- Religion and Philosophy
Easy Step-By-Step Instructions on How to Pray
Discover How Easy it is to Pray
When I first became a Christian one of my first hurdles was learning how to pray. I attended a number of weeks of a Prayer Night in our church and it just confused me further. I was hoping to find some sort of simple three step plan on how to pray but instead discovered long-winded preambles, lengthy requests and long-winded and often repeated over and over praises and comments. Sure, all of those things are important to prayer, but for someone just beginning my Christian walk it was intimidating, scary and somewhat beyond where I thought I was in my faith.
Five Simple Parts to Prayer
I have simplified the process considerably and use a method that I am going to share with you. Before I break down my five simple parts of prayer you need to understand something very important. God hears you regardless of how pretty, formal, informal or scattered your prayer may be. He already knows what is on your heart before you say it, and He can filter all the stumbling, pauses, tongue-tied moments and hear the important parts you are trying to get across. Also, I try not to get over complicated. I have short parts and long parts. I have short prayers and long prayers. God hears them all.
Part One – The Opening
Right out of the gates I praise God for all He does for me. I thank Him for whatever has happened in the recent past – sometimes something specific from the past day – but mostly I give thanks for all things. I also have a short list of items I give thanks for ranging from my marriage and house to another sunny day. It gets my mind in the right frame for my prayer and I think it is an easy first step in learning how to pray. God is the creator of all things so why not acknowledge that with a big, giant thank you?
Part Two – Forgiveness
Next I will ask God to forgive anything I may have done since my last prayer that did not align with what His plans are for me. I use a variation of the line from the Lord’s Prayer where I will say, “Please forgive my trespasses and continue to teach me to forgive those who trespass against me (us).” It’s never a long part, but an important part just the same.
Part Three – Guidance
This is the part of my prayer that I’ve already stepped into with the last part of the line, “…and continue to teach me to forgive those who trespass against me (us).” I will expand on that asking for a number of things that would be considered guidance and that can be anything from a word or sign to continue to show me that I am on the right path. He rarely lets me down when I ask for such a thing.
Part Four – Requests
Here is the place I had my most difficulty when I was trying to figure out how to pray. It wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to ask for, but when combined with praying for others, I felt um, awkward asking. Remember, God already knows what I’m about to ask Him for, so it shouldn’t be hard to just say it. I request a few things for myself, my wife Brenda and then a series of requests for a select few people in my life and then some generic items. They can be anything like praying for more growth in our church and health for my wife to praying for wisdom for our Pastor and confidence for a member of the congregation.
Part Five – The Closer
I rarely make this much longer than it needs to be. I generally say something like, “In Jesus’ name, Amen” and consider that my good-bye. I have rarely sat in a group prayer of any kind where it is much longer than that. I think the whole point in having a closing statement is to give the entire conversation a logical book end. It has a beginning and an end and both are clearly defined. It depends entirely on where you learn how to pray and what feels comfortable to you.
Other Important Tips About Prayer
The important thing to keep in mind is that God is your friend. He wants to hear from you and all you have to do is keep it conversational. You are having a chat with God and there is no need to fill it with an incredible amount of procedure and ceremony. All you have to do is continue to pray and to pray daily. Now that you know how to pray, why not start with one now?
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