Let’s be honest, many of us struggle with prayer. A great majority of Christians have a general lack of prayerlessness in their lives. How do I know this? Well just by the fact that so many Christians feel so awkward with praying publicly or in a small group. For many talking with God is an awkward thing and many Christians have gone their whole spiritual lives without learning how to pray.
How can we learn how to pray better? How can we become more discipline in prayer and learn to pray well? How do we learn to pray even when we don’t feel like praying? Here are a few helpful suggestions:
1. Do it
This is a no brainer, but the reason many of us are so terrible at expressing our hearts and concerns to God in prayer is because we just don’t do it. Our prayer life hasn’t developed past the pre-school days of God is Great, God is Good, Let Us Thank Him For Our Food. The reason we get so awkward in public prayer is because there is no personal prayer.
2. Write Out Your Prayers
Over my Christian life, as I’ve tried to learn how to pray, this has maybe been the most helpful. There is something about the process of writing, pen to paper, that slows me down to focus and think. Praying in my mind never seemed to work so well as I’d start thinking about Dinner or my to-do list (my brain can get chaotic up there). Writing out our prayers helps us to focus and learn how to express ourselves to God.
3. Pray Out Loud
This has been very helpful in my prayer life as well. Praying silently just doesn’t tend to work to well for me. Often times my most intimate moments of prayer is when I hide up in a room somewhere or go on a long walk and pray out loud to God. Often this happens for me regularly in solo car trips to Wake Forest and back. Praying out loud can be a great help in learning how to pray.
4. Learn to Pray by Praying Through Scripture
Read the Psalms and read them as your prayers. So many of the Psalms are written as prayers to God. Read them and pray them as your own and watch your heart kindle in worship as you pray to God His inspired word. Learn or memorize some prayers in the Bible, a psalm or two or even one of the prayers of Paul.
5. Pray the Prayers of Great Saints Before You
Pastor confession time. Getting to church on Sunday mornings can be stressful and chaotic. Sometimes when I arrive in my study an hour or two before worship begins, my heart is not prepared to preach God’s word and often times my heart does not feel like praying and asking God for help. Here I’ve learned to pray the prayers of the great saints before me. In fact, for me this has become sort of a tradition on Sunday mornings. I make a cup of coffee sit down with my Bible and notes open, then I grab my copy of The Valley of Vision. The Valley of Vision is a little book of collected Puritan prayers. To help kindle my heart to the beauty of Christ praying one of the prayers of the Great saints are a great gift. Not only that, but they are great at instructing me how to pray, especially public prayer.
These are just five quick tips to help you learn how to pray. Prayer is a vital spiritual discipline. Have a holy discontent at your own prayerlessness and try one of these five things in your own prayer life. Commune with God, seek after God, and submit your heart to God in prayer.