When I first ask Christ to be Lord of my life, I did so with a child-like faith. Making a public profession of faith at age 8 lends itself to that kind of belief.

I had spent 8 years and 9 months of my life in church, hearing the Gospel. Despite having never read the Bible for myself, something within me knew I had a need which could only be filled by the Savior I’d heard stories about.

These days, I fancy myself more of an intellectual Christian. I’ve read the Bible through several times and seek out studies and commentaries to help put the verses into perspective.

While I don’t lack for knowledge, sometimes wisdom can be elusive. I don’t understand prayer, therefore, my communication with my Abba often doesn’t go beyond a few trite sentences.

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I read the verses of instruction on prayer, so I do it more out of obligation than a rich, familial connection Jesus demonstrated when praying to the Father. I know I ought to be different, I just don’t know how.

My friend Marla uses the Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals as a guide for her family’s corporate prayer. She often posts snippets from the book on her Facebook wall, which lead me to buy a copy for myself.

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I’m not sure if the experience is different reading through it alone, or if it’s too structured for this Southern Baptist born-and-raised perspective. Whatever the case, the book just isn’t for me. {If you are local and interested – I’d be more than happy to gift you my copy!}

Fervent by Priscilla Shirer, written in conjunction with her appearance in the movie War Room, is a strategic how-to book. While I read and prayed through the book, I felt strong and confident. As soon as I returned it to the library I returned to my aimless prayer.

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Just this past week, I decided to resurrect an old prayer journal. While the notebook itself is full, I love the concept of praying for a different area of my life each day. I wrote the categories (and corresponding colors for kicks and giggles) on the front cover and am 3 days strong writing out these specific prayers.

Much like it did while reading Fervent, I believe writing out my prayers helps me focus and consider the thoughts in my head. While some may find this technique stiff and formal, I find it to be more like writing a diary entry of my heart, rather than a research paper for a demanding teacher.

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I’ve done an informal poll of people I know and each has their own method of prayer. While some answers were similar – many start with the ACTS model as their base – each person’s prayer style remains as unique as they are, whether it be fluid and flexible, conversational,  or disciplined.

The Bible addresses wrong motives for prayer, and Jesus gave us the model prayer, but I think style is up to the individual. Keeping the communication lines open with Abba is key.

How would you describe your prayer style? Do you need structure? Or do you prefer a more flowing, as-it-comes kind of approach. Feel free to share in the comments, or contact me if you are interested in a guest blog focusing on your strategy of choice.

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