Is it a good idea to analyze or study one's own prayers to become more effective?
I have gotten different feedback from my Christian friends most of them negative.
From your point of view, Is this a worthy endeavor?"
It seems To Me . . .
- Evaluating your own prayers in order to congratulate yourself ("I give myself a 9 out of 10!") or to review and edit them so they sound eloquent or scholarly - not a good idea. We do not trust in our prayers. I disagree with the statement: "prayer works." Instead we trust in the God to whom we pray. Many religions pray but to whom are they praying? Many pagans "pray" longer or "better" than I do. Prayer doesn't work; the one to whom we pray, works. When we pray. Its a partnership.
- I do believe it is valuable to analyze your prayer habits and patterns as long as you use Scripture as the model. Study your praying to discern if you are praying correct theology. Analyze your prayers by comparing them to Daniel (chapter 9) and Paul (almost each of his epistles); certainly Jesus' teachings about prayer.
- For those who disagree, why is it a good idea to reimagine our worship ("sing a new song") or think differently about our evangelism methods but not a good idea when it comes to praying? The quest to pray like Jesus is a lifelong journey toward maturity that would greatly benefit from a review that refreshes our praying. Maybe the one who benefits most is God, as our silly repetitions or simplistic requests fade into a conversation that is birthed in the heart of our Father in heaven, discerned through the leading of the Holy Spirit, and empowered by the name of Jesus.
- One more comment. Maybe the question should be: "Is it wise to have others in the Body of Christ help me analyze my praying?" Corporate praying is a test of our personal prayer life (which, sadly, is why so many long-term Christians are silent in group prayer). If you are in a group with believers who truly trust in God, express their love for Jesus and are yielded to the Holy Spirit, then ask them "How can I improve my prayer life? What are my strengths? (in other words, what spiritual gifts flow out through your prayers; what fruit of the Spirit is most evident when you are praying?) What are my weaker habits? (you repeat "_____ _____" twenty times in every prayer)
- Start here:
- Ask - the Lord to teach you to pray more fervently and effectively (James 5:16)
- Seek - be still and listen for the leading of the Holy Spirit
- Knock - when you are clear as to his leading, follow into scripture or a study guide or a conversation with someone who can mentor you in prayer