• How to write a prayer
Do you have an occasion coming up where you need to say a prayer in a church service or meeting? On the right-hand side of this page
there is a short guide to what elements make for a good opening prayer, including ideas on how we might thank and adore God, request things, and conclude the prayer. This page also offers several sample prayers for opening meetings with.
• how to pray for healing
On the right-hand side of this page
is a commentary on how the early disciples of Christ prayed for healing. The Acts of the Apostles records many incidents of miraclous healings, and this article explores what we might be able to learn from this as we pray for those who are sick today. The page also has links to many sample prayers for specific types of healing - such as petitions for sick children, surgery, and overcoming addictions and fears.
• how to fast and pray
The practice of fasting has a long tradition in church history. Catholic and Protestant Churches alike celebrate Lent as a period of abstinence and prayer, mirroring (in some small way) Christ's forty days of fasting in the wilderness, prior to his public ministry. Many Christians today fast on a regular basis, and sometimes whole church communities are called to fast together for a specific reason such as an upcoming mission or outreach. This page has a guide to spiritual fasting
- covering questions such as why and when we are to fast, and practical tips on this important spiritual discipline.
• how to pray for others
Praying for others is known as intercession. This page
explains what intercession is and outlines the groups of people the bible encourages us to pray for. There are also several examples of intercessory prayer, with prayers for justice, healing, peace and an Episcopal intercession for the poor and neglected.
• how to pray in the spirit
Praying in the spirit is essentially about being led by God as we pray, rather than going through some kind of meaningless ritual or empty babble. This page offers a guide to the characteristics of this type of prayer
, what "praying in tongues" involves, a sample of "singing in the spirit", and a Catholic prayer to the Holy Spirit.
A Celtic Blessing
("May The Road Rise Up To Meet You")
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
The four types of prayer
(prayers of thanksgiving and adoration)
"Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever."
(Westminster Shorter Catechism)
This way of praying is placed as the first one because worship enables us to understand and appreciate our relationship with God, and His goodness and love for us. When we take a moment to adore God, we open the door to etenity and our perspective on life is transformed. In addition, if we thank God from our hearts, a further transformation happens - life's worries and anxieties are reduced in their intensity as we begin to appreciate how much God has already given us. Recounting God's faithfulness through our life is a sure fire way of overcoming the fears we hold about the next meeting, phone call, test, interview, illness etc. etc.
prayers of forgiveness
Often referred to as "prayers of contrition" in the traditional Christian churches, this way of praying naturally flows out of adoration. When we realise how holy and remarkable Christ is, we can not help but become aware of our own failings and hang-ups. Here we can take time out to consider ways in which we may have failed God, others and ourselves, ask for God's forgiveness, and resolve to live life a different way.
prayers of petition
"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us."
(1 John 5:14, NIV)
Petition is to do with asking God for something. Oftentimes, we naturally say prayers like this after asking God for His forgiveness. For example, "please forgive me for not helping my neighbor out yesterday. Please give me the strength I need to overcome the shyness I feel inside when talking". Prayers of petition acknowledge that it is God that can and will help us in our needs, as we place our confidence and trust in Him. There are several examples of these sorts of prayers in this section, including requests for courage, safety and faith.
There are two areas of intercessor prayer:-
• praying for those known to us e.g. close family, friends, neighbors etc.
• praying for those unknown to us - the wider community in which we live, government, other nations and needs etc.
There are clear scriptural reasons for not neglecting this second area of prayer. For example, the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Timothy exhorts him to
"Pray for kings and others in power, so that we may live quiet and peaceful lives as we worship and honor God".
(1 Tim 2:2, CEV)
Prayer and the presence of God
We are always in God's presence - God is waiting to hear from you!
As Christians we often pray that God would be present with us. However, the reality is that God is always present with us - it is we who have forgotten that He is there. It is written "he will never leave you nor forsake you" (Duet 31:8, NIV), and
"Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there".
Prayer is a way of reminding ourselves that we are in the presence of God. There will often be times in life where we face stressful situations, such as an exam
or a difficult meeting
. It is at these times that prayer can come into it's own. Pausing before an important event, remember that God is with us, asking for his strength
, all these elements can transform the way we approach something. The Apostle Paul in Philipians 4:6
exhorts us to bring prayer into every part of life, especially when we are feeling anxious or worried. Prayer is a remarkable gift, and is able to bring peace of mind
into the darkest of life's situations.