“I don’t know how to pray!”
It’s a common enough cry. And many people throw that roadblock up and then don’t even try. But prayer is just not about how. There’s no right method that you have to learn.
If you’re praying your’e talking and listening to God. God wants your honest communication. And you have a gift from God to help you. Something that will show you how so many people have prayed and how you can too — the Bible!
The Bible contains 66 books written over a 1500 year span and it’s full of prayer. Prayer that you can use. “Praying scripture”, as this is often called, is a powerful way to pray as you can use God’s own words in the Bible.
Let’s look at a few options:
Jesus taught His followers the Lord’s Prayer and it’s still got to be #1 on charts for ways to pray. [okay, there aren’t actually top 10 prayer charts but if they were!] It’s not complex but then again, it is. There is so much in The Lord’s Prayer
Many people learned the KJV version of this one back when they were kids and they can just pray it without hesitation. [I don’t even know when I learned it but I did].
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins;
for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
It starts with honouring God, acknowledging His place as Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Then we ask for provision of our needs, give confession of our own sinfulness and forgiveness for others. Followed by the request to God to protect us from Satan’s plots and our own weaknesses. The Lord’s Prayer covers all the bases and does so with significant dependence on God. You might feel like it’s old school or easy or something but really, it’s Jesus’ teaching on prayer. How you going to beat that?
A second option is mining the book of Psalms for prayers. They are full of them. Praise psalms, cries for help, laments, confessions, begging for mercy and glorifying God in the midst of joy and sadness. If you turn to the Psalms you’ll likely find something to speak to what you’re experiencing right now. Haven’t tried it lately? Go on, give it a shot.
Psalm 23…The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want…KJV
Psalm 119:18…Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law. NIV
Psalm 91:4…He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings. NLT
Psalm 139:23…Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my thoughts. NRSV
Third, you could go to a passage which describes the blessings and growth that God gives. Look to those and pray for what it says.
Try focusing on a particular book of the Bible and see what prayers it can lead you in. Ephesians for example has lots of material. Chapter 3, verse 18 can prompt you to ask for understanding and experience of the true enormity of God’s love. Chapter 5, verses 21 to 33 give thoughtful guidance on what to prayer for in your marriage or earlier in that chapter there are lots of things to pray so you can live a godly life. Or chapter 6 lists the powerful and versatile armour of God that a believer needs to fight their spiritual battles. This should be a regular prayer for all who love Jesus.
Some days you just don’t know what to pray. Maybe it’s because you’re just tired or you’re feeling overwhelmed somehow. We’ve all been there. Just pray that to God. Honestly tell Him how you feel. He wants you to acknowledge that and bring it to Him in prayer. But if you have a Bible handy you can always turn to the pages and find some well-used, powerful and meaningful prayers to help you as well.