Praying regularly helps us to develop a spiritual rhythm and changes the way that we think about our lives. Many people want to pray, but then get stuck. Life gets busy, or God seems distant, or we have a nagging feeling that we’re somehow not getting it ‘right’.
Whether you’re new to praying, or are confident in your walk with God, we can all benefit from ideas and inspiration from time to time. We share some prayer tips from the Church of England and Michelle Eyre, Chief Prayer Officer at Discovering Prayer.
Let’s first think about Jesus and prayer. He prayed in the synagogue but sometimes withdrew from the crowds to pray. He prayed for people’s healing, and he thanked God publicly for things that happened. He sometimes journeyed to mountain tops to pray, but at other times simply gave thanks for his food. His actions point to a life lived in reliance on God, that visibly sought to glorify God. He then gave us the Lord’s Prayer.
The Lord’s Prayer
You might decide to pray the Lord’s Prayer at certain times of the day, really listening to the words. Learn some short prayers to say, as well as making up your own. Alongside regular prayer, spontaneous times of adoration and thanksgiving to God are important too. Not sure what to say? Click here.
Silence and Listening prayer
Listening prayer doesn’t try to achieve anything; we open ourselves to God who is beyond anything our minds and our words can imagine – and wait. It’s part of being in relationship with God. Turn off the TV or radio and listen in the quiet, to God and to ourselves before God. Christians sometimes think of meditation as listening to God – listening in silence in the hope and expectation that God will speak, and we will truly hear and understand.
Dwelling in the Word
Absorbing God’s Word is a practice with its origins in the third to fourth centuries. It was popularised from the sixth century by the Benedictine communities who still use this practice today. It simply involves slowly reading scripture and then allowing time for reflection and silence. It helps us to listen to God and remember what we have read.
Did you know every Bishop’s staff meeting starts with Dwelling in the Word? Find out how you can dwell in the Word here.
Jesus prayed at different times of the day. He used the Psalms as his prayer book, often quoting from them. They are an invaluable source of prayers as they express everything life can
throw at us. Reflections on the Psalms offers an insightful commentary on each of the Psalms.
Praying with others
And don’t forget the value of praying with others. Jesus said that “where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” (Matthew 18:20) We are encouraged to pray together, and when we do, something more seems to happen. We are like a flock of migrating birds that need each other to make the journey.
Whether you’re a child, young person or an adult, prayer is easier than you might imagine.