How to Pray
Whether you are a new Christian or a longtime Christian, prayer may be a struggle for you. Don’t beat yourself up.
Many people assume that as soon as they become a Christian they will know how to pray, but this isn’t exactly true.
Depending on several factors, including your personal background and church experience, you may be unsure of how to pray.
The first thing to know is that it isn’t complicated. If it feels complicated, it’s because we are making it complicated.
In its essence, prayer is simply talking to God. But many Christians find this difficult because God doesn’t generally talk back like humans do. As a result, it can make you feel like you don’t know how to pray.
What you need to remember is that God hears us when we pray.
Got Questions explains, “God does not answer our prayers based on when we pray, where we are, what position our body is in, or in what order we word our prayers. We are told in 1 John 5:14-15 to have confidence when we come to God in prayer, knowing He hears us and will grant whatever we ask as long as it is in His will.”
Don’t give up on prayer – it is an essential part of your relationship with God!
While there isn’t one right way to pray, there are some things you can do that will make your prayer life more meaningful.
Why You Should Pray
Being a Christian is all about having a personal relationship with God. No relationship works without communication.
Prayer is communication with God. It deepens our relationship with Him and strengthens our faith.
During prayer, we can do several things, such as praise God, ask for forgiveness, thank Him, and ask him for help.
A Guide to Prayer
Don’t feel bad if you don’t know how to pray. Even Jesus’ disciples had to be taught how to pray using The Lord’s Prayer!
Jesus told his disciples, that “this, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’ (Matthew 6:9-13)
Some people memorize The Lord’s Prayer, but you don’t have to. That said, I do believe it is helpful as a prayer guide.
- “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” The prayer begins by identifying us as a child of God and the relationship we have with Him.
- “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We tend to want to jump right to asking God to meet our needs, but it is good to remember that God is in control.
- “Give us today our daily bread.” Here we are reminded that we can ask God to meet our needs.
- “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Cru explains, “Forgiveness was at the heart of Jesus’ teaching during His time on earth, and it’s here at the heart of His guide to prayer. Jesus first models asking forgiveness for anything you have done that displeases God. Second, He reminds you to consider any unforgiveness you might have toward another person and ask Him to help you forgive them.”
- “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” The Lord’s Prayer ends by addressing spiritual battle and asking for God’s protection.
There are some other prayer guides Christian use, including the A.C.T.S. prayer.
ACTS is an acronym that gives a basic model on how to pray: with Adoration, with Confession, with Thanksgiving, and with Supplication. Beginning with Adoration and ending with supplication.
- A (Adoration): Glorifying and showing adoration for God. “Lord, you are holy and worthy of praise.”
- C (Confession): Confessing our sins and seeking forgiveness. “Lord, I’m sorry I sinned when I [fill in the blank]. Help me to overcome the temptation to sin this way again.”
- T (Thanksgiving): Thanking God for what He has done. “Thank you, God, for sending your son to die for my sins.”
- S (Supplication): Praying for our needs and the needs of others. “Lord, give me wisdom as I parent. Help my spouse as he deals with work-related stress.”
Some Christians follow the U.I.O. prayer model. This prayer model helps you focus as you pray.
- U (Upward): Starting by praying upward (think God in Heaven). Praise him and worship him.
- I (Inward): Next, look inward as you pray. What does your heart look like? What is happening inside?
- O (Outward): Finally, close your prayer by considering those outside of you. What help do they need and how can you help?
How to Pray
Please remember the point of prayer is to communicate with God. It isn’t to fulfill a duty or sound like a saint.
You can kneel, stand, lay prostrate, keep your eyes closed, or keep your eyes opened. What matters is that you bring your heart to God.
Got Questions explains, “We are to express our love, gratitude, and worship to God in prayer without worrying about having just the right words to say. God is more interested in the content of our hearts than the eloquence of our words.”
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