Whether you are a brand-new Christian or have been following Jesus for years, we all could use some encouragement in our prayer lives. Prayer is an essential part of a relationship with Jesus. And it doesn’t have to be intimidating! Just like we spend time with a friend, God wants us to quiet our minds, talk to Him, and listen to Him. 

Our Prayer Example

Even if you consider yourself a ‘prayer pro,’ we are called to “pray without ceasing” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. There is always room to grow in discipline and learn more about prayer! As in all matters of faith, Jesus is an example for us. In the gospels, He often goes off by himself to pray and be with God. As Luke 6:12 says, “He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.”  

What are some practical ways we can pray like this? Prayer designates intentional time spent with God, and there are many different approaches to prayer and ways to connect with God. Whether you are praying alone or in a group, in your room or on a walk, your prayers are valid and meaningful. 

“ACTS” as a model

The acronym “ACTS” could be helpful to you when you don’t know what to pray about. It stands for: A – adoration, C – confession, T – thanksgiving, S – supplication. First, praise God and tell Him how much you love Him, then confess your sins and where you have struggled this week. Next, thank God for your blessings, and then ask God for what you need or want from Him. Having a model is helpful when we speak to God because it ensures that we don’t spend our entire time with God asking for what we want from Him without thanking Him for what we have; or spend our entire time with God confessing our sins without ever praising Him for His merciful love. 

Praying Through Silence

Another meaningful way to pray is through silence. Does that sound a little strange? Spending time in silence when we are mindful of God is a beautiful practice that trains us to listen for God’s voice. It may not be an audible voice, but spending time listening with the Holy Spirit is a way to quiet your heart and focus your thoughts on God. 

Praying Through Scripture

You can also listen for the Holy Spirit when you are praying through scripture! This ancient practice (also referred to as lectio divina) helps you soak in God’s Word. You can select a passage and read through it slowly, pausing to think about what the words really mean. Read it a second time, and consider what words or phrases jump out to you. Read it a third time and pause at those words or phrases, repeating them if necessary. Finally, read it a fourth time, and allow for a time of silence and prayer afterward. This style of prayer may be helpful if you find that it’s difficult for you to connect to the Bible, or if you are specifically seeking how God’s Word may apply to your life. 

Praying by Intercession

We also want to highlight the prayer practice of intercession. Maybe you already have a prayer list of people you want to pray for, or maybe you find it hard enough to pray for your own life that it’s almost impossible to pray for others. I get it. Intercession – praying on behalf of others – is so beneficial to your own faith in addition to those you’re praying for! Your prayers are powerful. Praying on behalf of your friends, family, church, school, or job can make such a difference. 

Again, there are many different approaches to prayer. You could do a prayer walk, make a prayer room in your house, journal your prayers, speak them aloud, and you can even pray for God to strengthen your prayer life! 

“The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26. We hope these practical approaches to prayer will encourage you as you pursue a lifelong prayer journey! 

For more resources on listening to God, check out our Hearing from God page. If prayer is a struggle for you, check out our MercyTalk episode, “Roadblocks to Hearing and Connecting to the Father in Your Prayer Life.”

Mercy Multiplied exists to provide opportunities for all to experience God’s unconditional love, forgiveness, and life-transforming power. We offer multiple programs and resources online and onsite designed to equip people to live free and stay free in Christ. For more information about the services we offer, click here. 

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