How to Pray: 3 Simple Types
“Prayer and faith are not separate realities that are merely mutually dependent or exist side by side. Prayer is always closely connected with the reality of faith; it is the meeting of a person with God in faith, and finally, it is a form of actualization of faith.” -Father Tadeusz Dajczer- The Gift of Faith
-This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click on and buy through one of these links, I do receive a small percentage. Thank you.
I became a Christian when I was five years old. I’ve been praying to God since then, and probably before, but those memories are foggy. I never prayed out loud, though, not in front of people, not until a few years ago. Though I knew God heard and answered my silent prayers, and I often prayed along in my heart to the spoken prayers of others, I was self-conscious of what other people would think and I was afraid of “doing it wrong.” By the grace of God, that has changed. Through my participation in a small weekly meet-up of Christian women in my home, and our practice of praying for each other, out loud, I learned to let go of my self-consciousness- and I’ve learned that I’m not alone in these feelings about prayer.
I know I’m not the only one who has been afraid to pray out loud, and I know that I’m not the only one who has wondered if even my silent prayers are all wrong or not spiritual enough. I caught myself, just last week, complimenting someone on a “good prayer” that they said out loud because it was eloquent and thoughtful- the unspoken part being, that I didn’t think my prayers measured up.
Here’s the thing: the eloquence of your words is not relevant to whether God hears your prayer. He looks at the heart. As a writer, I’m particularly appreciative of beautiful words, but I must be careful not to let the words get in the way of what is most important when it comes to prayer. Prayer is simply a meeting with God.
Prayer is a vital part of Christian life. Coming to God with an attitude of humility, acknowledging that we need him every day, and understanding that we cannot give that which we do not have- it’s all a part of how we learn and grow in our faith. Everything depends on prayer.
“God does not need human intervention, but despite this, He wants to involve us in His redeeming works of saving the world. If, however, we feel that everything depends on us and our work, then we are trying to carry water in a sieve. When overworked, it is easy to forget that we should, first of all, want to have an audience with the One on whom everything depends, who holds the fate of the world and the fate of each one of us in His hands.” -Father Tadeusz Dajczer- The Gift of Faith
Jesus gave us an example of how to pray, in what is commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer, in Mathew 6:9-13 (ESV):
"Pray then like this: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
I like to use the format of the Lord’s prayer as a reminder to worship God, petition and ask for His will in the world, ask for daily needs, confess my sins, and ask for strength to avoid temptation.
I also find it useful to consider the three different types of prayer that I can offer:
1. Praying in Words- using our mind and our spoken words, being careful of Jesus’s warning not to pray like the pagans who ‘think they are heard because of their many words” (Mt 6:7)
2. Simple prayers of thought- focused on God, this kind of prayer can frequently occur, throughout our days (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We can simplify our prayers even further and become completely silent.
“If you have to entertain some people with words while being with them, then this indicates that they are more or less strangers to you. With a person who is close to you, you can be silent, and you will not be uncomfortable.” -Father Tadeusz Dajczer- The Gift of Faith
3. Prayer of gesture- as simple as a smile directed toward God or showing empty hands (fill these hands with your grace).
An essential element of prayer is not the “right words,” but the desire itself, to enter into the presence of God, humbling yourself before Him and allowing the Holy Spirit to pray within you. God is a loving Father, and though our prayers may be simple, and not always eloquent, he accepts our prayers in the same manner that a kind and loving parent accepts a gift from a child.
Prayer is powerful, not because of what you have to offer in the way of words, but because you offer it to a most powerful God, and because he wants to hear from you. You are loved.
In Jesus name, you can go directly to God in prayer. If you would like me to join you in praying for a specific prayer request, feel free to leave a comment or contact me privately through the form at the top of the page.