Whether you are learning how to pray for the first time or struggling to find the words in a hard season you’ll find tips and examples for growing your faith through prayer. Prayer is such a powerful way to know God and experience Him in your daily life. Simply put– prayer changes things!
If you want your life to change in a big way– start praying. God always hears, always welcomes you talking to Him through prayer. So let’s get started learning how to pray!
1. How to Pray to God if You’re a beginner
It can feel really strange to pray intentionally for the first time. I think a lot of us talk to a higher power in some way, but when you first begin your faith journey prayer can feel elusive or like you’re just talking to the ceiling.
At its core, prayer is simply talking to God. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or use super-spiritual words or sound how anyone else talks to God.
I love listening to my children pray and I’ve learned a lot by listening to their unpretentious prayers.
When they pray they go on long, rambling prayers thanking God for anything from dinosaurs to Grandma’s cookies and asking for help for anyone from the mailman to their mama. It’s so tender and innocent and without shame or worry about “doing it right”.
How to begin a prayer
Most prayers being by addressing God in some way.
- “Dear God,”
- “Dear Jesus,”
These are common ways to start prayers. Jesus started His prayers by addressing God as “Father”. You can also use other names of God found in the Bible as you learn them and they resonate with you or the situation you are praying over.
What to say when you begin to pray
I’m not going to tell you exactly what to say when you pray… it’s a private conversation between you and God. In my post, How to Study the Bible (which is jammed pack with tips on getting started on studying the Bible) I used this prayer as an example of what you could pray during your quiet time:
“Hi Jesus, I read today about you healing a man that was blind. That’s kind of crazy to think about. Some people that are Christians seem to be all about healing and it seems fake, but it didn’t seem fake when you did it. I don’t know. I’m still not sure if it’s real, but you seemed really kind and like you noticed people and I like that about you. I’d like to be like that too….a person that helps others. Thanks for listening. -Amen”
It really can be that simple! Pray the way you talk!
How do you end a prayer?
“Amen” is the traditional way to end a prayer. Amen means “let it be so” or “so be it”. Amen has been used as a closing to prayers for centuries and is an affirmation of your faith for God to hear and act at the end of your prayer.
2. Four Types of Prayers to Pray Regularly
These prayers are all about God. Where you declare Him good, holy, just, kind and adore or bring recognition to WHO HE IS outside of what He does. Think of them as “Wow, God” prayers.
“Wow, God, I’m so struck by your justice. I know one day you will judge every person, every action and you will judge it RIGHTLY. You have never done anything wrong and you never will. You understand justice in a way that is eternal and cosmic and so much bigger than I can comprehend. I honor and marvel at how just you are. Amen”
Confession prayers are just like they sound like–you confess your sins to God. God already knows your sins, yes, but in confessing our sins we find the faithful forgiveness of God. Proverbs 28:13 says, “Whoever conceals their sin does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them find mercy.”
“God I have been so bitter today. Forgive me for my bitterness. I know you love me no matter what, but I want to be made new in your image. Replace my bitterness with compassion. Give me wisdom to understand why I’m continuing to choose a bitter reaction and how I can seek peace and healthy communication with those I love. Amen. “
Thanking prayers are where we get to recount all the ways we are thankful and so blessed by God. Similar to worshipping prayers, but the focus is more on thanking God what He’s done versus celebrating His character.
“Father, thank you for the warm sunshine today. Thank you for this hot cup of coffee and the magical Christmas lights. Thank you for never leaving me or forsaking me–I’ve felt lonely this week, but I know I am never truly alone. Thank you for your grace which you’re pouring out on me everyday. Amen.”
Often called “prayers of supplication”, these prayers are when we ask God for what we need or desire. Often they fill up our prayer life quickly as we ask for God to intervene for sick friends, family members who are hurting, and for our own needs to be met.
Never fear of God tiring of you asking and remember if you are God’s child you can have BOLDNESS as you ask!
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” -Hebrews 4:16
“God please heal little Levi’s body. Bring life back to his brain and body. You are the great physician, the one who called “little girl, rise up” and you can call him to life again. Grant his parents wisdom, strength and peace during this season. May they feel your loving arms wrapped around them today. Amen.”
RELATED: BIBLE STUDY RESOURCES
3. How to Grow Your Prayer Life
- Write out prayers — This is a great way to get comfortable praying aloud as well. I love writing down my prayers and have been doing so for years. I have a space for writing out your prayers in my Bible Study Worksheet as well!
- Use a prayer book to guide you — Sometimes we struggle to find the words to pray, in those moments I find it helpful to pray the words of someone else to God. This is called “liturgical prayer” and has been used by the church for centuries. The Book of Common Prayer and Prayers for Ash and Sunlight are two I recommend.
- Keep a prayer list — Use the notes section on your phone or a classic style journal to record your Asking Prayer List. Date requests and leave space for the answer that God will provide. I love looking back at these lists as a testament to God’s constant working in my life.
- Create a prayer closet — Prayer closets have existed for years, but have recently become popular due to the popular Christian movie, War Room. Prayer closets are private spaced with purposeful, written out prayers you are praying specifically for yourself, your family, your marriage, your government, etc. There are some great tips for creating a prayer closet here, but remember you can pray anywhere at anytime and it is just as effective!
- Make a prayer journal — More than a prayer list, this journal is a place to pour out your heart before God. You can simply write out prayers, have a section for thanksgivings and requests, and have room for artistic prayer journaling.
- Pray with other people — Praying with fellow Christ followers can majorly grow your prayer life. Look for a community of believers to connect with, grow your faith, and pray together and for each other.
I’ve bundled some of my favorite tools for growing your faith together in this Vibrant Quiet Time Bundle!
There is a printable prayer list which is so helpful to see how God brings answers to your faithful prayers. Also it has prayer pages for you to use to regularly pray for important people and situations in your life. Plus, a Bible Study Worksheet to help you process what you read in the Bible and write out prayer responses!
Seriously, this tool will help spur your growth in prayer and give you a visual place to record the ways God moves through your quiet time with Him!
4. Best Books About Prayer to Dive Deeper
She Prays: 31 Days to Confident Conversations with God by Debbie Lindell– If you’re new to faith or just always struggled to find the words or time to pray this is a great introduction to the heart and mindset behind prayer!
Fervent by Priscilla Shirer — If you’re ready to really grow your prayer life with specific and powerful prayers this is a great study! It will help grow the intentionality of your prayer life for sure!
Whispers of Hope by Beth Moore — 10 Weeks of devotional prayer. I like this book because it is set up with Scripture reading, teaching on prayer, and pages to write out prayers each day.
Dangerous Prayers by Craig Groeschel — This book is on my to-read list! Looks like an amazing and encouraging read to challenge your prayer walk!
How to Pray by C.S. Lewis — This is another book I am looking forward to picking up soon. It’s collected essays and exerts of C.S. Lewis on prayer.
While there are many prayer methods, tips and strategies in this post, learning how to pray is as simple as speaking to God.
Speak to him often, write out your prayers to him, grow in your relationship with Him and prayer will become as natural as speaking to your best friend.
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