When you’re bored with prayer
I find it hard to do the everyday prayers that are more or less the same.
I’ve made up prayer journals, but it’s a list and I find lists boring.
I could have written these words myself, but I didn’t. They came from a friend who had some questions about prayer. Mainly, how do you energize your prayer life when it just feels like something you’re supposed to mark off your to-do list?
I mulled over her question for days. (In fact, I still am mulling!) If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that prayer is not a formula. What works for me to make my prayer life feel energized and effective might feel like drudgery for others. What your pastor does to talk with God may work for exactly half of the congregation but not for you.
In fact, there are even seasons of my life where my prayer needs (and thus my prayer habits) seem to change. For a while, I was excited and energized about praying through lists. The more lists, the better.
I had a literal encyclopedia of all the nations of the world with prayer points for each. (The book is called Operation World, and I highly recommend it to those who want to become true global intercessors.)
Bored with Prayer
But after months and months of prayer times that hardly varied from one day to another, I felt dry. Used up. In a word …
I know that’s a big deal to admit. I’ve written half a dozen prayer guides. I blog about prayer. I host a weekly podcast about prayer.
I’m not supposed to feel bored when I talk to God.
But sometimes I do.
And even though I wish I could offer you a full-proof, step-by-step formula guaranteed to spice up and rejuvenate an otherwise lagging prayer life … I can’t.
It just doesn’t work that way.
6 Things to Do When You’re Bored with Prayer
These suggestions that follow are just that. Suggestions. Some might help you. Some might not. And what is completely unhelpful for you today may end up being exactly what you need to hear a year from now.
1. Remember Prayer is a Privilege
Imagine falling in love. Do you think a couple in the early stages of passion and romance look at an upcoming date with their loved one and feel drudgery, dread, or just that heavy sense of I wish I didn’t have to do this? Maybe the problem isn’t your prayer life per se. Maybe you just need to go back to square one: Jesus loves you. And he’s invited you into a relationship with him.
2. Check Your Priorities
Is it possible that something is keeping you from your first love with your Creator? Have other pursuits claimed Christ’s spot as first in your heart?
3. Pray with Others
Not everyone likes to pray in groups, but sometimes this can be a great way to throw some energy behind otherwise bored prayers. Call a friend, recruit a prayer partner, or show up to your church’s prayer times. The Christian walk was never meant to be carried out solo!
4. Use Scripture to Springboard Your Prayers
I just heard a story about how giant of the faith George Mueller felt his prayer life was very mediocre (i.e. boring) until he started to meditate on Scripture before he jumped into prayer. Perhaps your prayers are dull because you’ve been spending all your time talking and not enough time listening.
5. Check Your Faith
Let’s get real for a minute.
Are you fully convinced that your prayers — not George Mueller’s, not your pastors, but yours — can change the world?
If you’re not praying with faith, if you’re just praying because you feel it’s your Christian duty, it’s going to get dry and boring no matter how many other tricks of the trade you try to employ.
Remember that prayer encyclopedia I told you about? When my prayers got too rote, I started to ask myself each day, What if one person in this country will be saved just because I prayed?
It’s hard to overestimate how much impact that simple question had on my prayer life.
If my prayers weren’t going to do anything to save anybody, then why should I bother? But if my prayers could actually open the doors of Heaven to people who otherwise wouldn’t be saved, it’s selfish of me to not pray.
6. Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
Prayer is a journey.
Some seasons of your life will look different than others. If you’re going through a spiritual dry spell, it’s possible that there’s no real reason for it other than that God wants to mature you.
It’s easy to pray when you feel inspired. It takes perseverance to keep on praying even when you don’t feel like it.
Prayer takes practice and discipline and an awful lot of mental energy. There’s nothing easy about living a life of devoted prayer. So don’t give up, and remember that prayer is something we’re called to do whether we feel like it or not. It’s a privilege and an honor to be able to communicate with the King of the Universe, who invites us into fellowship with Him.
About the Author
Alana Terry is a pastor’s wife, self-diagnosed chicken lady, and Christian suspense author. She and her family live in rural Alaska where the northern lights in the winter and midnight sun in the summer make hauling water, surviving the annual mosquito apocalypse, and cleaning goat stalls in negative forty degrees worth every second.
Alana is also the co-founder of the Praying Christian Women Podcast with Candid Gal, Jaime Hampton. Praying Christian Women is a ministry committed to encouraging believers to draw closer to God and change the world, one prayer at a time. Find out more by visiting PrayingChristianWomen.com.