Not sure how to pray and want to learn more? Prayer life feeling uninspired and stale? Want to expand your prayer language and connect more deeply with God? Ready to enrich and enliven your prayer life and further enhance your relationship with God?
That’s exactly where I was when I embarked on a journey to explore prayer. I knew some basics of prayer and, through praying raw, from-the-heart prayers, I’d come face-to-face with the most loving God I could have imagined. I wanted to know more, to deepen my experience of prayer, and uncover more ways to pray. So, I set out to explore as many prayer methods as I could find.
Variety keeps your prayer life fresh
When I first discovered the power of prayer in my life, it came after praying the same prayer in the same way for months. I continued this prayer for even longer, after God answered, because I didn’t know any other way to pray. Yet, over time, I began to lose my focus and consistency. My prayers became devoid of passion and I was no longer as tuned into God’s voice as before. I needed a change.
In trying new prayer methods, I was able to shake up my prayers and breathe new life into my relationship with God. I discovered new facets of the conversation and new ways to listen for his voice. Variety in my prayers has been essential to keep me focused and consistent, continuing to grow and develop in my relationship with God.
Each prayer method connects you to God in different ways and for different purposes
You communicate with your friends in a variety of ways – email, phone calls, text messages, Facebook posts, face-to-face conversations, serving side-by-side, and sharing experiences. Some conversations don’t even require words. You talk about all kinds of topics and share different facets of your life. So, shouldn’t your communication with God also take different forms and functions? We can’t always have the same conversation in our prayers. We need to be well-rounded and broaden the ways we communicate.
Using different prayer methods deepens each facet of your relationship with God
Would you marry someone with whom you’d only conversed with over text messaging? Probably not. While that might be a great way to get to know someone, it’s probably not going to let you fully form the relationship. Some topics don’t lend them to that communication method. You need to also communicate through other methods to truly build a deep, lasting relationship. The same is true with God. You need to communicate through different methods and cover a variety of topics to build a relationship with deep roots and lasting impact for your life.
But first, what is prayer and why should be a central theme of my life?
Before you dive into the different prayer methods, take some time to get clear on what prayer means for you. What questions and doubts do you have about prayer? I’ve collected a list below of some of the questions I’ve had about prayer. If any of these (all of these) resonate with your heart, I hope you’ll click through and get grounded in these foundations. I may not have all the answers (and maybe they’ll spark more questions for you), but let’s journey through these together.
Exploring Questions About Prayer:
- What is Prayer?
- Why should I pray? Does prayer matter?
- How should I pray?
- To whom should I pray? God, Jesus, Mary, the Saints?
- For what do I pray?
- Is God really listening to me?
- God hasn’t answered. How long do I keep praying?
- How can prayer be more than a “Hail Mary pass” when I’m desperate?
- How can I incorporate prayer into my daily life?
23 Prayer Methods to Ignite Your Prayer Life
In my journey to explore prayer, I researched and practiced these 23 methods for prayer. I found authentic connection to God through each, although some resonated more with me than others. I encourage you to explore these yourself and find the ones that fit best with your unique personality and gifts. God made each of uniquely, so we’ll each find our own ways to best connect with God.
Download a copy of the Prayer Cards here.
Simply enter your email address and I’ll send a set of printable prayer cards, explaining each of these prayer methods. I keep a set on my desk and use them in my prayer time to guide my prayers and provide ideas when I need a bit of variety.
If you want to explore these in a more structured manner, I encourage you to get Pray Deep: 21 Days to Ignite Your Prayer Life. Each of the 21 days will guide you through a different prayer method, providing the instructions and prompts to deepen your prayers.
Discovering the Basics of Prayer
If you’re new to prayer or want to deepen your experience in the fundamentals before diving deeper, these are the prayer methods I’d start with.
The Lord’s Prayer is the prayer Jesus used to teach his disciples how to pray and it’s the perfect place for us to start, too. In fact, if you really want to learn how to pray and how the Lord’s Prayer can teach you, go get the Pray Deep: The Lord’s Prayer 40 day prayer journal and learn to pray it line-by-line and truly uncover the power in those 72 words.
The A.C.T.S. Prayer follows a similar format of topics as the Lord’s Prayer, but uses an easy-to-remember acronym. This is a great one to help you remember some key topics to cover in your prayers. The 5 Finger Prayer is another template of prayer topics as you pray for others. Both are also great methods to teach your children.
If you’re not sure the words to pray or want to expand your own prayer language by using words that have been prayed by millions of people for hundreds of years, then praying the collects from The Book of Common Prayer can be a meaningful addition to your prayer time. These words are not only poetic and grounded in scripture, but can help you express the yearnings of your heart for which you can’t find the right words.
Praying through Every Day Prompts is a method I love for creating consistency and is fantastic to use with your family, too. Prayer Journaling will deepen and enrich your prayer time by helping you process your prayers and record what you hear from God.
When you’re ready to take the next step to deepen your prayers and expand your prayer language, learn to pray through the scriptures.
Praying the Psalms is the most ancient prayer book and how people have learned to pray since the days of King David. You’ll learn to express the deepest yearnings of your heart, explore every human emotion, and truly praise God in every situation. You can also Pray Scriptures other than the Psalms and respond to God’s Word through prayer. The more you pray through scripture, the more God’s Word will become embedded into the fabric of your heart and be the words you call upon in times of need.
Listening is just as important, especially as we read and pray through scripture. Lectio Divina is an ancient form of prayer, called “divine reading”. It’s a powerful way to pray and listen for God’s voice through the scriptures. Gospel Contemplation is also an ancient contemplative form of prayer, but more focused on listening to God through passages in the Gospel.
Praying Through Music
Music is a powerful expression of the heart, and can be used for prayer, too. Praying a Song can utilize traditional hymns, as well as contemporary worship songs. The Taize-style Prayer incorporates music into a time of scripture and prayer, using music to enhance and deepen the prayers.
Praying Through Art
Whether you’re an artist or you can’t draw more than a basic stick figure (like me!), praying through art can be a freeing way to express yourself in prayer. Even with my limited artistic skills, I’ve found praying through art to be deeply moving and one of my favorite methods to reignite my prayer time.
Praying through Prayer Doodles and Prayer Circles (mandalas) are both ways to express your prayers through art and release your mind to speak to God on a deeper level. These tactile, active forms of prayer can help you bring renewed focus to your prayer time.
Praying Through Movement
Walking the Labyrinth is an ancient form of prayer. While some may find this one controversial as it’s been used in numerous religious, it has deep Christian roots and, when used appropriately, can help you bring deep focus to your prayers and help you meet God through this pilgrimage through the labyrinth.
Taking a Prayer Walk is a great way to pray for others in your community. Take a physical walk through your neighborhood or through a part of town that desperately needs prayer, or take a virtual prayer walk from within your own house.
Sometimes the most meaningful conversations don’t include any spoken words. Sometimes we simply need to be quiet and listen. Listening Prayer and Centering Prayer are two forms of prayer to help you pray through silence, focusing more on listening for God’s response.
The Examen is a way to debrief with God, reviewing your day or week with God and listening for his guidance on where you did well and how you can do better next time.
Praying With Others
Prayer shouldn’t only be focused on ourselves. In fact, Jesus encouraged us to gather together in prayer, promising he’d be in our midst wherever two or more are gathered in his name. Praying with a Prayer Partner brings accountability to your prayers and allows another to intercede on your behalf. You’ll also learn to pray for someone else, praying aloud with others. Praying with the Saints is less interactive, but a way to call upon others to intercede on your behalf.
How Will You Grow Your Prayer Life?
We all have room to grow and learn. Building a vibrant and authentic prayer life requires training and practice, along with dedication to build consistent habits. Will you take the next step to grow yours? Explore the questions and doubts you have about prayer and ask God to clarify his answers for you. Dive into these prayer methods and learn how to pray. Find new prayer methods to enrich and broaden your prayer experience. Grow your prayer language by praying through the words of others and the words of scripture.
Ignite your prayer life by trying something new!
If you want to find other resources to help you build more consistency in your prayer life and guide you through various forms and themes of prayer, check out the Pray Deep Store.
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