Prayer is an important spiritual discipline for Christians. Some people think that all prayers must be well though-out, be long collections of thoughts, and hold deep theological thoughts. In truth, prayer is a simple way to talk to God. Consider God to be a close, personal friend, and just say what is on your heart and mind.

Prayer can be out loud or can be thoughts said to yourself.

What you pray is not as important as how regularly you pray. As a general practice, try to set aside time to pray each day. A good goal is five times each day. Sound difficult? Think of it this way:

  • When you wake up — Pray for good results for the day.
  • Before breakfast — Thank God for the food you are about to eat, giving thanks that it is plentiful or that you have food to eat at that time.
  • Before lunch — Thank God for the food, and ask that the food would nourish your body.
  • Before supper — Thank God for the food, and ask for a blessing for the people who brought the food from farm to table.
  • Before you go to sleep — Thank God for the day, for what happened that day, and ask for a good night’s sleep.

PRAY as an Acronym

You also can think of PRAY as an acronym:

  • P — Praise — Start by lifting God up in praise. Thank God for the presence of God in your life, for the blessings in your life, and for the creation in which we are able to live. Think of this as a time to give thanks.
  • R — Repent — We are all sinners, and we all need God’s forgiveness. At some point during your prayer, confess your sins to God and ask for forgiveness. Remember to ask God to help you avoid such a sin in the future. We won’t always be able to avoid sin, but we should come to prayer with an intention of doing better.
  • A — Ask — Many people think prayer is a time to ask God for what you want. That’s true! But that is only a small part of prayer. We are taught in the Bible to “ask and you shall receive.” So ask God for what you sincerely hope will happen, but don’t stop with yourself, your family and friends. For example, why not pray for wisdom, strength and courage for leaders in your community, state and nation.
  • Y — Yield — While we are invited to ask for what we want, it’s equally important to yield to God. Follow the example of Jesus. As he went to the cross, he prayed that he not have to die but that God’s will be done in his life. Take time in prayer to ask God to make God’s will come to fruition in your life. It’s an act of faith that God will do what is best for you.


Jesus Taught Us How to Pray

Jesus taught his disciples how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13. Here are two versions.

The first is from the Common English Bible, a more contemporary wording of the scripture:

Our Father who is in heaven,
uphold the holiness of your name.
Bring in your kingdom
so that your will is done on earth as it’s done in heaven.
Give us the bread we need for today.
Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you,
just as we also forgive those who have wronged us.
And don’t lead us into temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.

A more common version is from the King James Version, which is the version most often recited as part of a worship service:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.