At one point in my life, I used to envy how ‘spiritual’ other people looked in church. By spiritual I mean how passionate their prayers seemed, the speaking in tongues, the salty tears streaming down their faces. I too longed to be like that. I wanted to be in a certain state too during praise and worship/prayer, for fear of thinking that I just wasn’t praying in the ‘right’ way.
And then…with time, I grew a little wiser, and with this newfound wisdom came some very valuable insight.
Here are 3 Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship With God…
1. Be Sincere –
I learned that I needed to check myself. What was my real reason for desiring this? Was it for God or for man?
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.” (Matthew 6:5)
With this, I realized that I only have one member in the audience, God. I realized that what I really longed for was a genuine close relationship with God. What I wanted was to delight in His presence, being drawn to my knees and feeling Him so close that it evoked tears within me at the thought of His everlasting goodness and mercy.
I learned that it was more than just ‘looking’ spiritual, but actually being and having that live connection with Him.
2. Run your own race –
We are all unique and have a purpose that is specific to each one of us. With that, we all have different paths and should never compare our path to that of our neighbors’. This applies to all areas in our life, be it career-wise, relationship, or in this case spiritual growth.
Only God knows the true heart of man, our intentions, and whether or not we are genuine in our prayers, praise, and worship, so I learned that all that I really needed to focus on was being sincere when I came before the Lord. Whether that meant I was crying and jumping up and down or standing absolutely still, all I needed was to be sincere in my prayers and run my own race without comparing my spiritual life to others.
3. Put in the work! –
Like any relationship, my relationship with God needed special attention! I learned that I had to be intentional about spending time with Him and getting to know Him through His Word.
“Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually.” (1 Chronicles 16:11)
The word ‘continually’ emphasizes that seeking Him is not just a once-off thing, but an every-day thing. Sunday shouldn’t be the only day that you pick up your Bible. Church shouldn’t be the only place you hear hymns or worship songs. God is literally everywhere we go, sometimes we just choose to ignore that and go on with our daily lives as if He isn’t.
It’s crazy how I’d have time to text all day or checking social media 24/7 but couldn’t spare a few moments of my time just to pick up His book and get to know Him a little more.
When you don’t water a plant it withers, when you take the time to water it…it thrives. I chose to let my spiritual life and relationship with God thrive and it has been growing in faith since.
Relationships are so critically important to each and every person. Why? Because you were created to be in relationship. In fact, the Godhead has been in relationship for all of eternity. The Father, The Son and The Spirit have lived in perfect unity for all of eternity. It is the desire of God, that our relationship to Him and relationship to each other model this as a testimony to who He truly is.
Unfortunately, so many relationships get off course, misguided and downright messed up because they are not focused in on the purpose of the relationship in the first place… to honor God and to reflect God. When we live for ourselves, relationships can go awry. When we live for someone else, other than God, relationships can sour quickly. Inherent in every relationship is the opportunity to reflect the glory of God and thus honor him. Prayer for Relationship to live this way.
Today, focus on the relationships within your life that are of great importance, that have great significance… the relationships with other believers. Often time, we can take this for granted or ignore these relationships. Often time, we can relegate these relationships to nothing more than acquaintances that we see once a week. Be encouraged! Be strengthened! Fight for the growth and strengthening of these relationships. Pray that you begin to live life on life with those around you that know Christ.
Scripture says in Hebrews 10:24-25… And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works,not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near.
When is the last time you encouraged another bother or sister in Christ? When is the last time you were encouraged by a brother or sister in Christ? What about being spurred on or spurring another person on in their faith? These relationship matter! These relationships matter to you, they matter to them, they matter to the church and they matter to God Himself.
Do not neglect these relationships, but pray for them.
Pray for Your Brother / Sister in Christ:
Oh holy God in Heaven, I want to lift up the life of (name of friend) and our relationship before you today. I want to ask that our relationship be strengthened and be one of constant encouragement. I ask that our friendship, be one that reflects your desires and is consistent with your mission. You have brought us together for more than we could have ever imagined and I want to make sure that in my being faithful to you, that they know You more clearly and desire to follow You more closely.
I also ask Lord, that because of them in my life, that I would know You more intimately and follow You more closely as well. May our relationship also encourage other believers to have similar relationships. Ultimately Lord, I want you to be glorified by the relationships in my life. In every relationship, I pray that You would be honored, Your glory reflected and Your majesty displayed. In Christ’s name I pray, AMEN.
Prayer for relationship Strengthening, Restoration and Guidance. Our relationships with friends, family, coworkers, and colleagues shape our lives. We demonstrate our love for people with communication, time spent together, patience, and compassion.
When we move to a new town, start a new job, or attend a new school, we can feel lonely and disconnected, we feel like we lost something very important. Simply put, we all want to belong.
According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, after human’s basic needs (physiological and safety) are met, humans need to feel secure in intimate relationships and friendships (MacLeod, 2016). That’s why we need prayer for relationship strengthening, restoration, an guidance.
That’s because God designed us to live and work in community. Have you stopped to think about the Greatest Commandment? (Matthew 22:34-40) It boils down to “Love God and love others as yourself”.
Praying about our needs
Prayer is communication with God. We can talk with Him at any time – all we have to do is speak His name! 1 John 5:14 – “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us”.
This also means that we can talk to Him when we feel lonely, a need for connection! God hears and answers prayer for relationship strengthening, restoration and guidance.
Putting it into Practice Prayer for Relationship Strengthening, Restoration, and Guidance
How can be put prayer for relationship strengthening, restoration and guidance into practice? (I mean, how often are we told, “Just pray about it” but not given some kind of guidance?) I suggest following these steps:
- Begin with Praise.
- Ask God to bring people into your path.
- Ask God to protect you from people who aren’t in His will for Your life.
- Thank Him.
1. Begin with Praise
When you pray, begin by thanking God for what He has given you or done for you. Not sure where to start? I find myself saying:
God, I praise You and thank-you because You have given me hope and a future. You love me enough to extend the gift of underserved grace through Your Son, Jesus.
Doing this puts our hearts in line with His. If you’re not sure where to start, meditate on Psalm 145.
2. Ask God to bring people into your path
Like I said, before, prayer is our opportunity to communicate with God. I love that I can be honest with Him:
Lord, I am feeling lonely. I need some friends to connect with! Please restore my lost relationships with my friends. Please bring people who can be solid friends into my life.
This is the time when prayer for relationship really comes into play. What characteristics are you looking for in a friend?
3. Ask God to protect you from people who aren’t in His will for Your life
A friend in college told me about prayer and, at first, I thought it was odd. But I believe it fits here as we’re talking about prayer for relationship. My friend shared with me that when she started praying this, she saw man she was interested in dating get redirected to different classes, jobs, or even schools.
I’ve said this prayer many times and people (even other Christians) have moved on from my life. It’s hard to understand why things happen, but this prayer has given me peace that God has an active and loving hand in my life.
Lord, You are a God of love and You protect Your children. Give me wisdom regarding the people I come in contact with. Lord, give me guidance and please protect me from people who are not in Your will for my life.
4. Thank Him
When I think about God’s character, I am reminded that God is always motivated by love.
God, thank You that You listen whenever we call Your name. Thank You for what You provided me with today . You are a loving Father and I am grateful! Amen!
I know that He will answer prayers in His time and He will meet all my needs. I love to meditate on this verse when I need a reminder: “Do not be about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6 )
What are the fruits of the prayer?
The Lord is faithful and He is always looking out for our best interest. God will bring people into your life to meet your relationship needs. When that happens, remember to thank Him for His demonstration of love.
Also read: PRAYER OF FAITH – Faithful Examples in the Bible
Editor’s Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Peter Lundell’s new book, Prayer Power: 30 Days to a Stronger Connection with God, (Revell, 2009).
When you pray, do you sense God listening to you, or do your prayers seem to just float off into the air unheard? Do you hear what God has to say, or do you struggle to discern any message from Him? Do you pray frequently because you love to do so? Or do you often neglect to pray because you’re discouraged or worried that you’re somehow not praying correctly?
If your prayers seem ineffective, you can strengthen them to experience more of God’s power when you pray. Here’s how you can build a stronger prayer connection to God:
Develop a hunger for God. Ask God to help you want Him more than anything or anyone else in your life. When you’re hungry for more of God, you’ll naturally be motivated to meet with Him in prayer.
Seek intimacy with God. Be willing to make drawing closer to God your top priority. Make whatever changes you need to make in your life to allow yourself to spend significant time with God daily in prayer, and regularly confess and repent of sin that blocks your intimacy with God. Deliberately build the rest of your life around your relationship with God.
Pursue God with passion. Overcome complacency and distractions that can cause you to cut back on how much you pray. Simplify your life as much as possible so you won’t be too exhausted to invest lots of time and energy into prayer. Whenever you encounter challenges, view them as opportunities to pray and discover more about God’s plans for you. Ask God to give you a passion for the people and situations that burn in His heart, so you can pray with passion for what matters most to God.
Start a dead engine. Sometimes you may not feel like praying but know that you need to pray anyway. If you crank your prayers to life like you would a stalled engine on a car, your prayers will then begin to flow more naturally. Recognize problems as opportunities to tap into what God can do in your life; pray about whatever problems you encounter, no matter how frustrated or discouraged you are. Use written prayers (like the Lord’s Prayer) to start praying when you don’t have an idea of how pray about something on your own. Play praise and worship music – especially a song that proclaims what you’d like to pray about aren’t sure how to pray yet. Use a prayer notebook or a list of prayer topics to give your prayers clear substance, focus, and direction.
Get a faith lift. When you’re discouraged by challenges you’re facing, don’t give up praying. When you don’t understand what’s going on, keep trusting God. Ask God to give you more faith to help you hold on through the challenges.
Clean house. Lingering sins in your life can block the answers to prayer that God wants to give you – and also lead to spiritual lethargy, emotional turmoil, and physical illness. Clean out your soul by regularly confessing and repenting of whatever sins you know about, and ask God to reveal the ones you don’t so you can deal with them, too. Let go of grudges and forgive other people regularly. Ask God to keep your relationships with Him and others right.
Invite God to strengthen your character. Struggling through hardship gives you a valuable chance to grow in your character if you’re determined to trust God in the process. Pray for God to use your struggles to change you more into the person He wants you to become – someone who is more like Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to heal, correct, and transform you from the inside out.
Praise God. Decide to praise God for who He is even when you’re dealing with discouragement or trouble. Let your praise rise from your faith rather than just your feelings. Choose to praise Him every day, no matter what, since He is above your challenges. When you praise God, He will respond to your praise and actually become to you what you praise Him for – from your healer, to your provider.
Let the Holy Spirit lead you. Open your mind and heart to the Holy Spirit when you pray and yield your own prayers to the Spirit’s prompting. Let the Spirit guide your prayers, empower you, and connect directly to your spirit as you’re praying.
Practice God’s presence. Develop a continual sense that God is with you at all times throughout each day – even as you go about the most mundane activities, like cleaning your house or commuting to work. Pray while you do various tasks, offering your efforts to God’s glory and thanking Him for His presence with you. Say short prayers that you can say in a single breath to focus on a particular need you may during the day. If you’re too busy to notice God’s work around you every day, cut whatever activities you can out of your schedule and slow down. Think of God as you move from one part of your day to another, and use even brief times between activities (such as while waiting in line to pick up your kids up from school) to pray.
Listen to God. Quiet your mind and heart before God to listen to Him. Ask God to help you be willing, patient, and perceptive, and to learn how to discern His voice speaking to you above your own thoughts or thoughts from other people or the evil side of the spiritual realm. Trust that God will respond and speak to you. Whether you hear an audible voice inside your mind, receive a mental impression, or sense God speaking in some other way, listen carefully.
Pray out loud. Verbalize the prayers you have inside your mind. Lift your voice to God either quietly or loudly, remembering that He loves to hear you speak.
Be specific. Clearly identify what you’re seeking when you pray. Don’t be vague; tell God exactly what you hope to receive. Then place your desire in God’s hands and trust Him to do what’s best. Expect Him to respond with a specific answer.
Pray God’s Word. Find and apply Bible verses to whatever situation about which you’re praying. That way, you’ll be praying not merely by your own desires, but according to God’s promises. You can pray Scripture either by reading it verbatim and affirming what it says, personalize it as if it were written directly to you, or paraphrase what it says in the context of what you’re praying about. Then trust that God will do in your life what He promises in His Word.
Fast. Take your spiritual prayers into the physical realm to show God that you’re serious about being humble and broken before Him as you pray. Offer your body to God as a living expression of your prayers.
Pray at a special place. Establish a particular place to go to regularly for prayer and focus on God whenever you’re there. Try to find a quiet place where you can be alone: a nearby church sanctuary, a corner of your backyard, a room or part of a room in your home, etc. When you travel, designate part of your hotel room as your prayer place. Dedicate your special place as sacred to your time with God.
Pray at a certain time. Schedule a regular time to pray – first thing in the morning (which is ideal, if possible), during lunch, or even before going to bed at night. Establish a minimum length of time to pray daily, as well, to keep other demands from intruding. Guard that time when you plan other activities, and intentionally neglect your to-do list while you’re praying so you can get the full time with God.
Speak body language. Express your prayers in physical ways, from lifting your hands and eyes upward, to bowing down in reverence before God.
Use prayer guides. Compile a custom-made prayer guide to help give structure and consistency to your prayers. While some days you’ll want to pray spontaneously, other days you can use a prayer guide that lists various people and situations to pray about, plus reminds you of how God has answered past prayers.
Minimize distractions. Do your best to focus your attention completely on God when you’re praying. If your mind wanders, ask God to help you focus. Write down thoughts that persistently pop up in your mind, so you can deal with them later. Pray for people whose names come into your mind. If any sinful thoughts (like those based in worry or lust) distract you, confess them as part of your prayer time.
Deal with unanswered prayer. When God hasn’t answered one of your prayers and you’re struggling, consider whether or not something may be blocking His answer. Do you have enough faith to believe He will really answer? Have you confessed sin in your life? Have you forgiven everyone you need to forgive? Do you have inner wounds on your psyche that need to be revealed and broken down before their effects can be overcome? Are you harboring self-pity in your heart? Does your whole lifestyle agree with your prayers? (If you’re praying to be healed of an illness, have you stopped smoking or overeating? If you’re praying for financial provision, are you avoiding debt and giving generously?). Are you asking for a blessing in order to hoard it, or to share it? Has Satan been infiltrating your life? Are there any strongholds of ungodly thoughts or behaviors in your life? Consider, too, that God may still be planning to answer your prayer but is just waiting for the right time. He may also be punishing you for something, trying to teach you something, testing your faith, or letting a natural order of events take place. Ask God to help you understand why He hasn’t answered your prayers. Even when you don’t know why, commit yourself into His hands and trust Him to eventually do what’s best, letting your unanswered prayers lead you see Him more.
Wrestle with God. When you’re facing a difficult situation about which God hasn’t yet answered your prayers, grapple with God over your desire versus God’s will. Have the faith and tenacity to say to God: “I won’t let you go until you bless me.” In the process, God will change your desires so that they line up with His desires for you.
Be both a sprinter and a marathoner. Running the race of faith sometimes calls for sprinting (being quick to pray when opportunities arise) and sometimes for enduring a marathon (continuing to pray for people and situations when God is taking a long time to answer).
Keep asking God, boldly and persistently. Don’t worry about trying to be polite with God. He actually invites you to bug Him – forcefully and often – for what you need. Rather than assuming that your request must not be God’s will if you pray and don’t see anything happen, keep on knocking loudly on heaven’s door until an answer comes.
Engage in spiritual warfare. While the battle against evil is ultimately God’s to fight, He wants you to participate by exercising your authority against the evil you face. Pray God to protect you and give you the power you need to confront and overcome evil.
Agree in prayer. When you pray with at least one other person and God leads you how to pray together, your prayers will have more power than if you were praying on your own. Agree with God, making your requests in harmony with His will. Agree with the person or people with whom you’re praying, placing your expectations all at the same place when you pray and believing that God will answer.
Serve those for whom you pray. Ask God to show you specific ways in which you can serve the people for whom you pray. Then you all will experience the power of God’s love at work. Also, the more you serve those you pray for, the more you’ll be motivated to pray for those you serve.
Write it down. Write down answers to prayer you receive, mental impressions from the Holy Spirit, prophecies, and anything else that might help you to pray more effectively. Consider using a prayer journal.
Start a prayer group. Gather some friends to pray together regularly or hold prayer vigils for specific issues.
Expand your horizons. You can change and grow into person who prays more effectively if you expose yourself to the whole spectrum of Christianity. Visit churches of other denominations and learn how people there pray. Then try out new prayer styles yourself so you can experience all that God has for you.
Adapted from Prayer Power: 30 Days to a Stronger Connection with God, copyright 2009 by Peter Lundell. Published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.revellbooks.com.
Peter Lundell, a former missionary to Japan, is a pastor at Walnut Blessing Church in Walnut, Ca. He has an M Div and D Miss from Fuller Theological Seminary and teaches widely on revival and spiritual warfare. Lundell is the author of two books, and his articles have appeared in numerous magazines.