Foundation Topic

How to Pray?

On your knees, alone, expressive, or reverently—how do you pray? Sincerely. That's a summary of Bible's answer. We are welcomed to pray in any and every circumstance, but not in pretense or mere practice. God wants us to draw near to him in sincerity and trust.

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What's on this page?

It’s the heart that counts

God cares more about the attitude of our hearts than the words we choose.

Theme Verse

“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. 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. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” 

Short Content

Tell Me How to Pray

How to pray? There are many answers to this question, because this question could mean one of many things.

You may be wondering what sort of words to use, when to pray, or in what sort of manner. Let’s look to the Bible and find some answers.

Like so many other things, we want to “do it right” when it comes to prayer. How do we pray the right things? The Bible’s answer is different than we may imagine. How we pray begins not with folded hands, but with bowed hearts, with our attitude and motives (1 Samuel 16:7). This is what God cares most about in prayer. Our words mean nothing to him if they mean nothing to us (Matthew 6:7). He wants sincerity.

When we ask how to pray, we’re often concerned with practicality, and we really mean how often should we pray? In other words, does the Bible have expectations for how often we pray?

In response to this, we must ask ourselves a searching question. How often do I want and need to speak to God?

God knows, whether you acknowledge it or not, that you never stop needing him. When we come to the Bible with our question of how often to pray, God responds with, “All the time. Just don’t stop” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Though God commands us to pray all the time, our personal commitment to prayer will depend on how much we really understand our need for God. In other words, our prayer life is a good test of our humility. In which areas of your life are you convinced that you can succeed alone? How often do you need God’s help?

Finally, when we ask how to pray, we most often mean: What do I say? How do I speak to God? What sorts of things should I or should I not say? 

To this we find many examples in Scripture of how people pray, and the Bible’s answer comes with a refreshing amount of freedom.

People pray with tears (1 Samuel 1:10), they pray by singing (Psalm 42:8), they shout in trouble (Lamentations 3:56), they talk plainly (1 Kings 18:36) both out loud and in their hearts, and in many other postures and situations.

God wants us to approach him as children, running to him as our Father (Matthew 6:9). The best way to come is in whatever state we are in.

Naturally, the thought of coming to God without reservation seems audacious and perhaps irreverent. The Bible answers our concern with a small and oft quoted verse, “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18 ESV).

Receiving God’s perfect love is wrapped up in that little phrase we say at the end of our prayers: “in Jesus’ name.” However we come to God, whenever, and whatever we say, we must come to God in the name of Jesus. This is the way God has provided for us to come to him (John 14:6).

Jesus died on the cross so that the sin of those who trust in him may be thrown in the sea and forgotten. If we come to God in Jesus’ name, our sins—even the present ones—are covered and forgotten, and we are received by God in love as his children.

Because we’re perfectly loved and no longer viewed by God in light of our sin, we don’t have to be afraid to approach God anymore. We trust that God receives the expressions of our hearts because he has actually suffered to make such an exchange possible, by giving his Son over to death in payment for our sins.

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1).

Scheduled or spontaneous, trembling or thrilled, journaling or kneeling, we’re welcomed to confidently “draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 ESV).

There’s a wonderful children’s Bible that includes a short devotional which teaches kids how to pray. It says, “there’s nothing you can pray that would make God ever stop loving you.”

This is completely true for everyone who believes in Jesus.

Jesus told us that he’s the “way” to the Father (John 14:6). Once we, by faith, have set foot on that path, there’s nothing to keep us from running into the arms of our Father. That way is open to anyone who believes.

How “should” you pray, according to the Bible? Embrace Jesus, and run to the Father.



How to Pray?
Video: 7 Min
by Don Whitney
at Southern Seminary
Article: 6 Min

5 Important Ways to Pray

by Joe, a friend of

Luke 11:1-13 NIV

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

He said to them,
“When you pray, say:
“‘Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”

Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

by Tim Mackie, 53 Min
Article: 7 Min

How Not to Pray: Two Correctives from Christ

by Albert Mohler at his blog

Messages: 52 Min

Pray & Fast

by David Platt

John 4:23 ESV

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

When to Pray?

Be constant
in prayer.

Romans 12:12 ESV
Colossians 4:2 ESV

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.


Relying on God
has to begin
all over again every day
as if nothing had
yet been done.

1 Chronicles 16:11 NIV

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.

Short Content

Prayer Habits

Of Biblical People

Chill & Relaxing

In the Secret of His Presence

by Sandra McCracken

Pray when you feel like it.
Pray when you don’t feel like it.
Pray until you feel like it.

H.B. Charles Jr.


Sweet Hour of Prayer

by Casting Crowns
Messages: 45 Min

Be Devoted to Prayer

by John Piper


Is prayer your
steering wheel
or your spare tire?

What to Pray?
1 Timothy 2:1-4 NLT

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.


How To Pray:
The A.C.T.S. Method


How to Pray
the ACTS Method

Bible Verse:
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1 ESV).

Adoration: Dear LORD, I praise you for your willingness to lead my life. I praise you for being a God who cares for not just me but your whole flock.
Confession: I confess that I didn’t ask you about the big decision I made yesterday, and I have seen myself as my own shepherd. I have been discontent with ___.
Thanksgiving: Thank you, LORD, for leading me to the friend I made last week, to the school I attend, to _____. Thank you for showing me your shepherding care through the wisdom you give me in your Word, the Bible.
Supplication: Lord, I really want _____, Would you lead me and guide me in this situation, and help me be content with whatever you determine. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Without prayer the study of Scripture can
turn into a merely intellectual exercise.
Prayer without Scripture
will lack needed motivation and guidance. 

Romans 8:26 ESV

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Praise & Worship

A Christian’s Daily Prayer

by Sovereign Grace Music
Short Content


From the New Testament

Praise & Worship

Prayers of the Saints Album

by Sovereign Grace Music
Messages: 28 Min

Praying to Know God Better

by H.B. Charles Jr.