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7 Steps to Build Up a Personal Prayer Life

How to build up a personal prayer life
“Persevere in prayer, watching in it with thanksgiving.” – Col. 4:2

“How can I build up a prayer life?”

It’s a question that every believer should ask. Why?

It’s because, as  believers in Christ,  our prayer life is absolutely vital. It’s our spiritual breathing. It’s essential to living a normal Christian life.

Without prayer, our Christian life is like a car with flat tires. The car may be great, but it’s not going very far.

In 8 Benefits of Prayer You Can’t Afford to Miss, I mentioned the difficulty we often face in building up a prayer life and then presented eight tremendous benefits to encourage us to persevere in prayer.

Now in this post I’ll continue by considering seven steps that will equip you to build up a personal prayer life.

Seven steps to help you build up a personal prayer life

1. Realize that prayer is a warfare.

Satan hates our prayer life and will do anything to stop us from praying. That’s why we must “watch unto prayer” and fight for our prayer life. Consider that your prayer is to row a boat upstream–to row against the current.

In Ephesians 6:10-20, a passage on spiritual warfare, Paul wrote,

“By means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit and watching unto this in all perseverance…” (Eph. 6:18).

We need to watch unto prayer, to stand guard over our prayer life, like soldiers on patrol.  The enemy will often come with distractions or tiredness to disturb our prayer.

2. Make a vow to be a praying person.

That’s also why we need to make a vow for prayer. That’s not because we can keep the vow. We can’t keep it. Only the Lord can. But our vow is our aligning our will with God’s. It’s our way of agreeing with Him.

In the Life-study of Colossians, Witness Lee said,

Before you try to persevere in prayer, you should first make a deal with the Lord concerning your prayer life. Pray to Him in a definite way and say, “Lord, I mean business with You about this matter of prayer. I call heaven and earth to witness that from this time forth I will have a life of prayer. I will not be a prayerless person. Rather, I will be a praying person.” If you do not have such a prayer to the Lord, you will not be able to persevere in prayer. (p. 579) 

Without such a vow, we will easily neglect our prayer life.  But I can testify that if you make such a vow,  the Lord will remind you of your prayer time and bother you when you fail to pray.

3. Set aside specific times to pray.

A vow gives the Lord the ground to remind you. But, to build up a prayer life still requires your cooperation to set specific prayer times that the Lord can remind you of. For example, you may want to set aside ten minutes in the morning at 6:30, another ten minutes at lunch  or in the afternoon at 3 or 4, and ten minutes at 9:30 or 10 in the evening.

Daniel built up such a habit of daily praying at set times (Dan. 6:10). His habit was so strong that even the king’s decree couldn’t prevent him from keeping his set prayer times.

Acts 10:9 also records that, “Peter went up on the housetop to pray around the sixth hour.” Here it mentions both the specific place and set time for Peter’s prayer.

How about us? Do we have such a set time and place for prayer? Do we have times that the Lord can remind us of?

4. Realize the tremendous benefits of prayer.

In order to persevere in prayer we need to treasure our prayer life the way God does. We need to appreciate its worth to such an extent that we are willing to sacrifice for it.

To see the benefits of prayer according to God’s Word, I’d highly recommend you read 8 Benefits of Prayer You Can’t Afford to Miss.

5. Begin your prayer life first thing each morning.

Make prayer a priority in your day starting first thing each morning.

Even the Lord Jesus, standing in the position of a man, needed to get away to have private times to pray to His Father. Mark 1:35 says,

“And rising up very early in the morning, while it was still night, [Jesus] went out and went away to a deserted place, and there He prayed.”

When the day heats up, it’s harder to find a “deserted place”–without phone calls, text messages, emails and social media to distract you. For a quality prayer time, it’s best to make time to pray when  your electronic devices are turned off or muted.

Here are 10 short morning prayers to help you get started with a personal time with the Lord in the morning.

6.  Nourish your prayer life by feeding on God’s word.

It’s hard to sustain a prayer life without an adequate supply. God’s Word is the supply to nourish your prayer.

By praying over or pray-reading a few verses you’ll be spiritually nourished and allow God to initiate some burden of prayer within you.

7. Watch unto prayer with thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving preserves your prayer life. It keeps you watching out for your prayer. In Colossians 4:2 Paul said,

“Persevere in prayer, watching in it with thanksgiving.”

In the Colossians Life-study message mentioned above, Witness Lee went on to say,

“The sign of a praying person is thankfulness. If you are one who perseveres in prayer, you will always be thankful to the Lord. This giving of thanks to Him will preserve you in your life of prayer…If we continually offer thanks to the Lord, the adversary will not be able to carry us off from our prayer life. Prayer is maintained by watching in it with thanksgiving.” (p. 583)

To recap the points of this post:

1. Realize that prayer is a warfare.

2. Make a vow to be a praying person.

3. Set aside specific times to pray.

4. Realize the tremendous benefits of prayer.

5. Begin your prayer life first thing each morning.

6. Nourish your prayer life by feeding on God’s word.

7. Watch unto prayer with thanksgiving.

If any of the steps presented in this post have helped you to persevere in prayer, please share them in a comment. You may also want to relate any additional points that have helped you to build up a personal prayer life.

References and Further Reading:

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

18 Replies

  1. Stan

    The concept of prayer as warfare has been an awakening for me. Seeing prayer as a conscious effort has allowed me to be more devoted to the practice.

    1. Tom Smith

      We need to be empowered in the Lord and in the might of His strength to fight the spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:10). We also need to see that fighting the spiritual warfare is a Body matter–a matter of the corporate Body of Christ (Rom. 16:20).

  2. Gabriel Mary Ushie

    Am Blessed

  3. olasemo abraham

    God bless you sir, am blessed

    1. Tom Smith

      I’m glad you found the post helpful. As believers, prayer is the simplest exercise, just like breathing to a baby. At the same time it is great matter and most profound in its depth, even becoming the means for our spiritual warfare. May we learn to practice these seven steps to practice an enduring prayer life that not only supplies us with the Lord’s grace, but also cooperates with Him in order to fulfill His purpose.

  4. Trokon R. Jackson


    The concept of setting specific time to pray inspired me. Nothing really work without scheduling. Most importantly, beginning your day with prayer is very helpful, it energized you to focus well and behave like a Kingdom ‘s citizen.

    Trokon R. Jackson

    1. Tom Smith

      That’s right. Beginning each day with prayer is very helpful. It is easy to get occupied later in the day, but if we make a habit to begin our day with prayer, we at least get off to the right start. Set times are best lest our days slip away and we miss the opportunities to fellowship with our Beloved. We need not come with an agenda, but simply come have time with Him. Using the Word to usher us to Christ in spirit is a helpful way to be saved from natural prayers and to allow the Lord to initiate the prayers within us.

  5. very neatly done… thanks bro Tom

  6. Thank you Brother Tom, very instructional and powerful. God bless.

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you enjoyed the post on prayer. Thanks for the comment.

  7. Emerson Ejom

    It is very imperative that we pray first thing in the morning before the day’s pressures and distractions set in, as it might be very difficult to find time to do so. I have ended up not praying for a whole day when I fail to do so at first light.
    Thanks a lot Tim for the enlightenment.

    1. Tom Smith

      Emerson, I agree that the most vital time for our prayer life is the beginning of each day. If we begin by having a intimate, personal, contact with the Lord in the morning, this will supply us to walk by the Spirit throughout the day (Gal. 5:16, 25). His grace will strengthen us to live in union with Him, to abide in the Lord (John 15:4-5). Thanks for your confirming comment.

  8. Apollos Mohamed S. Koroma

    I am really touched by this powerful teaching big brother Tom. Thanks so much. Am looking forward to more of your teaching.

    1. Tom Smith

      I’m glad you have been enjoying the articles. My desire is to point my readers to the genuine experience of Christ as their life. Such a daily living of enjoying the indwelling Christ as the life-giving Spirit (Rom. 8:4-13) has the goal of transforming us (12:2-5) into precious materials for the building up of God’s spiritual house—the church, the Body of Christ (1 Pet. 2:2-5; Eph. 4:12-16). Keep reading and I encourage you to read the reference materials which will supply you with a deeper appreciation. Thank you for your comment.

  9. Pastor T.

    I enjoyed reading the information , it is so true the things you said. Prayer is power, its not how long we pray but we need to slow down and here what we are saying. After praying everyday for twenty, 30 years its easy to think we are praying but we are only saying words ( repetitious prayers ) You said it right when you mentioned nourish your prayer life by reading God’s word, studying , fasting and praying we must put all three into practice. Thank you so much it was encouraging!!!!!

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you were helped by the post. We need to realize that we are contacting the a living Person, the resurrected Christ, who dwells in our spirit (2 Tim. 4:22). We need to exercise our deepest part, our spirit to touch Him (John 4:24). This is render true worship. Coming to His word with a turned and humble heart enables us to inhale what He is, will fill us with the divine essence, the divine truthfulness. Then we can pray with truthfulness, echoing back to the Lord the words He has infused into us. This echo is real faith. Thank you for sharing your appreciation.

  10. Indomitable Chris

    I so much love the points that I would also love to share them with other believer’s.

    1. Tom Smith

      I’m glad that you really enjoyed these points on prayer. Actually, it is a very good time to share the help you have received. Many believers may be looking for some direction in pursuing the Lord, especially at the beginning of a new year. Prayer is one of those area where we all must confess our shortage. We need to enjoy Christ as the indwelling man of prayer in our deepest part, our spirit. Then go on to apply seven helpful points in our daily living. I would also recommend a short booklet entitled The Meaning and Purpose of Prayer by Witness Lee. It will definitely uplift your appreciation for prayer. You can read it for free online at ministrybooks.org Thanks for your comment.

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