I Don't Know How To Pray! Help!

So you’re ready to pray but not exactly sure what to do or what should happen. You want to pray but you feel a bit tongue-tied and uncertain. Here’s a simple tool that’s been helpful to many in learning to connect with God in prayer. 

Approaching the all powerful, ever-mighty God, let alone speaking to Him can be intimidating. The good news is that although God is all-mighty and all-powerful, He is also all-loving. He is our Father and He loves to be with His children.

He knows you intimately and He wants to be intimately known by you as well. When we first start any kind of relationship, sometimes we become tongue-tied and don’t quite know what to say, but the more get to know the person, the more talking becomes easier. When you start having a conversation with God, it may start off the same way. You might feel awkward and unsure of yourself, but God is patient and kind, and He wants to hear your voice! As you continue to develop your relationship with God praying becomes easier.

This simple tool can guide a time of prayer whether you have 3 minutes or 30. It’s an easy to remember acronym of the word pray.

P - Pause
R - Rejoice and Reflect
A - Ask
Y - Yield

So let’s break it down…

Begin prayer by stopping to become present to God. God is always with us but becoming present to Him and quiet enough for a real conversation takes intention and practice. Life is busy. There’s a lot on our minds and a lot of voices vying for our attention.

Psalm 46:10 says simply Be still and know that I am God. So, take a few deep breathes and ask God to help you quiet yourself. Turn off or put away any distractions. Remember who it is you are going to have a conversation with. Remember that He is God and you are not. That in itself is a big relief and a great place to start.

Here we begin to talk to God and interact with Him, beginning with gratitude and praise. Gratitude thanks God for what He has done---His many kindness to us like a friend’s listening ear, food to eat, the beauty of creation or a recent answer to prayer. Praise adores God for who He is, telling Him things you appreciate about Him---things like His unconditional and unfailing love, His patience, or His deep goodness and justice.

Depending on the amount of time you have this is a great place in your prayer time to ask God to speak to you through His Word. The Bible is one of the most important and ways we get to know God. You can reflect on a passage of Scripture using a paper Bible or a Bible app.

A great place to start is by reading about the life and teaching of Jesus in the gospels. Scripture tells us that we learn mostly accurately what God is like by looking at Jesus.

The ask part usually comes more naturally for us but we can still wonder what we should ask for. A great place to start is: What do you want Jesus to do for you? Do you need provision for a job? Wisdom for a relationship? Asking for help for others in need is a gift you can give them. Scripture teaches us also to pray for our world, for governments, for peace, for the marginalized and oppressed.

The last prayer segment in this acronym is what allows us to let go of control and release everything to God. One way to pray it would be like this---

Father thank you for listening to my requests. I surrender the outcome to Your will trusting that You know best. Help me to release control to You now and rest in Your love, Amen.

Jesus taught us to pray this way in the Lord’s prayer---Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done.

Learn More

The acronym P.R.A.Y is adapted from Pete’s work. Lectio 365 is a great app you can also check out. Remember your goal isn’t cool prayer tools it’s finding what helps you personally connecting with God. To earn to hear His voice so that you can respond with obedience and move into the life of goodness and love that He dreams of for you!

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