1. Have a "Mini Worship Time." Listen to praise music before you begin your quiet time. I love to do this while I drink my coffee. Sometimes, I sing along. (Fortunately no one can hear me.) Even try singing without music. I do this sometimes before or after praying, and it is very uplifting. "Sing to God, sing praise to His name" (Psalm 68:4).

2. Begin with a Bible Reading or Devotional. Even a short reading can help get your mind focused on God. I love to read the Psalms and the Gospels. (The Message, by Eugene H. Peterson is great for this.) I start with a devotional, and then spend time in God's Word. He often uses this time to speak to me. Many devotionals are available at Christian bookstores, such as My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.

3. Use a Prayer Journal. A prayer journal is simply a list of people and things to pray for. It keeps you focused and consistent in your time with God. How many times have you forgotten to pray for someone? Once it is in the journal, you will not forget. (Tip: To get it into the journal, jot it down on a piece of paper or in your planner right away.) I use one from Chuck Swindoll's Insight for Living. It is organized by weeks, so you have a daily/weekly list and an everyday list. It also has space for answered prayers, which is great because it shows what God is doing in your life. It helps you be a person of prayer. "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16).

4. Get Out of the Rut. "And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition" (Matt. 6:7 NASB). Occasionally, your prayer time may get stale. Change it! If you usually sit in a chair, get on your knees, or stand up. Ask God to restore you. Read something. Listen to some music. Sing something. Go to a different place. One morning, as I got ready to pray, I felt distant from God. I said "Lord, I do not feel very close to you today. I'm sorry." I decided to listen to some music instead. While listening to a song about "the Redeemer," God wrapped His arms around me, and I was on my knees in tears, overwhelmed by His presence. He said "Jim, I was here the whole time. My love for you does not change. You're the one who changes." I ended up having an awesome prayer time that morning!

Step out in faith and become intimate with God in prayer.

For the original article, visit menofintergrity.org.

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