MiniZine: Help for a Sick Prayer Life (PDF download)

  • 9 November 2009

Paul’s noble friend Epaphras was always “struggling” on behalf of the Colossians in his prayers (Col 4:12).

Most Christians know what that struggle is like. Prayer is deceptively natural and easy—a child can do it. And yet persevering in prayer is agonizingly hard. All long-term Christians will testify to the many and various ways in which they fail in the struggle, and drift into prayerlessness.

The three articles in this MiniZine will not suddenly solve the problem, or eliminate the struggle. But, God willing, they will provide you with weapons, armour and a renewed courage for the battle.


  • Diagnosing a sick prayer life, by Tony Payne
  • The basics of prayer, by Paul Grimmond
  • Praying in small groups, by Colin Marshall
  • Discussion guide

Introduction: How would you rate your prayer life?

Most Christians would answer: “Oh, not nearly as good as it should be”. But that raises the potentially disturbing question: “Well, how good should it be?”

Should prayer flow out naturally from us, like fragrance from a flower? Should we be leaping out of bed in the morning, and positively sprinting to our chosen place for prayer, eager not to waste a second?

Well, one day we will speak to God like that (it’s called ‘heaven’), but in the meantime prayer will be a battle.

We are still weighed down by sin and weakness, and like the disciples we find ourselves falling asleep on the job. We should expect, in other words, to struggle in prayer.

This is why the Bible is so full of exhortations to keep praying, and not to give up. “Continue steadfastly in prayer”, Paul urges the Colossians, “being watchful in it with thanksgiving”.

So perhaps a better question would be: How is your prayer battle going? Are you continuing to fight? Or have you laid down your weapons and surrendered? This is what many Christians mean when they say their prayer life is “not nearly as good as it should be”. They have largely given up praying because it is too hard, and they are too busy, and life is pressing in, and things seem to go on by themselves anyway, and … you know the rest of the excuses by heart.

The three articles in this MiniZine are designed to get you back on track. The first looks more closely at the reasons we don’t pray; the second gives us a refresher in the basics of prayer to help us get started (or re-started); and the third discusses how our small groups can be a very significant encouragement and help to prayer.

I pray that the result will not just be guilt, but a rejuvenated enthusiasm to rejoin the battle of prayer.

— Tony Payne

What is a MiniZine?
It's not a booklet, or a leaflet, or a tract. It's not a full-sized magazine either. It's somewhere in the middle: a short collection of articles, in an economical, easy-to-read format, with a discussion guide included.

The aim is simple: to provide high-quality Bible-based input to help Christians encourage each other.

MiniZines are ideal for giving away, for starting personal conversations, and for small group discussion.