Four Ways to Ignite Your Prayer Life

  • 19 February 2018
  • Randy Wollf

praying handsHow’s your prayer life?

If you’re like me, there’s room for improvement. I want to develop a lifestyle of prayer where I naturally worship, give thanks, and petition God throughout the day. How can we ignite our prayer life and move in a stronger direction? Here are four suggestions:

Try Some Different Approaches to Prayer

We sometimes need to shake up our usual approach to prayer to revitalize it. In her book Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices that Can Transform Us, Adele Calhoun describes several approaches to prayer that you might find helpful for reinvigorating your prayer life (I have included some of her ideas in my list below).

The Power of Gratitude

  • 9 January 2017
  • Keith Reed

LightningMy six-year-old has a gratitude journal. I’d like to say I came up with the idea, but all the credit goes to his Grade 1 teacher. Writing in a gratitude journal is a regular part of my son’s school schedule. He doesn’t attend a private school; his teacher simply understands the power of giving thanks.

I don’t use the word “power” loosely. A life motivated by acts of gratitude looks decisively different than a life devoid of thanks. Consider these survey findings from a group of psychologists: 

  • 90% of people surveyed found that expressing gratitude made them more joyful
  • 84% said it reduced stress and depression and increased optimism
  • 78% said it gave them more energy*

These results are cited in a book called 10 Mindful Minutes that inspired my son’s teacher to make gratitude journaling a regular part of her curriculum (children require teaching to cultivate gratitude since most aren’t naturally thankful). This book is just one title from a growing segment of writers who proclaim the merits of saying “thank-you” (Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts is an excellent guide on how to embrace everyday blessings).

Many of us choose to make goals or resolutions throughout the year. These are steps we take to assess what’s wrong with our lives and to search for solutions that will hopefully increase our happiness. Resolutions are attempts to “re-solve” a matter with a new sense of commitment. Resolutions are honourable and effective when structured in the right way (here's a resource on how to develop a personal growth plan), but I’m not convinced that many goals will measure up to the value of giving thanks. A life that reflects daily gratitude is a life that is filled with joy, patience, and generosity.

Making Change Stick: 4 Disciplines of Execution for Your Ministry

  • 14 October 2016
  • Randy Wollf

If you’re like me, you’ve seen many wonderful change initiatives start off strong only to be abandoned and forgotten after a few years. How can we implement change that lasts? In their book, The 4 Disciplines of Execution, McChesney, Covey, and Huling describe a process that can help any organization make change stick over the long haul. We've implemented their 4-part strategy as a MinistryLift team and it has provided us with consistent traction toward our goals. Here's how it works:

Discipline #1 – Determine Your Wildly Important Goal(s) (WIGs)

“Don’t ask ‘What’s most important?’ Instead, begin by asking, ‘If every other area of our operation remained at its current level of performance, what is the one area where change would have the greatest impact?’”1 

With WIGs, less is more. If you have 2-3 goals, you are likely to achieve all of them. If you have 4-10 goals, you will likely achieve only 1-2 of these goals. With 11-20 goals, you will probably achieve none of them.

In MinistryLift (a ministry dedicated to providing non-formal training to churches), our WIG for this year is to increase participation by 50% in our five training ministries (live participation in training events, video views in our Resource library, blog views, and engagement via Facebook and Twitter).

Discipline #2 – Act on the Lead Measures

As we think about achieving WIGs, it’s helpful to differentiate between lag and lead measures. Lag measures capture what has already happened and what we can no longer control. For example, with the MinistryLift WIG, we can look at data from the past to see how we’re tracking in each of the five training ministries. Lag measures are important. Yet, if we want to accomplish our WIG, we need to be proactive and take steps that move those lag measures in the right direction. These steps are lead measures (what we can control moving forward).