How to Pray

by Contributor
Children raised in Christian homes are taught to thank God for meals.

Children raised in Christian homes are taught to thank God for meals.

Prayer is the act of actively seeking contact with a higher power. Prayer may be used in countless ways to encourage peace, wisdom, healing, spiritual direction or unconditional love. Some see it as a formal exercise of memorized intentions while others see it as a conversation between friends. While there is no right or wrong way to pray, what follows are guidelines that may help those new to prayer.

Set aside time each day. Every relationship needs time and your connection with God is no different. Set daily prayer appointments and keep them. The more commitment you have the better your prayer life will be.

Go to a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Being alone will enable you to focus on God's presence and your connection to that presence. If this seems too intimidating, try praying for only a few minutes at a time until you feel more comfortable.

Begin with a few moments of silence. We live in a world of endless chatter and need stillness to hear the voice of our creator. This voice is different for everyone and may manifest as feelings of peace, hope, love or forgiveness.

Present your need or intention honestly and completely. This can be done a number of ways. One method is to recite memorized prayers (such as the Our Father) while remaining focused on your intention. Another method is to converse with God as though he is there in room with you. There are many ways to express your desires; find the one that works best for you.

End the prayer by giving thanks and showing gratitude for what God has done for you. Being thankful shifts the focus from your neediness to God's abundance. No matter how little you have, there is always something to be grateful for.

Have faith that your prayers will be answered. Once you express your intentions in prayer, know that God has heard them and let go of the outcome. This may be the most difficult step of the prayer process. However, prayer without faith is just empty words. Have patience and look for signs (no matter how small) that your prayers are being answered.

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