At church we've recently finished a series of sermons and accompanying mid-week Bible studies focusing on the Lord's prayer and I've really enjoyed the series. I was inspired by the power of prayer and challenged to pray more. If we're honest, we all find it difficult to pray sometimes - whether that's because we're wrestling with doubts, going through a time of great pain, or just getting distracted by work, family, household chores, TV or iPhone apps.

Over the years, I've been making a list of ideas to help me pray and one evening at housegroup we all shared things that we found helpful. I hope you find them helpful too.
  • Write prayers down
    - In a journal
    - In an email
    - In a text
  • Make lists of things to pray for (and think about how you can practically help as well)
  • Make a 'timetable' of topics and people to pray for each day / week / month
  • Have a 'prayer board' on the wall in your house to pin prayer requests to
  • Use the church directory / address book if you have one to make sure that you're praying for people that aren't necessarily in your close circle of friends
  • Text verses to encourage people and let them know you're praying for them
  • Use the Bible to pray - pray verses over people
  • Get into prayer habits - associate prayers with places. (For example, one friend always prays when going over a particular bridge in Newcastle). Have a special place where you go to pray on a regular basis.
  • Use a daily template - perhaps liturgy or a prayer book
  • Meet with others to pray in triplets or 'prayer squares'
  • Pray spontaneously with people when you meet up with them rather than waiting until later
  • Have people that you are accountable to about your prayer life, who will ask you on a regular basis how it's going
  • Go for a run / walk / swim and pray while you are doing it
  • Have a 'prayer party' with drinks and nibbles where you each have a wine glass filled with prayer requests on bits of paper. As you mingle around, you take a prayer request out of someone's glass and pray briefly for them before moving on to the next person.
  • Have a thanksgiving dinner and encourage people to share with others about what they're thankful to God for. Pray between courses.
  • Have a pack of cards and stick the photo of a friend / leader / mission partner on each card. Each day, take one of the cards and pray for that person.
  • Run a prayer 'treasure hunt'. If you live with someone else, get them to hide prayer requests round the house and then pray for each of them as you find them.
  • If you share a house with other Christians or have a communal area, make little pigeon holes / envelopes where people can leave their prayer requests. Each day, take a prayer request and pray for that person throughout the day.
  • Be creative in your prayer - paint a picture, make a model or draw a diagram

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people"  Ephesians 6: 18