14 Unconventional Signs of a Vital Prayer Life

Keith KettenringAncient Paths, Christian Living, Prayer & Fasting, The Uncommon Journey

I once foolishly told a friend as we discussed revitalizing our Wednesday night “prayer meeting,” “Prayer is not all that important. What we need to do is study the Bible.” I couldn’t have been more wrong. This showed that I did not know prayer. Even worse, I did not know God in prayer. Thankfully, God has not allowed me to stay in this condition. Slowly, over many years, communion with God is beginning to take on a more prominent place in my daily living. I stumble along the journey of prayer grasping onto the rails of those prayer champions who’ve gone before.  

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From my many failures and few successes with prayer, I see 13 indicators of a vital prayer life:

  1. You pray throughout the day. Prayer “without ceasing” is becoming a reality. 
  2. You give thanks consistently at meals and for many things. “In everything give thanks” is really happening. 
  3. You eagerly anticipate and enjoy communing with God in prayer. Like Jesus, who often “in the morning before dawn” met with his Father, you eagerly seek God in prayer.  
  4. You pray knowing it to be the most important aspect of your life. “Prayer is the primary work of the moral and religious life. The root of this life is a free and conscious relationship with God, which then directs everything.” Theophan the Recluse (1815-1894)
  5. Your capacity for real love is growing. Even those you once despised, now receive your affection. 
  6. You pray with little concern for the outcome. You leave the answers to prayer in the hands of a merciful God. 
  7. Your heart is in perpetual peace. An inner calm pervades. “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 23.6 NASB).  
  8. Your praying does not always consist of words. It’s good enough to simply be with God; words would interfere. 
  9. Praying has become more inward. God meets you where He dwells – your heart. 
  10. Your praying involves physical movement. You’ve become comfortable with standing, bowing, prostrating, crossing yourself, lifting hands, or looking at an sacred object. 
  11. You pray at set times and with structure. You don’t “wing it” often. Liturgical prayers are meaningful and the source of good doctrine and thought. You are no longer searching for the “right words” to say or how to say them. 
  12. Few people know about your prayer life. You “go to your closet and pray in secret.”  God is your reward. 
  13. Godly virtues are the primary results of your communion with God. The fruit of the Spirit is experienced more and more. 
  14. You really pray. Though you enjoy reading and hearing about prayer, they are no substitute. Prayer is actually what you do in church, in solitude, in life. 

How many of these indicators characterize your prayer life? 

Many Christians measure the vitality of their prayer life by numbers – how many prayers are answered, how many prayer meetings you attend, or how much time you spend in prayer.

But, the journey of prayer primarily involves developing a heart that knows God in union with Him. A heart in communion with God is always in prayer.

How’s your prayer life? How does it show signs of life? Share below. 

Dr. K