Prayer is an expression of our relationship with God. We pray individually; we pray together as a community of faith.
Prayer is your time to spend with God. Spend a few minutes in centering quiet. Allow yourself to settle in and take deep, cleansing breaths. Feel your heart rate slow a bit.
Praying with Others
For many people, praying aloud with others is a scary proposition; but it doesn’t have to be. When you pray with others, just as when you pray on your own it is important to relax and remember the following:
- Don’t worry about getting the words just right. Just be yourself.
- Say what is on your mind or in your heart and take your time. If you stumble over your words or pause in the middle, it’s all okay.
- God honors our desire and intentions.
- The more you do it, the easier it gets.
Here are some tips for getting started:
- Choose someone to start and someone to finish the prayer time—it can be the same person.
- Open with a simple prayer that acknowledges that God is already present with you. This helps center the group and helps people settle into the prayer time.
- Allow plenty of space and silence for people to work up courage as necessary or for the Holy Spirit to work in the midst of your prayer.
Prayer without Words
Although God wants to hear our thoughts and desires, prayer is also about listening and trust. There are times when words seem to fail us. Prayer without words can be a gift.
- To pray without words, take a deep breath and let it out. Use your breathing to relax and let go of other preoccupations.
- If needed, use a word like “peace” or a phrase like “Come, Lord Jesus” to focus your mind when you become distracted.
- Rest in silence and God’s presence for as long as you like.
Praying with Scripture
Many people like to pray with scripture. Here’s how to do it:
- To pray with scripture, begin by choosing a Bible passage.
- Offer a brief prayer, asking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It could be as simple as “Come Holy Spirit. Open me to your word.”
- Read through the passage as you normally would. If, as you read, a word or phrase captures your attention or prompts thoughts or prayers, go for it and begin praying.
- If you need to, read through the passage a second time, but this time more slowly. Let the theme of the whole shape your prayers, or draw on images or phrases within the passage to guide your prayer time.
If you ever have trouble thinking of something to say when you begin prayer? When that happens, this “Five Finger Prayer” will help you get started.
- Our thumb is nearest you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember.
- The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers.
- The next finger is the tallest finger. Pray for leaders in business, police and fire departments, military personnel, and local, state and federal government.
- The fourth finger is our ring finger. Surprising to many is the fact that this is our weakest finger, as any piano teacher will testify. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain.
- And lastly comes our little finger – the smallest finger of all which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.