Guidelines to Help You Pray
Some guidelines to help prayer.
Remember that prayer happens when we become conscious that God is with us. Prayer does not necessarily even need words. We can wait on God in prayer. We can be "Still and know" (Psalm 46:10) that he is God. Or we can "shout for joy". There is no correct ritual, or one way of praying. Martin Luther King (1929-1968) said "To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing." Prayer is where we grow in our relationship with God. There are many different ways to pray. Here are some ideas:
Find a quiet place to pray
Many people find this helpful. Perhaps there is a place in the house where you can go and "close the door" and remind yourself that God is with you. A place where you can pour your heart out to Him. A place you can hear His "still small voice."
Go for a walk
Going outside, enjoying creation, these things can be helpful to clear the mind and converse with God. You might find as you walk that your mind naturally starts to think about the day, perhaps you are meeting a friend or you become aware of something that needs to be done. Instead of worrying about these things, give them over to your Father in Heaven, who cares so much more for you the birds of the air.
Write your prayers down
Some people find it easier to write their prayers down, as if writing a letter to a close friend. Remember that you can be as honest and open as you like with God. There is nothing he has not seen before! And His forgiveness is without boundaries. You may wish to turn your writing in a journal, creating a daily prayer book. You could also keep a note here of anything that you feel God may be saying to you.
Read the newspaper and pray!
Watching the T.V. or reading a news item and then stopping to pray is a good way of praying for others. This is known as "intercession". It's good to be informed as you talk to God about these things, as you pray specifically for people and events.
Join a prayer group, or start one!
Jesus said "Where two or three are gathered, there I am in the midst of them" (John) We become aware of God's presence with us in a special way as we pray with others. It might be that there is a prayer group at your local church that you could join. Or why not help organise a week of prayer? 24/7 prayer.com have some great resources for helping people pray together in this way.
How about painting a prayer? This could be done simply with a few crayons and some paper, or more elaborately with a huge canvas and some oil paints! Do you play an instrument? Express your love for God as you blow through your flute or strum your guitar. King David in the psalms said that he was a prayer for God. Present your whole being to the Lord as you exercise your creativity! David also "danced before the Lord with all his might". Why not try praying as you physically move? This could be done to music or silently. Here's a fascinating example on Youtube of christian dance to prayer. Poetry is a very powerful medium for communicating ideas and inner thoughts with. Much of the psalms in the Old Testament are poetic prayers. You might like to try writing a modern day psalm. This can be a refreshing and rewarding experience.
Recite a prayer
You might like to use some of the prayers featured above. "Lord, make me a channel of your peace" is a beautiful prayer request to God. You could pray this prayer silently or out loud, by yourself or with others. Another famous prayer in this section is "God grant me the serenity.." . Again this is request to God, this time for serenity, courage and wisdom. Some of the most poetic prayers are found in the writings of the Celtic Christians. "May the road rise up to meet you" is an ancient Gaelic blessing which can be prayed for friends on leaving them. This prayer can also be used more formally, such as when blessing a newly married couple in a wedding ceremony. If you're finding that reading prayers are helpful, sacred space offers free daily prayers, thoughts to meditate on, and scripture readings.