey. Prayer is our response to our Father, the lifeblood of the relationship. Turn your heart to God. He calls us to draw closer, one step at a time.
It has been almost a year since I began my daily prayer routine, and it has been a year of tremendous spiritual growth for me personally. I invite you to answer the Holy Spirit’s call to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. You will find unconditional love, grace, mercy, and healing. May God bless you in the New Year!