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4 Ways to Reboot Your Prayer Life

 Some simple suggestions to reset your spiritual operating system.

Reboot your prayer life! Photo by Ng Choon Boon, Thinkstock.
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It happens regularly. Your computer–or other electronic device–gets sluggish and performs poorly. It can be aggravating. But it can also often be cured with a simple fix: reboot.

You turn the thing off, and turn it back on: voila! What wasn’t working before is working now. And all it took was a reboot.

The same thing happens in the human heart. Your prayer life is sluggish…or not working at all. Frustrating as that can be, it can sometimes be solved by a simple reboot. Here are four ways to reboot your prayer life:

Reboot #1:  A New Place
A simple change of scenery may be enough to reset your spiritual operating system. The impact of a church conference or retreat often owes as much to the mystique–and change in pace–of a new place than to the speaker or topic.

Try getting to the park for an extended time of prayer. If the weather’s nice, spread a blanket by the lake and instead of praying with your eyes closed, lie on your back and let your prayers ascend into the cloud-filled heavens.

Or take a mini-retreat to a downtown church building. Many places of worship still open their sanctuaries for personal devotion during the day.

Your new place doesn’t have to be a particularly scenic or “inspiring”–I once met with God in an empty hotel ballroom. It can simply be away from the mundane concerns that crowd your daily routine.

Reboot #2:  Pleasure
Another effective way to spark renewal in your prayer life is to connect with a special pleasure. Save that cup of herbal tea or gourmet coffee for your prayer time. Curl up in your favorite chair in front of the fireplace. Or move your quiet time to the bubble bath!

It need not be fancy or expensive. Life’s simple pleasures often are the best…and the best way to “defrag” your soul and get things humming again.

Reboot #3:  A Purchase
One of the best paths to spiritual renewal for me is a new book. I suggest The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer, A Diary of Private Prayer by Kenneth Baillie or even my upcoming The Red Letter Prayer Life.

Maybe a new music CD or download will work better for you. Or a brand-new prayer journal (and an honest-to-goodness fountain pen).

Reboot #4:  A Partner
I discovered long ago that losing weight is much easier when my wife participates with me. Not just because her watchful eye keeps me honest, but also because her mere presence (not to mention her encouragement) motivates me.

That kind of support extends to spiritual matters, too. If your spiritual “hard drive” is sluggish, you might try entering into a prayer covenant with your spouse or a close friend.

Having another person to whom you are accountable provides tremendous motivation (“I just know she’s going to ask me if I prayed today, and I want to be able to tell her ‘yes’”). It’s even better if your circumstances allow you to pray daily, or at least regularly, with a partner. . . or two.

My first prayer partner helped make me faithful to daily prayer by promising to show up on my doorstep every weekday morning at 7:30 a.m. for prayer–and not to call if he couldn’t make it. On the days he didn’t appear by 7:35 or so, I prayed alone (I was already up anyway, after all!). That way, he helped me even when he was absent.

These simple suggestions may not enable you to call down fire from heaven. But they may provide the reboot you need. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

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