How to Pray

Prayer is a conversation with God (silent or speaking out loud) about anything at anytime and anywhere. You don’t need to use big or fancy words; just be honest and sincere. There is no particular format or order or time of day for prayer. Pray whenever you need to talk with God. Praise God; thank Him for what He has done; tell Him how you feel; ask God for what you need; confess what you’ve done wrong.

“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

However, if you feel more comfortable in having some guidelines for how to pray in private or in public to help you get started, there are a number of resources and ideas offered in books and online. Some people also like to keep a Prayer Journal of things they want to pray about and how God answered their prayers.

The original set of guidelines for how to pray were offered by Jesus Himself as described in the New Testament books Matthew and Luke in the form of what we know as the Lord’s Prayer. The “easy to remember” guidelines created and described later below use the lessons originally taught by Jesus.

The Lord’s Prayer is shared by Jesus in Matthew 6:9-13 as part of the Sermon on the Mount and in Luke 11:1-4 in response to a request from one of his disciples who said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John the Baptist taught his disciples.” The first three of the seven petitions in Matthew address God; the other four are related to human needs and concerns. A doxology is added to the end of the prayer: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever, Amen.”

Matthew 6:5-15 (NIV)

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,[a] but deliver us from the evil one.[b]’

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Footnote: Matthew 6:13 Or from evil; some late manuscripts one, / for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Luke 11:1-4 (ESV)

11 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
2 And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread,
4 and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”

The Lord’s Prayer
United Methodist Hymnal #270

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come, thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil,
for thine is the kingdom,
and the power and the glory forever.

Serenity Prayer

Serenity Prayer for when you feel you are losing control or are wondering about God’s plan for you.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at at time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this lfe
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

– Reinhold Niebuhr

Additional Resources

Some additional resources created and available online to help you organize your thoughts for prayer are:


Praise – Give God glory
Admit – Confess your sins
Request – Ask God to meet your needs
Thanks – Give thanks for all He has done and who He is


Praise – Give God glory
Repent – Confess your sins
Acknowledge – Submit to God’s will for your life today
Intercession – Pray for others
Equip – Ask God to help you do the tasks before you