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What is Prayer – How to Develop a Daily Prayer Habit

It’s 6 in the morning, and your mum – or your mind – is tapping you or shouting your name from the sitting room, reminding you about prayer and prompting you to get up and pray. Does that ring a bell? But wait, what is prayer?

Most of us grew up in families that gather together in the mornings or evenings to praise and worship God, but while we (most likely) sat through it under compulsion, we somehow knew it was important.

Now, scratch family devotions. How regularly do you pray? Out of your 24 hours, what percentage of it belongs to just you and Jesus? Do you pray on a daily basis? Or do you struggle to keep up?

These questions may sound somehow, and you may feel attacked especially if you have been trying to improve your daily devotion but keep falling off.

how to build a daily prayer habit


But hey, if you don’t keep trying, how will you get it right? You don’t have to wake up at 6 am or go down on your knees, because prayer doesn’t have to be ceremonious or fixed. However, the key is for it to be regular and to be done with a genuine heart. So, how do you build a prayer habit? Keep reading to find out.

What is prayer, and why do we have to pray every day? 

Prayer means being with God. It’s a two-way conversation where we talk to God and also listen to Him. It’s conversational like a child talking to their parent. In James 4:8, the Bible says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you”.  The more time you spend talking to God, the closer you’ll become! It’s that simple.


But while the Bible teaches us how to pray and its advantages, it doesn’t specifically state when to pray. It does give us an idea in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, though, where it says, “Pray without ceasing”. TPT translation simplifies the command with the words, “Make your life a prayer”. This means praying always. All the time.

Never stop praying. Make it a habit.

Britannica Dictionary defines a habit as a usual way of behaving, and Cambridge adds that it’s something you do regularly, sometimes without knowing that you are doing it. This is what praying should be like. It should be a part of your life. According to Paul in Thessalonians, it should be your life. 

lady praying
lady praying

So, how does that work? How do you make prayer a habit? How do you incorporate it into your schedule? How do you make it your life? Research says it takes 18 to 254 days to form a new habit. Making prayer a habitual practice in your daily routine can be challenging, particularly when it requires changing other habits. Yet, what could be more important in your day than spending time with God? 

six tips To help you make prayer a daily habit

Prayer is not a task to tick off your to-do list

If you’re the kind that likes to follow a schedule, it’s okay to set aside specific times for prayer. But prayer is not designed to be limited by a calendar, regardless of how many time slots you set aside for it. It also shouldn’t feel like a task you have to get over and done with.

Remember you have a relationship with God, and prayer is you communicating with Him. You wouldn’t count talking to your partner as a task, would you? Prayer is a function of your relationship with God, a necessary part of your relationship with Him. It should not be forced. Rather, it should be as natural as breathing. So even if you schedule time with God, remember that it’s not a task; it’s a conversation that should flow from your heart.

Prayer doesn’t have to be grand or ceremonious 

It’s nice to go down on your knees when you want to talk to God. It’s nice to pace around. You could even roll on the floor, crying out to Him. What really matters is that you’re focused on Jesus when you pray. You don’t have to begin with the customary, “In Jesus’ name, in the mighty name of Jesus…” You don’t have to shout. Jesus instructs that when we pray, we should do so in secret. He’s simply saying don’t be a showoff about it because you’re not doing it to impress anyone.

Watch this video on how to build a relationship with the Holy Spirit 

This doesn’t mean that your prayer should be monotonous. Before teaching the crowd the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus gives this warning in Matthew 6:7: “When you pray, there is no need to repeat empty phrases, praying like the Gentiles do, for they expect God to hear them because of their many words.”

Prayer is not a form of incantation, a magical formula where uttering the right words guarantees that God will fulfill your request. Instead, prayer is a relational,  conversational, and direct communication with God.

photographer praying

There’s no invalid prayer. In the kitchen, on your way to work, before bed at night, or during lunch break, you can mutter prayers to God. So long as you’re not doing it absentmindedly or indifferently, He’ll hear you.

There are no big or small prayers

Nothing is too small to pray about, neither is there anything too big to pray about. James 5:13 says, “Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises.” You can’t bore God, neither can you burden Him. Pray about everything because He cares to listen.

It is also important to keep in mind that prayer doesn’t necessarily need to be long. It can also be a simple and brief plea to our Father. It can take 5 minutes; it can take three hours. A person who is persistent in prayer does not necessarily have to pray for a long time. Being persistent in prayer means refusing to give up (on the habit).

The more you pray, the more you desire to pray

Some may be tempted to give up and quit praying because they don’t feel like it or they don’t have enough motivation to pray. However, we’re not meant to be controlled by our feelings but by the commandments of Jesus, who instructs us never to stop praying.

The only way to fix a lack of prayer is to pray. The best way to increase your hunger for prayer is by praying. Consistently. Nigerian gospel minister, Sinach, captures this in her song, More of You, where she says, “The more I know You, the more I want to know You”. So, start getting to know God today!

Creating a praylist and finding a prayer buddy helps

A prayer list helps to plan your prayer life effectively. It’ll make you realise you have more than enough to pray about. When we pray, circumstances can change, and God intervenes precisely where we need Him to. And when you refer to your list later, you’re likely to find that some of the prayers have been answered, proof that prayer is indeed a two-way communication and God responds.

The prayer buddy, on the other hand, can help to keep you accountable, remind you to pray, and, more importantly, pray with/for you. Your prayer buddy can also be an app that’ll remind you to spend time with God, such as YouVersion, Prayminder, and Echo Prayer.

Your prayer buddy can also be an app that’ll remind you to spend time with God, such as YouVersion, Prayminder, and Echo Prayer.

Start the conversation now

The first step in building a habit is to start. Start today and show up tomorrow. It can begin with “God, it’s me”, “Hello”, or the more popular opening “In Jesus’ name”. You can start with worship (it might be a curated playlist to get you started) or a verse. Just get started. Remember, prayer is our way of keeping in touch with God, updating Him about what’s happening in our lives. So say hi to Him today and bring Him up to date.

how to build a daily prayer habit
how to build a daily prayer habit

If you’re the calendar-driven type, schedule the time and reminder now. If you have to change other habits for your prayer habit to flourish, start pointing them out and working on them. If you need to download apps, get them now. 

If you have to change other habits for your prayer habit to flourish, start pointing them out and working on them.

As we acknowledge Ephesians 6:18, which tells us to stay alert and be persistent in prayer, we expose ourselves to a deeper connection with God and discover the solace, peace, guidance, and profound sense of purpose that comes with spending time in His presence.

Written by: Prisca Anieke

Prisca volunteers with the Content Team at Sycamore Church.

(Blogposts are creative expressions generously provided for Sycamore Church. The ideas and thoughts do not necessarily represent the position of Sycamore Church)

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