"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done."
- Philippians 4:6

Prayer is something that humans, not just Christians, find themselves doing in seasons of great challenge or joy. Jesus himself models prayer to us as essential to our spiritual life.

Praying hands through a fiberglass window.
Photo by Drew Beamer / Unsplash

However, many of us aren't sure if our normal prayers, on ordinary days, are 'right'. However, prayer doesn't need to be complicated!

"Prayer is pouring out our hearts to God in praise, petition, confession of sin, and thanksgiving."
- John Piper in the New City Catechism

If you want to start praying the best thing to do is just to start doing it as John Piper says in the video above.

If you need some clearer guidance here are three different types of prayers you can go for.

Head Prayers

Sometimes you need some help or inspiration to pray. When this happens, you may want to pray a prayer from the Bible or one that another christian has written down for themselves and others to memorise or use as they need.

An example of this is the "Lord's Prayer" that Jesus taught to his disciples.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.]"

We'd encourage you to memorise this prayer, and others (see below), so that you always have a prayer to pray in a time when you can't find time or words to pray.

Heart Prayers

Sometimes you find yourself in a moment of joy or challenge. In these times you can simply open up your heart to God and tell him what's going on, how you're feeling and what you are asking him for. You don't need a script, just go for it.

We find many examples of this from not only Jesus' life, but also in the book of Psalms in the Bible.

Unspoken Prayers

Sometimes we feel so overwhelmed that we can't even find words to pray. In these times you can simply take time to calm yourself for a moment or an hour and "be still before God" knowing that he hears your prayer.

Many find it helpful to light a candle or some other simple act to indicate that you are asking the God of the universe to hear your prayer.

Other Resources

there are many other resources available to learn how to pray. Here are three I've found helpful.

The Prayer Course by Pete Grieg

A great course on prayer for those wanting a video-based course that encourages you to explore the variety of ways we can pray deeply.

Lectio 365 Prayer App

The Lectio 365 prayer app and accompanying website has two daily prayer-focused devotionals you can listen to. It has a more traditional/contemplative feel, but is great for people who are more reflective and needing someone to guide them through prayer each day.

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence

A classic book written by a catholic monk who explored prayer as simply experience the presence of God on a continual (yes, 24x7) basis.

Prayer our Deepest Longing

A short book written to help us discover how prayer to a personal, almighty God helps meet our deepest human needs.

Written, 'head' prayers

Below are a few prayers for you to pray yourself. Most of them very old. This is intentional, because prayers that have lasted hundreds of years often have proved themselves worthy of praying :)

A prayer of desire to worship and serve God

Lord, we desire to adore your name, which is excellent in all the earth, and whose glory is above the heavens. You are the maker and disposer of all things; and for your sovereign pleasure it is that they still exist, and were at first created.
Your hands have made and fashioned us; and all that we enjoy comes from you. As we are the workmanship of your power, O make us likewise your spiritual workmanship, created anew in Christ Jesus, unto holiness and true righteousness.

Give proof that you have formed us for yourself, by causing us to show forth your praise, and by making us to live to glory, as we do every day live upon your bounty. Amen.
Augustus Toplady

A prayer for faith

I pray, O God, pour out upon me your Holy Spirit- the Spirit of prayer--that I may ever love and desire to pray; being daily free to approach you, with all confidence in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ; to bow before you in every time of need, as a child well beloved, O most beloved Father, you who are really a Father unto all your children in heaven and on earth.

Grant that I may always lift up unto you holy hands, without fear or doubt, and in full assurance that all my prayers and sighs which come from the heart, are truly heard. Grant also that when my help delays I shall be patient, not dictating to you either time or measure, but to wait and abide your own good time; for you have pleasure in them that fear and put their trust in your mercy. Finally, O God, rule and remind me by your Holy Spirit that I may daily and frequently meditate upon the hour of my death and be momentarily prepared, while I pray sincerely for a blessed departure hence. Amen.
William Loche

A prayer for strength for the day

I bind myself today:
To the power of God to guide me.
To the might of God to uphold me.
To the wisdom of God to teach me.
The eye of God to watch over me.
The ear of God to hear me.
The word of God to speak to me.
The way of God to lie before me.
The host of God to defend me.

Saint Patrick

A prayer for courage amidst our weakness

what we know not, teach us;
what we have not, give us;
what we are not, make us;
for the sake of your Son our Savior.

Old Anglican Prayer

Prayer of renewal to Christ

As a reconciled Father, take me to be your child; and give me your renewing Spirit, to be in me a principle of holy life, and light, and love, and your seal and witness that I am yours. Let him quicken my dead and hardened heart. Let him enlighten my dark unbelieving mind, by clearer knowledge and firm belief. Let him turn my will to the ready obedience of your holy will. Let him reveal to my soul the wonders of your love in Christ, and fill it with love to you and my Redeemer, and to all your holy Word and works. Amen.
Richard Baxter

Prayer of confession of sin

O Lord, you have mercy upon all take away from me my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of your Holy Spirit.

Take away from me the heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore you, a heart to delight in you, to follow and to enjoy you, for Christ's sake. Amen.