06 Dec 2018

Pray Smart vs. Pray Hard

Never before in my lifetime have I felt the urgency to pray as I do now. If I did not understand the true meaning of “pray without ceasing”, I now not only understand what it means, but also see that prayer is not an option, it is a personal mandate. Years ago, mass shootings, home and school invasions, suicides, diseases with no known cure, unexplained weather patterns and natural disasters, were few and far between. These days they have become almost a monthly, if not weekly occurrence. When you lay your head down at night, you have no idea what tragedy you’ll wake up to the next morning.

Yesterday, was the first Sunday of the Advent season that was meant to deliver a message of hope to the world. Truly we are living in a world where many are void of hope. With just the few tragic events I listed above, just turning on the news, browsing the internet, or reading the newspaper can create the basis for one’s loss of hope. If we are not careful, we can develop the posture of “looking over our shoulders” for the next catastrophic event. But there is One in whom we can place our trust and build our hope — a God who will never leave us nor forsake us in any situation. In order to have that hope, we must be connected to and in constant contact with the hope giver! There’s a popular saying that you should “work smarter, not harder”. There’s so much truth to that, so much so that I feel the same mantra should be applied to our prayer life.

What does it mean to pray smarter, not harder? I grew up with great prayer warriors that I looked to as models that embodied the very description of people who dedicated their lives to prayer and intercession. Indeed, we need more prayer warriors to rise up, as many of that generation have left us. To achieve results in anything, it takes consistency and diligence. I think those are key factors that are missing and as a result we do not see as many miracles as God wants to reveal to us. I would like to share some key elements that have helped my prayer life to go to another level. God never intended for us to always go to someone else (pastor, parent, friend, counselor) when we have prayer needs. Notice I used the word “always”. There are times when we definitely should touch and agree with someone else for prayer support. However, it is critically important that we are able to get a prayer through on our own!


1) Become INTENTIONAL with your prayers. Praying broad, general prayers do not give God specifics! Yes, He is omniscient (all knowing), but He delights in honoring the details of your prayers.

2) Make prayer a priority in your life. You may not be able to set aside a designated time to pray at length daily, but make sure you pray daily. In your car, silently at your desk / office, in school, etc.

3) Write out your prayer concerns. This helps to keep them before you and less likely to be forgotten.

4) Pray even when you don’t feel like it! You’ll feel better when you do.

5) Don’t be selfish with your prayers – pray SPECIFICALLY, INTENTIONALLY for the concerns of others.

6) Begin every prayer with THANKSGIVING! No matter how bad things are, we should always be able to thank God for something.

7) Learn to persevere. We live in a society that promotes instant gratification. God never promised that to anyone! When you haven’t received an answer or a “yes”, that does not mean that God is not going to answer or the answer is “no”. It means just keep praying in anticipation of hearing from God!

Source: First Lady Denise