Four Practical Ways to Cultivate a Praying Life

I invite you to keep coming back to God.

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The roadsides are blanketed with wildflowers, and we often spend evenings playing tee-ball in the backyard now.  It’s not officially summer yet, but it feels like summer has already settled upon us.  As our rhythms change, I long to cultivate a praying life – especially in this busy summer season.

I’m praying about the upcoming months when a thought floats through my mind: God doesn’t want to be an add-on to my busy summer; he wants to do life with me.

It’s easy to keep God in a separate place from the rest of our lives. We make sure we take time to meet with him at certain times of the day, but we forget about him the moment we walk out the door.  Ask me how I know.


How to Cultivate a Praying Life

I’ve been thinking about how to cultivate a praying life lately, and a phrase keeps running through my mind: Don’t leave God in the prayer closet.

God wants us to meet with him in quiet places.  But he also wants us to keep our minds, hearts, and eyes fixed on him when we return to the rest of our lives.

He wants us to go ahead and plan our vacations, landscaping projects, and weekend getaways.  But he wants us to remember he is right beside us all the while.

God wants you to encounter him as you hold your child’s hand along sandy shores.

He wants you to experience him as you paint the picnic table and mulch the flowerbeds.

He wants you to come to know him more as your newborn screams from the backseat the whole way to the vacation house.

A praying life is more than a life of disciplined time set aside for seeking God’s face.  You live a praying life when you simply keep your eyes open and watch for God as you go about your days.

Let’s look at four specific ways to cultivate a praying life:


1. Cultivate a Praying Life by Aiming to Live on Two Levels

God is calling us to live on two levels.

Thomas Kelly describes these levels: “On one level we may be thinking, discussing, seeing, calculating, meeting all the demands of external affairs.  But deep within, behind the scenes, at a profound level, we may also be in prayer and adoration, song and worship, and a gentle receptiveness to divine breathings.  The secular world of today values and cultivates only the first level believing this is where the real business of mankind is done . . . But we know that the deep level of prayer is the most important thing in the world.  It is at this deep level that the real business of life is determined.”

If we want to cultivate praying lives, we will learn to live life on two levels.


2. Learn to be Present to Your Moments

May is my favorite month.  I love watching the world change color.  The month begins mostly beige and barren. In four short weeks, everything changes.  Leaves explode into a vibrant canopy, and the understory of the forest is nearly impenetrable.  The world is suddenly lush and alive.

I recently stood along the creek on a May evening and breathed in the world around me.  The air smelled like honeysuckle and creek-bottom.  Birdsong lifted to the treetops and got lost in the outstretched branches.   I was fully present.  I felt vibrantly alive and deeply connected with the Creator’s heart.

Do you want to cultivate a praying life?

Ask God to help you be fully present in your moments.  Play along sandy beaches.  Laugh over dripping ice cream cones.  Slip out of your shoes just to feel the damp grass beneath your feet.  Breathe deeply.  Laugh deeply.  Love deeply.

Ask God to help you be fully present in your moments. Play along sandy beaches. Slip out of your shoes just to feel the damp grass beneath your feet. 


3. Cultivate a Praying Life by Returning to God Again and Again

I tend to pray big prayers at the start of my days and then forget all about God when I feel overwhelmed.  I’m learning to be gentle with my failures.  Every moment of distraction is an invitation to return to God all over again.

I invite you to keep coming back to God.

Try to live prayerfully. When you forget, use it as an opportunity to return all over again.  Mess up a thousand times, and you create a thousand opportunities to turn to God all over again.


4. Cultivate a Praying Life by Finding Your Rest in Jesus

Summer may or may not provide the peace, rest, and comfort we crave.  Let’s remind ourselves Christ is our ultimate source of peace, rest, and comfort.  He wants us to turn to him when summer disappoints us.  He is waiting to show us he is more than enough to satisfy our hungry hearts.




Quote from: Kelly, Thomas R., A Testament of Devotion.  New York: HarperCollins, 1992.



This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Stacey Pardoe

Featured Image by Mabel Amber from Pixabay


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About the Author

Stacey Pardoe is a Kingdom Winds Contributor. Stacey's hope is that her words will inspire you to seek God in the midst of your ordinary moments and encounter his love in deeper ways.