How to pray!
Prayer is not a mysterious practice reserved only for clergy and the religiously devout. Prayer is simply communicating with God—listening and talking to him. Anyone can learn pray from the heart, freely, spontaneously, and in their own words. If prayer is a difficult area for you, it may be helpful to get together with someone else and learn to pray. Or you might like to join one of our Alpha courses. There is a whole session devoted to prayer. Or you can try using these prayer helps.
First, the prayer from a JOY
is for Jesus
: Start out by thanking Jesus for all He does for you and for many people, all
people actually. Thank Him that he loves you, that he wants the best for you. Thank him for being willing to listen to you. Thank him that you can talk to him.
is for Others
. Pray for other people who need God’s help. It could be your mother or
your father, your brother or your sister. It could be your neighbour who just lost their job, or the person who delivers your post who hurt her leg. Pray for people in other countries who need food or shelter. Or pray for people in our own country who have been flooded.
is for You
. Pray for yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask God for his help in your life. Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you.” That does not mean that God will give you everything you ask for. It means he will listen to you and give you what you need, what would be good for you. Don’t be afraid to ask.
The Five Finger Prayer Guide
Another guide to prayer employs the fingers of your hand:
The Five Finger Prayer is a simple guide we can use when we pray.
- Your Thumb is nearest to you
So begin your prayer by praying for those who are closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. So pray for your wife, your husband, your mom or dad. Pray for your children or your brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles. Pray for those you work with and those you go to school or university with. Pray for your neighbour. And then pray for your enemies too, especially if they are on your mind. If you Love your enemies, and bless those who curse you, you might find you make your enemy your friend.
- “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. (Matthew 5:44)
- And again, “Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it.” (1 Peter 3:9)
- The Pointing Finger
People who point their fingers are those who point us in the right direction like teachers, instructor and those who bring healing. This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers. They need support and wisdom. Keep them in your prayers.
- Next the Tallest Finger
Our tallest finger reminds us of those who are in charge. Pray for the Prime Minister, members of parliament, local councils, leaders in business and industry. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God’s guidance.
When the king of Nineveh prayed to God he saved his nation from destruction (Jonah 3:6-10). We should pray that our decision makers repent and seek God’s will as they lead us.
- The Ring Finger
The ring finger is our weakest finger. It reminds us to pray for those who are vulnerable, weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day and night. You cannot pray too much for them.
The Bible tells us to “bear one another burdens” (Galatians 6:2). And James, the brother of Jesus says we should “pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with” (James 5:16 The Message).
- And your Little Finger
As the Bible says, “The least shall be the greatest among you.” Your Pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself in a better frame of mind. When you pray for yourself, first, tell God you are sorry for those things that you have done wrong. For the rules of God you have broken which are “to love the Lord you God with all of your heart, mind and strength, and to love you neighbour as much as yourself.
No matter how badly we’ve done the wrong thing remember that “He [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Then thank God for all the blessings we have been given.
And finally talk to God about what is on your heart, the good, the bad and the ugly. God loves you and will lead you and answer you in the way that is best for you.
There are lots of other ways to pray. Come on and explore prayer at your nearest Church. We are so happy to meet you and talk about how and why to pray.