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You want to pray, and you know you should pray, so why is it such a struggle to pray? Perhaps it’s because you don’t know how to pray. Today, we dive into learning how to pray for beginners.
Creating a habit of prayer can be challenging. Sometimes finding the words to pray can seem impossible. What can you do to begin learning how to pray, as a beginner and new to prayer?
Some days it can be incredibly hard to focus your thoughts without a million interruptions. Other days you make the time to pray, but then the words won’t come.
Maybe you’re in a season of discouragement or depression. Frustrated, you find yourself wishing you knew how to pray effectively, and one day the convicting tug at your heart becomes too much to ignore. You know you need to do something to draw closer to God.
How do you re-align yourself and strengthen your relationship with Him? Let’s take a look at seven things you can do when learning how to pray as a beginner.
Learning How to Pray for Beginners
1. Make an appointment with God, in a quiet place, for prayer.
Have you ever seen the movie War Room? Remember the prayer closet? It’s in the bible, too! In Matthew 6:6 we read this example, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray…” (HCSB). The KJV actually uses the word “closet” instead of “room.” The spirit of the verse is to find a quiet place where you can shut yourself away while you pray.
If you have young children at home, try to get out of bed before they do and commit to pray, or ask your husband, mom, or friend to sit with your children later in the day. We schedule sitters for other necessary appointments; why not for prayer? Make an appointment and keep it!
To create the habit of prayer, remember it this way:
- make an appointment
- same time every day
- in a quiet room.
2. Do your best to pray out loud.
There are many instances in scripture where we read that someone “cried out to the Lord,” especially during times of stress. Use your voice when you pray. Cry to the Lord! When we pray “in our head” but not out loud it’s a certain recipe for sleepiness and struggle. There’s something about praying out loud that awakens our spirit and reaches the ears of God!Examples of this are recorded throughout scripture, including these psalms: “Call upon me” Psalm 50:15; “the righteous cry” Psalm 34:17; “when I cry unto thee” Psalm 56:9.
3. Practice fervent prayers.
We see this often in scripture, too. In James 5:16 we find that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous [wo]man avails much.” We’re not practicing patty-cake Christianity, we’re cultivating a rich, growing prayer life. We need to pray fervently (with passion and intensity) and effectively!
It takes spiritual digging and planting in order to reap the harvest. Dig in to the depths of your soul. Sow in tears. Be burdened for your family, friends, and community. Speak to the Lord from the depths of your heart: the good, bad, and ugly. He can handle it all. Give it to him!
4. Try keeping a prayer journal.
Many beautiful journals are on the market today (I love this “Dear God” journal!). You can also use a spiral notebook…whatever works for you! Simply write out your prayers one by one.Another pastor’s wife shared a new idea with me a few days ago that I’d like to try out: for her 50th birthday, she wrote 50 unique prayer needs down, one at the top of each page in her journal. As she went through her 50th year, every time she saw a glimpse of God moving in any of those needs, she’d go to its corresponding page and make a note of it. Now she can look into that prayer journal anytime and see God’s hand and her prayers at work! How encouraging!
The prayers & answers journal by DaySpring would work beautifully for this creative prayer time, or you can just use a simple spiral notebook.
5. Talk to God as you would a friend.
Wondering what to say when you pray? Don’t overcomplicate your conversation with him, just talk to him. Thank him for what he’s done in your life, and for making a way for us to get to know him better. If there’s something you want to ask him to do, ask him. If there’s a situation in your life where you need his intervention, tell him that, too.
6. Say The Lord’s Prayer if you need to.
If you want to learn how to pray according to the Bible specifically, we do find an example of how to pray in the New Testament. In Matthew 6:9-13 we find the portion of scripture where we’re given an example of how to pray.
It’s called “The Lord’s Prayer”, it’s intended as a prayer for beginners, and it goes 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 today 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 the evil one.”
Notice that the pray isn’t long and complicated, with many steps to remember. You can keep it simple or add to it in your own words. Keep going as long as you want!
7. Pause and listen.
When you’re done, pause and listen. Sometimes he speaks in a whisper, in a “still, small voice” like we read about in 1 Kings 19:12: “And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”
What about you? Have you found creative ways to improve your prayer life? What tips do you have? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!