In college, I was on a mission trip with my church and my pastor asked me to pray before we left to serve that day. I was terrified! I wonder how long I stared at him wondering if he was serious… At the age of 21, I hadn’t ever prayed over a room full of people.
Firstly, I was thinking, “This is like public speaking, only worse because a prayer has to be well thought out!”
Lord only knows what I said…
For those of you feeling the same, you can grab my Free How to Pray printable journal!
Secondly, I soon realized that was the norm for my pastor. He would stop, at any given point throughout his day, and pray over people and ask whomever he was with to pray over strangers, even the clerk at a fast food restaurant!
Lesson learned: He prays boldly.
Practice makes pretty
I remember my mom telling me that someone she knew was a beautiful prayer. This gal could think quick on her feet and pray in front of a group of people. And her words were beautiful and eloquent.
I remember thinking, sarcastically, “Yeah, mine too.” Haha
Or “Said no one ever about me…”
But, I realized that was something that I wanted for myself. So, I started practicing, by writing out prayers. Some people are great at publicly sharing their prayers, some are good at writing their prayers. I am the latter.
I would practice by writing things that were weighing heavily on my heart and also for friends going through a tough time. Then, I would text them the prayer, I was praying over them. Moreover, you can read more about the 6 ways to encourage a friend in Christ here.
Practicing definitely helps, so I wanted to share some prayer discoveries and some awesome prayer examples with you!
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What is prayer?
Prayer is a way of addressing God. Prayer can be thanking God for providing for our needs, thanking Him for being who He is, or maybe leaning on Him during a difficult time.
Something that I forget to do more often in prayer is repent. Just the other day, I realized I am probably not recognizing my sin and repenting often enough to God.
I think that is normal, but normal for mankind isn’t the path we’re all striving for.
why prayer is important?
God calls us to have a relationship with Jesus. Jesus said: “No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 NIV
But, how do you have a relationship with someone you can’t see?
Through prayer and reading His Word!
Steps in How to pray
Are your prayers long, short or routine?
My prayers definitely vary every time I say them. Depending on who I am with, or if I am by myself, my prayers are based on what I am surrounded by…
When I am with others, I like to thank God for them and/or my time with them.
Thanking God for the food He has provided is probably our most common time to pray. Which is great. Thanking Him for all He provides throughout the day is a great way of praising Him.
So, is three times a day enough?
How often Should I pray?
All throughout the day!
Even though it sounds like a lot, when I stop and pray for guidance, to get through my day, I end up getting way more accomplished and am less flustered.
Work smarter, not harder. Learning to worship God throughout the day will help you increase your wisdom in every area of your life.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 ESV
Learn how to Pray from EXAMPLES In the Bible
The Bible has some awesome examples of how to pray.
For instance, Solomon was the wisest (other than Jesus) and the richest man who has ever lived. Solomon prayed over a temple he built for God to dwell among His people, the Israelites.
In Bible study, I read this prayer over and over. I was amazed by Solomon’s humility. He gets down on his knees by the end of the prayer in front of his nation. Solomon gives a great example of praising God and praying boldly to God for his people.
“But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!28 Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. 29 May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place.30 Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive. 1 Kings 8:27-30 NIV
Read the whole prayer of Solomon here.
Do I even do that in front of my own family?
Further, David’s prayer is another example of praising God with prayer and song. Here David is praising God as an All-Knowing God. David wrote Psalm 139 to be turned into a song by the choirmaster.
Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side. Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you. Psalm 3 NIV
You can see from these examples there are all sorts of things you can take away from other’s prayers. In addition, if you’re wanting more examples, here are 222 Prayers of the Bible for additional guidance.
How to pray and what to say
This part of prayer is my favorite. There is seriously so much to be thankful for, I could go on forever.
The beauty of the earth, my family, my marriage, my work, my kids, my friends, my food… You get the idea.
The things that are harder to thank God for are my struggles. In my life, I have went through breakups, loneliness and hard financial times.
So, why would I thank God for that?
For instance, this year, I could really see that everything God allows to happen in our lives is to guide us into a deeper relationship with Him. In addition, you can read more about finding God in your hardships here.
He cares for us so much. God consistently tries to guide us on the path He has for our lives. So, He may throw in a hardship to show us where our attention needs to be focused.
asking god for forgiveness
Unfortunately, I focus on this area of prayer too little.
It seems as if we only need to be “good” people to make it to heaven, in our current culture. I am not sure where that idea started; but, it is Satan at work, for sure.
As a believer, I need to repent for my sins all the time. Once I truly repent, I don’t need to keep rehashing it with God; but, I do need to repent for new sins.
Above all, His mercies are new every morning!
In addition, you can read more about how to truly apologize to God and repent here.
How to Pray boldly
Again, my pastor was a bold prayer. So, he would pray for people he didn’t know, anywhere!
However, there are other ways of praying boldly, too!
You can pray with faith because God can do the impossible. Or you can ask Him to reveal to you His plan for your life. You can think of that one thing that worries you most and pray that God gives you an answer, heals the hurt or softens a heart!
How to pray Using the attributes of god
The 15 Attributes of God is a fabulous place to start in prayer.
Since God is love, God is everything!
Here are some ways to add His attributes in your prayer:
We can thank Him for our jobs, food, homes, families, friends, transportation, church, …
He is the Maker, Son of God, His Glory, His Splendor, He created the oceans, mountains, flowers, fields, sky, our families, our children, marriage, …
Guide me, direct my family, make my path straight, …
Shield my heart from, guard me, because You keep me safe, …
Because of Your love, thank You for caring for me and my family in every situation, thank You for loving me so much You teach me lessons the hard way when I veer off Your path, …
Your Word is something I can trust, You are the Truth, the Way, and the Life, …
You wait for me to find my way back to You, You let me make my own decisions and patiently wait for me, because you are so loving…
Jesus, You never wavered, You stood Your ground even when everyone mocked and ridiculed You and You did it all for me, …
Open my eyes to Your plan, grant us peace, because You are so great, …
Move in me a desire to, protect me from Satan’s games,…
Thank You for always, You are I AM, because You never leave my side, …
You will never leave me or forsake me, …
Search me, teach me, show us, walk with me, be my friend, be gentle with me in teaching me, because You care for me so much, …
Lord, You gave me the commandments to follow and You sent Your Son, Jesus, to save me from myself, You have perfect standards and I fall short, …
how to Pray: Praising God
God made us all different – hallelujah!
I love praising God through more creative outlets…
When I was younger, I liked to sing. Now, I enjoy writing. Also, throwing parties to spend time with friends and family and designing printables – like the one below!
So, what did God design you to do to praise Him? Are you great at helping others? Maybe you are caring and can share God with others through your loving actions…
Free ‘How to Pray’ Journal Printable
In other words, learning how to pray and what to say in your quiet time with God takes practice. So, I created a little prayer cheat sheet. This free “How to Pray” printable will walk you through:
- The steps of praying
- Questions to ponder
- Journaling spaces
DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE PRINTABLE
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How to Pray Conclusion
Firstly, praying regularly, all throughout the day, will bring you so much peace. Through prayer, we can accomplish so much more and find joy in life.
Lastly, learning how to pray and what to say brings so much clarity to our lives. So, we can learn to truly live for His purpose, instead of our own!
So, what is your favorite way to pray?