How can I improve my prayer life?
Wondering how you can improve your prayer life is an important question to ask for anyone who wants to grow in their faith. In this episode of Upstream, Macie De Vight chats with Matthew Haste on the topic of prayer.
Is the God of our Bible one of wrath or love? Nick Turner and Adam Howell sit down to unpack the question: “Why does God seem different in the Old Testament vs. the New Testament?”
On this episode of Upstream, Macie poses a question many Christians often ask themselves: “Is it OK to be friends with unbelievers?” Matthew Haste takes us to John 17 for the answer.
Have you ever felt stuck in your Bible reading plan once you arrived at tough parts of the Bible? This is the episode for you! Hear as Nick Turner asks Adam Howell: “Do I need to read Leviticus and the Old Testament?”
Macie: Hi guys. My name is Macie. Thank you so much for tuning into Upstream, which is brought to you by Boyce College. Today, we are joined by Dr. Haste who teaches classes in biblical counseling and biblical spirituality here at Boyce College. Dr. Haste, thank you so much for being here. Today’s question is: how can I improve my prayer life?
Dr. Matthew Haste: It’s a great question Macie. When I’ve been asked that question in the past, the first thing I want to say to the person is that it’s a good question to ask. Sometimes we assume, as Christians, that prayer should just be natural and easy and, therefore, it would never make sense to ask a question like that.
So you’re at a good place to begin in just asking, “how do I improve my prayer life?” There are a lot of resources out there that can be helpful to you. There are many books that will guide you in how to organize your prayers, how to organize items that we pray for, like our prayer list and things like that.
But I’ll tell you the one piece of wisdom that has served me best in my own walk with the Lord. It basically comes down to this; when we pray, we ought to pray with our Bibles. When we pray, we ought to pray with our Bibles open. What I mean by that is, we tend to think of prayer and Bible study as two different disciplines that we do onto God. Maybe even as we’re organizing time; we say a prayer and then we open our Bible, we read our Bible, we close our Bible, and then maybe we pray again at the end.
By praying with our Bibles open, we bring those two worlds together as one act of enjoying God’s presence, as we hear from him in his word and as we speak to him in prayer.
So we pray with our Bibles open and it helps us in a number of key ways. I think on the one hand, it helps us know how to pray because we see in the text of Scripture, very words that we can actually turn into the words of our prayers and we’re guided in the things we should pray and how to approach God himself.
We see examples in Scripture of people praying faithfully and we’re able to imitate that in some way. And of course, how Jesus answered a similar question in the gospels when his disciples said, “teach us how to pray.” He spoke to them what we call the Lord’s prayer.
So we’ve got all of those models in Scripture that guide us in how to pray. A second way that praying with our Bibles open helps us is it helps us to know what to pray for. For many of us, we carry around these kinds of ideas of things that we’re consistently praying for. Praying with our Bibles open helps us to expand that list in many ways, or, in some sense, submit that list to God’s word.
One of my colleagues at Southern, Donald Whitney, has written a book on this very subject. It’s called Praying the Bible. In that, he talks about how to take the texts of Scripture and really turn it into the words of our prayers. I think it’d be very useful to you as you’re thinking through how to improve your prayer life.
But if we pray with our Bibles open, it reminds us how to pray. It gives us guidance in what to pray for. But it also reminds us in a very sweet and precious way to whom we are praying. Many of us, when we approach God in prayer, approach him with a sense of shame or guilt. Who am I to speak to such a God?
When we pray with our Bibles open, we’re reminded who God is. He has revealed himself in his word and we see in his Scripture, that this is the God whom I’m addressing in prayer. I’m coming to him as father. I’m coming to him whose mercies are new every morning. I think these things can be helpful to us when we’re unsure what to say or how to say it.
Macie: Very good. Thank you so much Dr. Haste. Thank you guys also for watching Upstream. For more information about Boyce College, please go to boycecollege.com .
We’ll see you next time on Upstream.