Prayer is at the heart of our Christian lives. It has to be a priority if we are to deepen our enjoyment of God and to recognise God’s presence in everyday life. But it can be daunting at first.

Remember: Prayer isn’t a technique; it’s a relationship. It’s not about trying to persuade a reluctant God to do something, or to craft a perfect set of words to win God over. It’s a friendship, with many different dimensions.

It starts in the most ordinary, instinctive reactions to everyday life. For example, gratitude for the good things that are always happening to us, however small; wonder – we often see amazing things, in nature for example, but pass them by; or need – we bump into scores of needs every day.

Prayer is taking those instincts of gratitude, wonder and the desire to help, and stretching them out before God. Everyone has those instincts, so prayer is making our responses intentional and focusing them towards God. We therefore need to give prayer that most scarce commodity – time. The rule here is to start small; stay natural; and be honest.

Prayer can take many different forms:

  • Spending time reflectively with God
  • Thanksgiving, confession, petition (TCP)
  • Being with God – with thanks, with sorrow, with people on our heart.
  • Chatting (arrow prayers) – talking (a quiet time) – intimacy (silence)
  • Offering the day to God at the start – practising the presence of God through the day – reviewing the day with God at night.
  • Meditation – chewing the word of God slowly and prayerfully
  • Contemplation – silently looking, listening and just being.

The Spring 2019 edition of Pathways magazine included advice and inspiration for how to pray with a feature written by Michelle Ayre, Chief Prayer Officer of Discovering Prayer. You might find our feature about Dwelling in the Word helpful too.

There are lots of other online resources to help your prayer life. You might like to try:

The Diocese of Oxford holds an annual Festival of Prayer in association with BRF.

Prayer diary

In this diocese, we pray for our parishes and for the needs of the world in a regular cycle. Follow us on Twitter (@oxforddiocese) or view the prayer diary.