Prayer is simply talking and listening to God.
Many of us have prayed when we are in trouble,
often a prayer of “Help!” which comes straight from the heart.
And ‘straight from the heart’ is a very good place to start when it comes to praying.
Jesus showed us that prayer is part of a loving relationship – a relationship with God who loves you and longs to hear from you. Because God already knows us and loves us so deeply, when we pray we can be completely honest with Him. It means we can say exactly how we feel or even just sit in silence with God. He is interested in the things which are on our hearts and minds.
"The wish to pray
Beginning to Pray
Don’t wait until you are ‘perfect’ or until the ‘perfect’ moment.
A wise person once said ‘pray as you can, not as you can’t’
Richard Foster in his very helpful book on prayer wrote:
“We all come to prayer with a tangled mass of motives—altruistic and selfish, merciful and hateful, loving and bitter. Frankly on this side of eternity we will never unravel the good from the bad, the loving and the bitter. But what I have come to see is that God is big enough to receive us with all our mixture. We do not have to be bright, or pure, or filled with faith, or anything.
That is what grace means. We will never have pure enough motives, or be good enough, or know enough in order to pray rightly. We simply must set all these things aside and begin praying.”
Some Practical Tips for Praying
- We can pray anywhere and anytime so choose a time and place that is best for you. Many Christians find that having a regular time for prayer can really help. In the monastic tradition of religious communities, monks and nuns pray at regular set times of day.
- It often helps to be somewhere quiet where you can have some time for yourself. But praying with others is also a great way to come to God. In each service here at St Barnabas there is opportunity to be led in prayers with other people.
- Many people like to kneel when they pray but you can pray anywhere– walking, standing, sitting, lying down or kneeling—whatever is comfortable and helps you to focus on God. Some people like to be active when they pray, perhaps gardening or walking or whilst out for a run.
- When praying we are speaking with God who is both awesome and yet like a loving father. So there is an appropriate sense of wonder when we come to God in prayer but also hopefully a sense of coming close to someone who dearly loves you. So feel free, in prayer, to speak what is on your heart and mind.
- Just as good conversations are not simply one-way, so too Prayer is not all about us speaking to God. Prayer involves being in company with God and listening to God too. In prayer, if we still our inner chatter we may find that we are prompted to think of someone or a situation. We may find peace and answers to questions we have been carrying with us. So do speak freely but also listen.
- Many people find it helpful to use a mixture of their own informal prayers and prayers which have been written by others. There are many books of Christian prayers available and the Church of England’s website has daily prayers for each day. You can go there with this link.
DO TRY THIS AT HOME..…some prayer exercises and prayers
A Visual Prayer:
Using the fingers of your hand can help to bring to mind different things to pray for:
Thumb—the strongest finger—give thanks for all the strong things in your life, perhaps home, family, friendships that give you strength.
Index finger– the pointing finger. Pray for all those people and things in your life who guide and help you.
Middle finger -The tallest finger– pray for all who have power in the world like world leaders.
Ring finger—the weakest finger on your hand. Remember the poor, the helpless, the hungry and people who are sick.
Little finger -The last finger on the hand—pray for yourself.
Now cupping your hand as if to receive a gift – pause to listen to god and ask if there is anything He would say to you today.
Take a look at the prayer that Jesus gave us,
and some ideas for praying it for ourselves:
The Lord's Prayer
Some prayers which you may find helpful:
A Simple Prayer in Troubled Times
God of love,
turn our hearts to your ways;
and give us peace.
A Prayer of Thankfulness
help me to be aware of your presence each new day;
teach me your ways
and help me to respond to you with love.
Thank you for the precious gift of life:
May I live it each day with You.
My times are in your hand: keep me close to You,
For Jesus’ sake.
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