Focus on your spiritual life this January as you work through this printable Bible study on prayer.
MY OWN PRAYER JOURNEY
When I was a child, I was taught to pray. But I prayed when I needed something. When I didn’t want to throw up anymore from a stomach bug, when I really wanted that boy to like me, when I wanted to stop worrying so much.
I didn’t keep up with church in college, and prayer became foreign to me because I hadn’t done it in so long. My friends graduated and moved away, I got married and settled down halfway across the country from my family. I was miserably lonely, and I began to pray again.
“God I don’t feel you, I don’t see you, I can’t hear you anymore. Where are you?”
I couldn’t connect. I prayed this prayer over and over again. My relationship with him before as a child had been simple and uncomplicated, but it had been years since I last attempted to hear his voice. I had shut it out so that I could spend college being selfish, not responsible. My prayers turned into one line of begging:
“Lord, make yourself known to me! I need you!”
Over and over during those lonely days, I repeated this prayer. I loved my husband, and starting our new life together, but I was lonely. I longed to get in the car and drive two hours to my parents’ house like my friends could.
We tried out a few churches, but I just couldn’t get back to where I was spiritually as a teenager. I felt so disconnected. But I went anyway, and began to read my Bible again. I didn’t really know what to get out of it that I hadn’t already tried, but my prayers continued and I found myself looking for God throughout the day.
How was he speaking to me? How could I hear him?
I’d lay in the pool and look up at the trees and watch the branches sway. That’s the closest I felt I could get to him.
GOD IS THERE EVEN WHEN YOU CAN’T SEE HIM
Fast forward five years later, and bit by bit my prayer life was improving. We found a church that encouraged me to continue in my studies. At this time, I was dealing with the first real hardship in my life. I was 9 months pregnant with my first child and watching my mother-in-law die from brain cancer.
Prayer after prayer, month after month, treatment after treatment, visit after visit, her condition was not improving. And one night, after months of begging and pleading with God, she died. In the final moments I went to tell her good-bye, and as I left the room, I heard a horrible sound coming from somewhere. And then I realized it was me. This verse immediately came to mind:
“The Sprit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”ROMANS 8:26
And I felt God say to me, “Go back in the room and be with them.”
I turned around, stopped crying and went and put my arm around my father-in-law sitting at her side. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever witnessed, but to this day I am so grateful I stayed in there with my husband and in-laws to the end.
I found strength I didn’t know I had, I realized there was purpose in living far from my own family, and I felt the strongest connection to God in that moment than I’d ever had.
Since then, I’ve been through many other times where I’ve been testing in choosing obedience over anger, and in those trials, he created something more complex and wonderful in me—a stronger faith, a real relationship with him. He has walked me through many fires and let me come out braver, bolder and more secure in him.
It certainly wasn’t overnight, and it wasn’t without literal blood, sweat and tears that I’ve been able to get to this point in my life, but I can firmly say with confidence, I don’t pray my college prayer anymore. I know where he is–he is with me every step of the way. And it all started with prayer.
JANUARY STUDY ON PRAYER
I believe prayer is the most basic and best way to deepen your spiritual relationship. You can talk all you want to about someone, but until you start talking to them, you won’t understand who they really are.
So I felt like this would be the perfect way to start out the new year. Each month, I’ll add another set of scriptures to write and reflect on to help you (and me!) grow toward deeper spiritual development.
The directions for this January Study on Prayer Printable are simple:
- Write out the verse in column 1.
- Write out your response in the form of a prayer in column 2.
You can start with “Dear God” and end with “In Jesus’ name”, but when writing, I prefer to just start the sentence as if I’m already in conversation with him. Sometimes I end with a “Love, Amy” or a “…” to give the sense that our conversation isn’t over, it’s ongoing, as it would be with a family member at the house.
The important thing is that you make it your own. This is between you and God. Writing the verse is a great start, but make sure you get around to the application part–actually writing your own prayers.
God is working on me and you—I can feel it. I know he has great things in store for us. And it starts with prayer.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE…
Memorizing scripture is another great way to stay in the Word each day. Choose a new verse each month with this Bible Verse Coloring Book I created just for you! You can find it in my shop here:
Now that you’re ready to improve your spiritual growth, check out these posts on my favorite Bible Study resources:
- Choosing a Bible That’s Right For You
- Understanding the Old Testament Timeline
- Navigating the Events of the New Testament
- 5 Styles of Note-Taking You Can Apply to Your Bible Study
- How to Navigate the Bible as a “Self-Help” Resource
You’ve got this!
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