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Prayer

Avoid the overthink and start praying

1.16.2024 • 2 Comments

In our Rhythms and Signature journals, you’ll see pages with lines to write out prayers to God after the monthly prompts. These are important pages! The prompts are our bread & butter offering but my hope is that it’s merely a stepping stone in how deep your prayers will go this year. It’s like the thing that quiets the noise so you can go deep and not overthink. 

Writing out our prayers help us:

– pray beyond requests
– make a habit of praise and confession
– provide the sweetest legacy of written prayers

how to stop the overthink and start by valerie woerner, new year, journal habits, prayer prompts, get started journaling, write your prayers, get our of your head, 2024We’ve shared some tips about how to pray regularly here but last week, I shared some prompts to get you started on Insta here and the response (and number of saves!) told me you want more! 

Staring at a blank page can be paralyzing especially when it comes to a conversation with the Creator of the Universe. From my interactions with believers (and even our podcast guests), it’s really common to feel insecure when it comes to prayer even if you feel comfortable studying the Bible. So let me first say, this is normal! 

If you overthink prayer, you are not alone. 

With that said, I’d love to help you not overthink prayer and dive right in. 😀

I get so many questions, like: 

– How do I pray the right way?
– What’s prayer actually doing?
– Am I repeating too much?
– Is praying like ____ wrong?

These are all valid questions that I love to talk out but I think often we can get focused so much on the logistics that we forget that this is a conversation with our Father and God. Paul E. Miller equates it to looking at the windshield instead of through it. Methods and techniques can be used in our prayers, but they aren’t the thing we stare at. 

Can you imagine our kids talking to their siblings asking for tips on how to talk to us? We’d think, just come! I want to hear from you. I want to have a relationship with you. I don’t want you to feel afraid you’re going to “mess up” talking to your parent. 

This analogy breaks down a bit because I do think studying prayer is helpful. If you want to feel confident in prayer, that’s amazing! In fact, I wrote a whole book, Pray Confidently and Consistently and a course, Developing a Fluency of Prayer, because I think a solid foundation is vital but not at the cost of avoiding God until we feel like we know everything we need to know to talk to Him. Any tools we use should usher us into God’s presence instead of keep us at a safe distance away while giving the illusion of prayer.

Go to God earlier than you think. More often than you think. And messier than you think. 

In fact, we’re starting right now. 

Here are some prompts to get you started. Prompts for the first written prayer of the year (what I shared in the Insta post), for when our prayers have been me-centered, and when we feel too much shame to go to God.  

PROMPTS FOR THAT FIRST WRITTEN PRAYER OF THE YEAR:

1. Why do you want to talk to God? If you don’t know, write that down too. 

2. What’s something you love about God? Doesn’t need to be exhaustive. We just want to praise God.

3. What are you nervous for this year? What worries occupy your mind? Where do you drift when you want to pray? 

4. What are you hopeful for this year? We give him our worries and our dreams too because dreams can be just as distracting. 

5. What do you need this year? List what comes to mind and if you aren’t sure something is a need, write that too. 

6. Why are you coming to God? What makes you feel God is the person to bring these thoughts to? The answer exposes our expectations. 

how to stop the overthink and start by valerie woerner, new year, journal habits, prayer prompts, get started journaling, write your prayers, get our of your head, 2024

NEXT, SOME PROMPTS IF YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR PRAYERS USUALLY FOCUS ON YOURSELF:

1. Who is someone you recently talked to that could use a prayer? Don’t rush this. Take some time. Then take some more. Some of my favorite moments praying are when God puts someone on my heart that I know isn’t of my own doing. 

2. What is their obvious need? This is easy. Simply write out what their request is that they’ve mentioned. 

3. What is a spiritual need? Check out this post for tips on praying like Paul. Reading his prayers always expands my own prayers beyond the obvious need. 

4. Who was the last person you talked with? Say a prayer for them. 

5. Who is someone who stirs up negative emotions? Ask the Lord to help soften your heart and pray a prayer of blessing on them. Praying blessings over someone we don’t like has incredible power to transform our heart toward them! Check out this post for tips on how to pray for the hard to pray for.

6. Questions to ask God: How can I help someone today? I love closing my prayers with a question for God. It puts me in a posture that the conversation is not over. I’m listening now. In Springboard Prayers, we end each prayer with questions for this reason.

IF YOU FEEL LIKE TOO MUCH OF A SCREWUP COMING TO GOD:

1. Why do you feel embarrassed to come to God? This is obviously a big question but just answer it as best you can directed to Him.

2. Why did you decide to come anyway? This gives us a minute to dwell on who God is and why we can come. If you don’t feel like you have a good answer, don’t overthink. 😉

3. What does the Bible say about God’s love for you? Grab your Bible and be reminded of God’s deep love for you. And if a verse sounds good but doesn’t feel true, pray for God to help you see that verse as real. 

4. What do you need help recognizing / embracing so that you will come to God without hesitation? Here’s where you share what you need God’s help.

5. What do you need to confess to the Lord? Simply start, “I confess…”. Don’t be afraid of being repetitive if it’s a pattern of sin you’ve confessed multiple times. Don’t be afraid of it feeling too big or too small. 

6. What do you want to do next? What steps of obedience can you take when you finish praying? 

Ok prayer warriors, there you have it! If you find this helpful, let me know in the comments and let me know what other scenarios you’d love prompts for! 

And if you don’t have Springboard Prayers, I highly recommend it as a great tool to help kick start your prayers. In the book are 125 prayers based on emotions, circumstances and places and more that include a prayer as well as followup questions that can guided a continued prayer.

Just start now!

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Comments (4)

Sweet reminder of staying on the Word, letting Jesus hold
you and change you for His glory and your peace and purpose

This is such a timely post, thank you! I will use these prompts for later in my journal.
Earlier in the afternoon I was thinking of writing what does the Bible say about God's love for me. Oftentimes, I tend to feel like a screwup coming to God in prayer and worship. I am more of an over thinker than I intend to be. Praying that God will renew my mind.

Of course Allisa! We want to identify those lies we are telling ourselves and find a truth to pray about it in the word. Keep going friend. We are praying for you 🙂