As a Christian, I have always recommended starting any practice session with prayer. Paul says to do everything to God’s glory. I remember reading Brother Lawrence’s book years ago. He was a monk from the 1600’s who’s letters have become the book ‘Practicing The Presence of God.’ He talked about peeling potatoes to God’s glory.
The first tip in practicing your guitar is to start with a prayer. The Scriptures also say that you have not because you ask not. You can actually make your practice a time of worship. Thank God for His many wonderful attributes and ask Him for help with keeping focused on Him and with learning the guitar.
You can worship with instrumental music, too. I remember hearing Christopher Parkening, a classical guitarist, say that his motivation for playing the guitar had changed from playing to make money to playing for God’s glory, after he became a Christian.
Warm-up with Finger Exercises
Once your heart is focused on our loving God, then I suggest warming up with some finger exercises. This may be as simple as practicing changing between chords. Eventually I think it’s great to do some guitar scales or this little guitar exercise shown in a previous post.
If you are going through a program like our worship guitar class program, I suggest staying on one lesson for about a week, or until it becomes easier. It does not need to be perfect because playing is cumulative. As you continue to play the guitar over time, your playing should improve.
Try to spend from 20 minutes to an hour as many days of the week as you can. I know people can be very busy, but the benefits to making time for these worship/practice sessions can make it worth the extra effort to find the time. Even if all you have is 5 or 10 minutes, it’s worth it!
Slow Down and Work on Small Sections
Prayer, warmup, then play the specific songs you want to learn to play. If there is a chord change that is difficult for you, slow it down to a snail’s pace. You can isolate the problem spots and as you are playing watch where your fingers will be moving to. You can also break a chord change down by shifting to on a few fingers of the new chord and add fingers as the change gets easier.
Get a Metronome
Down the road, it also quite a good idea to get a metronome to make sure you are playing in a good rhythm.