3 Simple and Powerful Prayers for Beginners
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2021 3 Sep
Are you new to prayer? Praying--communicating with God--is a vital and powerful way to grow spiritually. If you haven’t prayed much before, starting a prayer habit may seem intimidating, but it should be an enjoyable process. God will meet you where you are when you decide to pray. Experiencing the wonder of God’s presence while you pray can inspire you to make prayer a habit in your life. Here’s why prayer for beginners can be hard, and how to get started.
Why Prayer for Beginners Can Be Hard
Beginning any new activity--including prayer--can be hard. You may feel challenged by the idea of praying at first. Since you’re not yet familiar with what it’s like to pray, you could have some concerns about getting started. Perhaps you’re worried that you won’t say the right words, or that God may not care about listening to you or answering your prayers. However, if you choose to give prayer a try, you’ll start to see those concerns fade away.
Just be willing to take the first step, even if you’re afraid, and God will give you the faith to overcome fear and start a new habit of prayer. Prayer can make you aware of God’s constant presence with you. Focus on that presence for the courage to get started praying. As Joshua 1:9 says, “…Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
How to Get Started Praying as a Beginner
You can start to pray by simply telling God that you would like to connect with him. Don’t worry about trying to follow any particular formulas for prayer, such as using formal language, sitting still, or closing your eyes. God has given you the freedom to pray in whatever ways work best for you, as long as you’re genuinely trying to connect with him. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom,” 2 Corinthians 3:17 promises.
God sees your heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 reveals: “… People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” If your heart is truly set on spending time with him, God will accept your prayers. You don’t need to try to impress God with fancy words. You can speak to God simply, as you would speak to a friend. You don’t have to speak quietly and carefully when you pray. You can sing your prayers, chant your prayers, or even shout your prayers.
Not only that, but you don’t even have to verbalize your prayers. You can simply think them quietly in your mind. Psalm 139:2 says of God: “… you perceive my thoughts from afar.” If you like, you can even express your prayers nonverbally (such as by kneeling or dancing). Basically, embrace the freedom to pray in whatever ways work well for you, and expect God to respond to you with love.
Prayer is an opportunity rather than an obligation. In my book Wake Up to Wonder, I describe how you can start enjoying your prayers and discover awe in the process. Praying should be an enjoyable experience that helps you recognize your loving Creator’s presence with you – not a stressful chore. When you pray, expect to encounter the wonder of God at work in your life. Allow yourself to get excited about the good possibilities that can happen as a result of prayer.
Choose to believe that God wants to hear from you and help you. Hebrews 4:16 declares that we all can “… approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Look forward to approaching God in prayer with confidence! Here are 3 easy, yet powerful ways that prayer for beginners can start:
3 Powerful Prayers for Beginners
1. The Breath Prayer
This type of prayer is easy to start with, since it’s super short. However, it’s powerful! Saying a breath prayer involves praying a phrase that you can express in the time that it takes you to take one full breath--inhaling and exhaling once.
You can choose any simple phrase that is most meaningful for you. Some phrases to consider are: “God, show me you’re here”, “Dear God, please help me,” “Give me more faith, God,” “Please guide me, God,” “God, I need to feel your love”, and “Please give me hope, God.” Divide your phrase up into two parts that you can naturally say as you breathe in and out. Feel free to say your breath prayer multiple times, meditating on its meaning.
2. The Overcoming Worry Prayer
In this prayer, you focus on a vital habit as you build your connection with God: turning your worries into prayers. As soon as an anxious thought enters your mind, practice praying about it rather than worrying about it. The more you let go of your worries and entrust them to God, the closer your relationship with God can become.
You can pray: “God, I’m worried about [mention one of your biggest concerns]. Please give me your peace and hope in the middle of this situation. I need your wisdom to deal with it, as well. Show me what I can do in these circumstances. Please do for me whatever I can’t do myself to improve this situation. God, I believe you want to help me with this. Right now, I’m giving this situation over to you, and trusting you to handle it. May your will be done with this. Help me hold onto peace and hope from you as I think about this. Thank you!”
3. The Lord’s Prayer
Jesus gave us all a model prayer through what has come to be known as the Lord’s Prayer, which the Bible describes in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. This is how Matthew 6:9-13 records Jesus sharing His prayer: “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Luke 11:2-4, records Jesus’ prayer this way: “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.’”
The Lord’s Prayer guides you through the elements of prayer that Jesus taught are most important: acknowledging God’s holiness, seeking God’s will for all situations, asking for what you need, pursuing forgiveness, and asking for spiritual wisdom and strength. You can simply say this prayer directly and reflect on the meaning of the words. Or, you can add some brief personal reflections to each part of the prayer.
For example, when you pray “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name”, you can praise and thank God for something awe-inspiring that He has done your life lately. Or, when you pray “Give us today our daily bread” you can mention specific needs that you or other people have, asking God to provide in those situations.
Keep in mind that prayer involves two-way communication. So, after you’ve done some talking, allow some time for listening. Focus your attention fully on welcoming messages from God, and see what thoughts come into your mind. Expect God to answer your prayers in the best ways, at the best times, because of His great love for you.
Prayer for beginners may seem challenging at first. But as you start to practice prayer, the wonder you’ll discover will inspire you to continue praying.
The more you pray, the more you’ll experience what Psalm 16:11 describes happens when people spend time with God: “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” There is always more to discover about God through prayer, so enjoy the process and look forward to wondrous adventures along the way!
Related Prayer Resource:
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes
Whitney Hopler is author of the Wake Up to Wonder book and the Wake Up to Wonder blog, which help people thrive through experiencing awe. She leads the communications work at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. Whitney has served as a writer, editor, and website developer for leading media organizations, including Crosswalk.com, The Salvation Army USA’s national publications, and Dotdash.com (where she produced a popular channel on angels and miracles). Connect with Whitney on Twitter and Facebook.