Please join me in welcoming Kathryn Shirey to the blog today! Kathryn writes on prayer and many other faith-based topics. Kathryn has a wealth of knowledge to share, and we are honored to have her as as a guest contributor for our January series, For REAL This Time: A Series of Hope for Good Intentions. Welcome, Kathryn!
5 Tips To Make Your Prayer Resolutions Stick
Over half of us will make New Year’s resolutions each year, yet less than 10% will actually achieve those goals. In fact, most of us will give up on those resolutions within the first month. Why are we so pitiful at following through on our resolutions? Too often, we set unrealistic expectations for ourselves. Then, when we don’t see the results we expected (or see them quickly enough), we quit.
Do you desire a deeper prayer life this year? Want to become more consistent? Find greater connection with God? Make prayer a more vital, active part of your life? First, check your expectations. Have you envisioned specific outcomes and expectations of what prayer means for you and how you expect your prayer life to look?
One thing I’ve learned is God rarely works according to our expectations. God doesn’t want your prayer actions, He wants your praying heart. God wants to build a relationship of trust with you through prayer, which may often take a different form than you expected.
5 tips to make your prayer resolutions stick:
1) Focus on one goal, rather than several.
Don’t create a whole list of goals for the year or month or week. Instead, set one and focus on it until it sticks.
2) Set realistic, specific goals.
In the business world, we say the best objectives are S.M.A.R.T. Specific, Measurable, Actionable,Realistic, Time-Bound. This acronym doesn’t just apply to objectives on a performance review, but any goals you set for yourself (that you actually want to achieve). This will help you start somewhere, achieve something, and then set another goal once you achieve the first.
Consider starting with 21 days of prayer. Commit to pray daily for 21 days over a specific question or topic and let God begin to work in your heart. (If you want help getting started, check out my 21-day devotional prayer book, “Pray Deep: 21 Days to Ignite Your Prayer Life”.
3) Take small steps.
You won’t become a prayer warrior overnight. Transforming your family’s culture of prayer takes time and steps. Start small and don’t give up if you don’t immediately see the results you imagined.
Consider adding a prayer each morning when you drop the kids off at school or before you get out of the car in the office parking lot. Maybe learn a new type of prayer, such as prayer journaling, prayer doodling, or praying from scriptures. Or, try a new method to track and organize prayer requests and commit to praying over your list every Friday morning over coffee.
4) Find an accountability partner.
Studies show we’re far more likely to follow through on a resolution if we state that resolution publicly and let others know we’re committed. Tell someone you trust about your prayer resolution and ask them to be an accountability partner. Ask them to check in with you to see how you’re doing - or better yet, ask them to join you in whatever goal you’ve selected.
5) Rewire your brain by creating new thought patterns.
To make a new habit stick, we have to rewire our brains, which means creating new thought patterns and behaviors. Don’t just try to do more of the same. Instead, try adding prayer into your life in new and different ways. As you begin to rewire your brain to incorporate prayer in one area, you’ll find that prayer will find its way into other areas, too.
One of the ways I’ve done this is to add in everyday prayer prompts to help incorporate prayer into my daily routine. For example, when I’m driving with the kids and we see a firetruck or ambulance with its lights on, we pray for the 1st responders and the people they’re going to help. This has created a culture of prayer in our everyday routine and has led to more prayer throughout the day.
How will you make prayer part of your resolutions for the new year - and really make it stick this time?
Kathryn Shirey lives in Texas where she and her husband stay busy raising two energetic children. Connect with Kathryn on her blog, Finding Hope, where she writes about being intentional about faith, digging deeper into prayer, and inspiring others to seek a closer, personal relationship with God. She’s on a journey of discovery, finding where God’s leading her in His call to “go to work for God,” and stepping into exciting adventures in writing, speaking, and publishing. Find her “Pray Deep” devotional prayer journals on Amazon. You can also connect with Kathryn on social media by clicking the links below: