For years I would read my Bible then move directly into prayer. While my time in the Word seemed profitable my prayers more often than not seemed dry, cold, and unfeeling. Many times I would finish prayer more anxious than when I had started. About 2 years ago I made a change. Instead of reading the Bible then jumping to prayer, I began to insert meditation between Bible reading and prayer. What a change! Now two years later I was blessed to see this same thing happen in the life of a famous Christian.
George Müller (1805-1898), a founding member of the Plymouth Brethren movement and the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol England, developed life of prayer that Christians marvel at to this day. In his memoirs he tells of a personal breakthrough he experienced in his prayer life.
The difference between my former practice and my present one is this. Formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible, and generally spent all my time till breakfast in prayer, or almost all the time. At all events I almost invariably began with prayer… But what was the result? I often spent a quarter of an hour, or half an hour, or even an hour on my knees, before being conscious to myself of having derived comfort, encouragement, humbling of soul, etc.; and often after having suffered much from wandering of mind for the first ten minutes, or a quarter of an hour, or even half an hour, I only then began really to pray.
I scarcely ever suffer now in this way. For my heart being nourished by the truth, being brought into experimental fellowship with God, I speak to my Father, and to my Friend (vile though I am, and unworthy of it!) about the things that He has brought before me in His precious Word.
It often now astonished me that I did not sooner see this. In no book did I ever read about it. No public ministry ever brought the matter before me. No private intercourse with a brother stirred me up to this matter. And yet now, since God has taught me this point, it is as plain to me as anything, that the first thing the child of God has to do morning-by-morning is to obtain food for his inner man.
As the outward man is not fit for work for any length of time, except we take food, and as this is one of the first things we do in the morning, so it should be with the inner man. We should take food for that, as every one must allow. Now what is the food for the inner man; not prayer, but the Word of God; and here again not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it, and applying it to our hearts….
Müller realized the same thing I had. The secret to powerful moving prayer, in which the mind doesn’t wander is meditation. Don’t read the word so that is runs like water through a pipe.