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 just out of practice. God wants us to draw near to him in sincerity and trust. It's the heart that counts when we pray. God cares more about the attitude of our hearts than the words we choose. And he delights when we pray to him.

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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.



Theme Verse

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.


How to Pray?
Article: 6 Min

5 Important
Ways to Pray

by Joe, a Friend of
Video: 7 Min
by Don Whitney
at Southern Seminary
Short Bible Study

Read Luke 11:1-13

In this passage of Scripture, Jesus teaches us how to pray. He also teaches us how God responds to our prayers and helps us catch a clearer vision of our loving Heavenly Father. What do you learn about prayer form this passage?
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?