Wednesday, February 15, 2023

When You Don't Know What To Pray

By: Jenifer Metzger

Whether you are a new believer unsure of how to pray, a woman who is struggling to find the time or even desire to pray, someone who struggles to stay focused during prayer time, or you are going through a dry season where you feel distant from God, today we are going to talk about what to do when you don't know what to pray.

You will call to Me and come and
pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
Jeremiah 29:12 CSB

When You Don't Know What To Pray #prayer #pray #Christianliving

First, we need to know what prayer is. Prayer is, simply put, a conversation with God. It is how we communicate with our heavenly Father. It is the act of talking to God and listening to God. It is vital to a Christian.

To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.
-Martin Luther

While we know what prayer is and how important it is, sometimes it is hard. We don't know what to say. Do we kneel down? Do we fold our hands? Should we close our eyes? Is it okay to pray for ourselves? Is there a certain time of day to pray? So many things!

Let's begin with when to pray. There are two important things to think about when we think about when to pray. First, it is important to have a designated time to pray. A time to focus on intentional prayers. I like to use the Quiet Time Companion journal for this time. In the journal there is a prayer list section. On the list I have specific areas I want to intentionally pray for. For example, one list has my husband's name then lists things such as his health, his walk with God, and his relationships. I also have each of our kids and grandkids on a list with specific things I want to pray for them. Choose a time of day where you can focus on specific and intentional prayers.

Another thing to think about when you consider when to pray is that your prayer doesn't have to end when you say amen. Just as we may continue speak with our spouse or a friend throughout the day, we can continue to speak to God throughout the day. While you may have a designated prayer time for specific things you want to bring to God, you can talk to Him throughout the day about anything and everything. If God brings someone to your mind as your doing the laundry, pray for them. If you see a prayer request on social media, pray for them. If you're washing the dishes, pray over your family. Continue to talk to God all day long.

Seek the Lord and His strength;
seek His face always.
1 Chronicles 16:11 CSB

In church, we often hear the phrase, "Bow your head and close your eyes." Many even ask you to fold your hands. Are these things necessary? No. Are they helpful?  Yes. When we close our eyes, it shuts out the world around us helping us to focus on prayer. When we fold our hands it helps us to keep our hands from finding busy work and causing us to be distracted. These are good practices during your designated prayer time. However, if you are praying as you go about your day, it is not always feasible.

Now let's look at what we should pray for. Since prayer is a conversation with God, you can talk to Him about absolutely anything! One way to figure out what to say is to pray using the ACTS method.

A - adoration
C - confession
T - thanksgiving
S - supplication


Give praise to God. Tell Him how good He is. Tell Him how worthy He is of all the praise. Give praise for His mercy and grace, His love, for salvation. Tell Him how much you love Him. Say hallelujah.


Confess your sins to God. Ask Him to reveal to you any unrepented sin you may have forgotten or are unaware of. Ask forgiveness and ask Him to help you turn away from sin.


Give thanks to God. Thank Him for things He has done in your life, for miracles you've seen, for your family, for His provisions, His creation, there is so much to give thanks for.


Pray for your needs and the needs of others. Lift your needs to God and ask for His hand to move on your situation. Pray for the needs of others, for your church, your community, and the government.

And finally, another important part of prayer is listening. If you were to sit down with a friend and she talked the entire time. Never paused for you to add to the conversation. Interrupted every time you tried to talk. How would you feel? You would likely leave the meeting feeling as though the friend didn't value you or care about what you had to say. You might even be upset. A conversation is a two way street -we talk and we listen. Since prayer is a conversation, we must talk to God and we must listen to God. Listening can be hard, especially if you are not used to it. When you pray, say, "God, I am listening." And then stay quiet. Keep your mind in a state of worship as you listen for God.

Prayer is vital to a Christian. As Martin Luther said, it is just as important as our breath. Too often we make prayer difficult instead of just talking with God. Too often we let life or even sin get in the way of making prayer important. Let's be women of prayer.

1. Do you have a designated prayer time set aside each day?
2. What other tips do you have for prayer?

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