We assume everyone knows how to pray, but in our world today religion and traditions can make it seem complicated. Simply put, Christian prayer is possible because of Jesus; we can communicate – talk with God! But prayer goes way beyond communication…it encompasses communion with the One and Only God!
We speak of “prayer life” because prayer is to be a constant part of our daily lives. Think about the times that most of us do pray – at church, during our quiet times, before meals, before bed, in times of crisis.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray continually (NIV), without ceasing (KJV and NAS), at all times (Message).
Throughout this website we’ve compared Bible study to eating – which brings about nourishment and growth to our spirit. Let’s think of how to pray as “breathing.”
Just as breathing is essential to our physical lives so our prayer life is essential to our spiritual lives. Breathing consists of both inhaling and exhaling. Likewise, prayer is to be not only a process of talking to God, but also listening or receiving from God. It’s being with Him in His presence!
5 Basics of How to Pray
The Bible is full of Scriptures on prayer commanding us to pray, and also telling us where to pray, how to pray, when to pray, who should pray, and for whom we should pray.
1 – Where to Pray:
Of course we can pray anywhere & anytime, but Jesus tells us where our attitude of prayer should always be:
Matthew 6:6: “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
2 – How to Pray
In Matthew 6:9-15 Jesus tells us how to pray when He gives us the pattern for prayer in what is now referred to as the Lord’s prayer.
“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. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
This model for a thriving prayer life consists of
- submission to His Will,
- petition for daily needs,
- request for forgiveness and protection.
Max Lucado includes a “pocket version” in his book – Before Amen. It gives us a simple way to remember Jesus’ example.
You are good.
I need help. Heal me & forgive me.
They need help.
In Jesus’ name,
The Bible also instructs us to pray “in the Spirit”. As Christians, we are praying to the Father, through the Holy Spirit within us, made possible by the authority of Jesus.
Ephesians 6:18 reminds us to also pray in the Spirit – “Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.”
3 – When to Pray
1 Thessalonians says: “pray continually;”
Ephesians 6:18 says: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
4 – Who Should Pray
In the Sermon on the Mount verses 6-8 of Matthew chapter 6, Jesus repeats three times: “when you pray”… not if you pray. As believers it is the breath of our spiritual life to spend time in prayer with our Heavenly Father.
5 – For Whom We Should Pray
- The saints – Ephesians 6:18 – “keep on praying for all the saints.”
- Our enemies – Matthew 5:44 – “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”
- Everyone including leaders – 1 Timothy 2:1-2 – “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
Creative Christian Prayer Ideas
- P.R.A.Y. Pray, Repent, Ask, Yield
- A.C.T.S Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication
- P.U.S.H. Pray Until Something Happens
- tsp Teaspoon prayers – thanks, sorry, please
Remember P.R.A.Y. – Prayer Releases All Your Eternal Resources! – #ArmorOfGodStudy
How to Pray the Five-Finger Prayer:
- Your thumb is nearest to you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones is, as C.S. Lewis once said, a “sweet duty”.
- The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers.
- The next finger is the tallest finger. It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God’s guidance!
- The fourth finger is our ring finger. Surprising to many is the fact that this is our weakest finger; as any piano teacher will testify. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day and night. You cannot pray too much for them.
- And lastly comes our little finger; the smallest finger of all. Which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. As the Bible says, “the least shall be the greatest among you.” Your pinky should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.
How to Pray Through Your Daily Routine:
- When you first wake up – Praise our Creator
- When you shower or bathe – Ask for cleansing of your soul; confess, repent & receive forgiveness
- When you eat – Give thanks not only for the food, but for your family, home, life, etc.
- When you go to work or school – Pray for those with whom you come into contact
We can even let every breath can make us aware of the importance of our continual prayer life. Not only is our prayer life important for us, but it will become a model for our children also.