I do not know how to pray to God

A man with red wavy hair and a beard clasps his hands together in prayer. He looks confused because he does not know how to pray to God.
Picture by Mikhail Nilov
A man with red wavy hair and a beard clasps his hands together in prayer. He looks confused because he does not know how to pray to God.
Picture by Mikhail Nilov

On this page we will think about prayer. We will learn what prayer is. And we will learn about some different ways to pray.

You can read the whole page, or you can click one of these links to jump to the part you want to read.

What is prayer?

Why should I pray?

How can I talk to God?

I do not know what to say to God

Can I pray without talking?

Will God talk to me?

What is prayer?

Two men in their thirties smiling and having fun. One is black with afro hair. He rests his arm on the other man's shoulder, who has dark hair and olive skin.
Picture by Nicholas Swatz
Two men in their thirties smiling and having fun. One is black with afro hair. He rests his arm on the other man's shoulder, who has dark hair and olive skin.
Picture by Nicholas Swatz

Prayer is spending time with God. This can happen in different ways.

When we spend time with a friend, we can talk to them. We can listen to them. And we can be together without talking.

Spending time with God is like this. We can do all these things when we pray.

Why should I pray?

When we spend time with a friend, we get to know them better. We care about the things they care about. We become closer friends.

It is like this with God too. When we pray, we get to know God better. We care about the things he cares about. We become closer friends with him.

God loves it when we pray. He really loves spending time with us.

How can I talk to God?

There are no rules about how to talk to God. He just wants us to talk to him!

We can talk to God any time and anywhere. We can talk to him out loud. And we can talk to him quietly inside our minds. Our prayers can be long or short.

We do not have to use special words when we pray. We can talk to God just like we would talk to a friend.

Colourful speech bubbles with words like "Hello", "Thanks" "I love you" "Wow", showing some of the things we can say to God when we pray.
Picture by tartila

When we pray, we can tell God what is happening in our lives. We can tell him how we are feeling. We can say sorry to him when we do bad things. We can thank him for the things he has given us. We can ask God to help us and the people we love. When bad things happen in the world, we can pray about those things too. Click here to learn how to pray when bad things happen in the world.

Colourful speech bubbles with words like "Hello", "Thanks" "I love you" "Wow", showing some of the things we can say to God when we pray.
Picture by tartila

Some people like to sit still when they pray. Some people like to walk around or do something with their hands. You could write your prayers like a letter or draw pictures of your prayers. Why not try different things and see what works for you?

I do not know what to say to God

If you do not know what to say to God, you are not alone! Everyone feels like this sometimes. It can be hard to find the right words to say what we want to say. Here are some things that might help.

Pray someone else’s prayer

You could try using a prayer that someone else has written. However you are feeling, someone else has felt the same way. So it might help to find a prayer that says what you want to say. It might even help you think of your own words too.

You can buy books of prayers, like this one. There are also lots of prayers on the Internet. And there is a page on this website with some famous Christian prayers in easy words. Find a prayer that says what you want to say. Read it to God as your own prayer. Add your own words if you want to.

Pray a prayer from the book of Psalms

A Bible opened to the book of Psalms, against a bright blue background
Picture by Philip Wels

Did you know there are prayers in the Bible? The book of Psalms is full of songs that people wrote to God. Some are happy, some are sad and some are worried. Read a few Psalms and see if you can find one that says how you feel. Read it to God as your own prayer. Add your own words if you want to.

A Bible opened to the book of Psalms, against a bright blue background
Picture by Philip Wels

Pray the Lord’s Prayer

The most famous prayer in the Bible is called The Lord’s Prayer. This is a prayer that Jesus taught to his followers.

The Lord’s Prayer is a really good place to start if you are finding it hard to pray. You can pray it as it is. Or you can add your own words to make it about your life.

This is the Lord’s prayer:

Our Father in heaven,
    we pray that your name will always be kept holy.
We pray that your kingdom will come—
    that what you want will be done here on earth, the same as in heaven.
Give us the food we need for today.
Forgive our sins,
    just as we have forgiven those who did wrong to us.
Don’t let us be tempted,
    but save us from the Evil One.
(Matthew chapter 6 verses 9-13, ERV)

Praying other people’s prayers reminds us that we are not alone. Other people feel the same way we do. And it is a good way to start a conversation with God when we are not sure what to say.

Can I pray without talking?

Sometimes life is hard or confusing. It might be hard to talk at all. It can help to spend some time with God quietly. This can feel strange at first, because we can’t see God. But the Bible says he is always with us.

There are lots of ways to spend time with God quietly. You can sit somewhere comfortable, or go for a walk or a run. If you like, you could do something with your hands, like colouring or gardening. Choose something to do that you do not need to think about. This will help your mind to rest.

Close up of a person putting a plant into a pot while they pray to God. There are other plants around the room.
Picture by cottonbro studio
A woman wearing exercise clothes runs along the seafront while she prays to God
Picture by RF._.studio

Start by thanking God for being with you. Then try thinking about God, looking at a picture, listening to quiet music, or just relaxing.

You can do this for a few minutes, or as long as you like. Remember that God loves spending time with you, even if you are not talking.

Will God talk to me?

God does not just want us to talk to him. He wants to talk to us too! So an important part of prayer is listening to God.

Here are some of the ways God talks to us.

God talks to us in the Bible.
We can read the Bible to find out what God has said in the past. And the Holy Spirit talks to us through the words we read.
God talks to us through other Christians.
God talks to us through the talks we hear at church. And sometimes he talks to us through things other Christians say.
God talks to us in our mind and heart.
Sometimes when we pray, God gives us a thought in our mind. And sometimes he gives us a feeling in our heart.

If you think God is talking to you, it is important to test whether it is really God. Sometimes we might think God is talking to us, but it is only our own thoughts.

You can read the Bible to find out if it agrees with what you think God is saying. If you are not sure, you can ask another Christian what they think. You can also ask God to say the same thing again in another way. It is good to test what God is saying to make sure you have not made a mistake.

Prayer is talking to God and listening to him too. And sometimes it is just being quiet with him. The more you pray, the easier it will get. God loves you and he wants to spend time with you. And he really wants to help you pray! Why not spend a few minutes with him now? Here is a prayer you can pray to start you off.

Dear Father God,
I want to pray but I do not know how. Please help me to pray. I want to get to know you better.
Amen.

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Who We Are

Valley of Springs is the online home of Dan and Jo Acharya.

We write devotional blogs to help you grow in your faith and trust God in difficult times.

We also provide easy read Bible study and discipleship resources for Christians with learning difficulties, intellectual disabilities and special needs.

Jo is the author of ‘Refresh: a wellness devotional for the whole Christian life’ and ‘Living Well With God: easy read Bible lessons for people who find reading hard’.

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