What is prayer?
Prayer is talking and listening to God. We can pray any time, anywhere, about anything …
As we pray our relationship with God deepens. Jesus prayed often and when His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, He gave them the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory, for ever and ever.
Different kinds of prayer
The word ACTS gives us a useful pattern for our times of prayer.
Adoration – worshipping God for who He is.
Confession – telling God we are sorry
Thanksgiving – for all God’s gifts to us.
Supplication – making requests for others and ourselves.
Words and pictures
Prayer does not necessarily involve words. Being still before God, open to God’s presence and voice, is prayer.
Closing our eyes can be helpful, as it removes distractions, but sometimes focusing on a Christian symbol can be helpful. For example, in our churches you might find inspiration from looking at a stained glass window, or at a crucifix, or at a statue.
Listening to God is prayer. God speaks to us in many ways: through our conscience, through other people, through beauty, art or music, through literature….to name but a few. We can also hear His voice through Scripture. For example: Listen to the promise of God’s forgiveness: “If we confess our sins, He who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) …and here is the promise of Jesus to all His followers: “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Some useful short prayers
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
“Lord Jesus Christ, You have been through everything. Stay with me through everything.”
“Guide me now, O gracious Lord.”