“God is our mighty fortress, always ready to help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
The Barna Group just released their study of religious faith in cities across America. One interesting category was “the most prayerful city.” This category measured faith engagement through personal prayer. The survey asked whether the person had prayed to God in the past 7 days.
The findings showed Augusta-Aiken, Georgia as the most prayerful city in America, while Springfield-Holyoke, Massachusetts as the least prayerful city.
What does it mean to be prayerful?
1. Prayerful persons love God. Prayer is more than asking and receiving. Prayer is not done only in times of trouble and emergencies. Prayer is part of our love relationship with the Heavenly Father. He cares for us, and wants the very best for us, and we want to be the best we can be for God. Therefore, we pray to Him, and we pray regularly.
2. Prayerful persons make prayer a priority. A terrific way to prioritize prayer is to pray as soon as you wake up. Whisper a prayer in which you thank God for another day. Then throughout the day pray when you need strength, when you need guidance, when you are confused, when you feel stressed, and so on.
3. Prayerful persons create prayerful environments. In your recliner, at the beach, in the woods, or at school, take time to pray. Allow these spaces to become prayer times. The space it takes to set up a beach chair can become a sacred place. Even a busy commuter train can become a prayerful space.
4. Prayerful persons give thanks in everything. The Bible says simply in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Not be thankful “for” everything, but be thankful “in” everything. Why? This step prevents bitterness, hardness of heart, and ungratefulness from gripping your soul. You will find that thankfulness increases your joy.
5. Prayerful persons persevere. Have you noticed how your troubles and difficulties often drive you to prayer? That’s a good thing because you don’t really need perseverance until you are going through a trial. Prayer is the lifeline that lays hold of our loving God during times of tribulation. Prayerfulness gives you the strength to keep on going instead of giving up.
6. Prayerful persons seek God’s guidance throughout the day. I love to make lists and to plan. Sometimes I get carried away with my plans, and then I realize I haven’t asked God for His guidance with my plans. When you are prayerful you bathe your planning process in prayer. You are constantly asking for God’s guidance and direction.
7. Prayerful persons schedule time for prayer. Typically I rise early, read my Bible, journal, and pray through my prayer notebook in which I have written specific prayer requests. This early morning time is a choice time for me, but I am a morning person. You might be wired oppositely and you are an evening person. Pray at night. Regardless, you probably won’t pray if you haven’t scheduled time for an extensive period of prayer.
Here’s the best part of being a prayerful person. You develop hope, and I mean strong hope in your life. Pope Francis once said that prayer is an act of hope that leads us to God. If you are in a dark place right now, and struggling to find some hope, then pray.