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How to Pray: 9 Tips for Meaningful Conversations with God

Betsy de Cruz

Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
Updated Apr 26, 2024
How to Pray: 9 Tips for Meaningful Conversations with God
Throughout our Bibles, we see examples of men who prayed. Even Jesus, the Son of God, prayed. So I know I should too, but I find it challenging.

If you're wondering how to pray, learn from these nine practical tips to start praying in your life!

I’m a wanna-be prayer warrior. I long to grow a deeper prayer life, but I have a secret struggle with boredom. I know prayer carries power and changes lives. But when I sit down to pray, I find it hard to focus. After three minutes, my mind travels back to the last season of Downton Abbey or wanders to my to-do list. Or I try to pray before bed, but I fall asleep. 

Are prayer wimps a thing? I suspect I am one, and I'm left wondering how to pray better.

I don’t mean to be flippant. Prayer is an amazing privilege. Through words like these in scripture, we have an open invitation from the God of the universe: “Call to me and I will answer you.” (Jeremiah 33:3a). We have a promise that He hears us: "You will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you." (Jeremiah 29:12

Through the pages of our Bibles, we see examples of men who prayed. Even Jesus, the Son of God, prayed. So I know I should, but I find it challenging. I suspect I’m not alone. Many Christians struggle with knowing how to pray.

A Simple Daily Prayer to Start

Dear Lord,

Thank You for today. Guide my steps and fill my heart with Your love and peace, helping me to live out Your command to love others as You have loved me. Lord, I ask for wisdom to handle the challenges of today with grace and patience. May Your Spirit inspire me in all I do, helping me to live out Your command to love others as You have loved me. Let me be a light that points others back to you.

Amen.

9 Tips for How to Pray

On my journey from prayer wimp to warrior, I’m discovering a few practical tips for how to pray:

Set a Regular Prayer Time and Place

Consistency in prayer nurtures a deep, personal relationship with God, allowing your spiritual roots to grow and thrive. 

Picture this: a quiet corner of your home, perhaps with a comfortable chair and a small table with your Bible and a notebook. This becomes your go-to spot for peace and reflection, a place where you meet God daily. By setting a specific time and place for prayer, you signal to your heart and mind that it's time to connect with God, fostering a rhythm of devotion that can carry you through life's ups and downs.

Pray Simply

We might think we have to pray passionate, persuasive words for God to hear us, but in reality, He listens even to our shortest “SOS” prayers. 

“The fewer the words, the better the prayer,” said Martin Luther. Isn’t that reassuring? We can talk to God in everyday language, just like we talk to a friend. We don’t have to pray long. God delights in a simple word of praise, like “Lord, I love you.” He treasures the anguished prayer of a mother when she calls, “Heal my child.” He answers the simplest request: “Lord, give me strength for today.” 

Read the Bible and Pray Over Verses

Have you ever had a one-sided conversation with someone who talked continually without listening to you? The conversation didn’t go very far, did it? We do the same thing to God when we pray without reading the Bible, His eternal letter of love and wisdom to each one of us on earth. Reading Scripture helps us get to know God. It brings life to our prayers.  

If you want to have a more effective conversation with God, read Scripture. Let David’s words in the Psalms enliven your prayers. Stop in the Gospels to pray over a verse that strikes you, asking God to work that truth into your heart. Let the words of Paul’s letters give you specific prayer requests for yourself and the people you love. 

Keep a Prayer Journal

Imagine having a personal record where your prayers, thoughts, and the responses you perceive from God are kept. This journal becomes a spiritual diary that not only helps you express your deepest fears and highest hopes but also tracks your spiritual growth and the ways God moves in your life. Each entry serves as a milestone of faith, a reminder of God’s unwavering presence and answers. 

Whether it’s a few lines a day or a detailed account, your prayer journal can be a powerful tool for reflection and inspiration, offering tangible proof of God’s hand in your everyday life. So, grab a notebook and start this transformative practice today, and watch how it deepens your relationship with God, turning every page into a testimony of faith.

Make Prayer Active and Multi-Sensory

Prayer grows dull when we turn it into a purely mental exercise. God made us creative beings, so why don’t we bring creativity to our prayer lives? Lighting a fragrant candle can send a signal to our brains: “It’s time to pray.” It can bring a sacred sense of awe to a few minutes of prayer. Listening to music can help us focus on God. Many people enjoy doodling, drawing, or painting while they pray.

Light a scented candle to create a calming ambiance, or hold a cross or another meaningful object to connect physically to your faith. Play worship songs that uplift your soul or incorporate visual elements like inspiring images or verses displayed around you.

Listen for the Holy Spirit

Listening for the Holy Spirit during your prayers is like tuning into a frequency that guides, comforts, and enlightens. It's about quieting your own thoughts to make room for God's voice in your life. Imagine your prayer time as a two-way conversation where you not only speak but also actively listen. This practice requires patience and stillness, often challenging in our busy lives, but it’s incredibly rewarding. 

By opening your heart and mind, you allow the Holy Spirit to impart wisdom, reveal truths, and steer you in your daily walk with God.

Make Prayer an Integral Part of Your Day

This verse baffles me: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;” (1 Thess. 5:16-17). Is it really possible to pray without ceasing? 

How about trying an experiment? Lift up short prayers to God as often as you can throughout your day. Pray over your schedule. Ask God to help you with your to-do list. When you hear a troubling news report, lift the situation up to God. Say a prayer for your spouse or child as you give him or her a hug. Pray for the person you’re talking to. A friend of mine gives thanks whenever she stops at red lights while driving. Look for prayer moments that work for your life.

Choose an Intentional Prayer Setting

Think of it as setting the stage for a heartfelt conversation with a cherished friend. This place, whether a quiet corner of your room, a peaceful spot in your garden, or a serene park bench, becomes a sanctuary where distractions fade and focus sharpens. By intentionally creating a setting that resonates with tranquility and inspiration, you enhance your ability to commune deeply with God, making every prayer session a profound and rejuvenating spiritual journey.

Pray Expectantly

Prayer becomes a lifeless exercise when we’re not looking for answers. Jesus invites us to expect God to work. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7)

How much more exciting prayer becomes when we keep our eyes open to watch for God’s answers! Sometimes, I wonder how many answers we miss because we don’t really expect God to respond.

Remember Colossians 4:2: “Devote Yourselves to Prayer, being watchful and thankful.” 

How about getting started today? Don’t get discouraged if you get distracted like I do. Just get back on track. Pray and watch for God’s answers so you can thank Him. He might answer differently than you expect, but His answer will always be better than what you had in mind. 

Prayer Topics

Here are some of our most visited prayers on a variety of topics. You can use these sample prayers to lead your words and to create your own prayer.

Prayer for Healing
Prayer for Strength
Prayer for Protection
Morning Prayers
Good Night Prayers
The Prayer of Jabez
Short Prayers
The Lord's Prayer
The Prayer of St Francis
Serenity Prayer
Prayer for Forgiveness
Prayer for Guidance
Prayers for My Husband
Prayers for My Son
Prayers for My Daughter
Prayer Quotes

Now available is our new Daily Prayer devotional! An easy way to find start your day with prayer, read today’s prayer and sign up to receive by email.


Betsy de Cruz enjoys God, life with teenagers, and dark roast coffee. Betsy’s passion is to encourage women to get God’s Word in, so their faith can spill out, even during life’s bumpy moments. She and her family live in the Middle East. Most days she feels privileged to live overseas; other days she wants to pull her hair out and catch the next plane home. Betsy writes about real life faith on her blog, faithspillingover.com, on Facebook. and on Twitter.

Updated date: January 19,2018