Teach me how to pray

Teach me how to pray

This devotional is written by Charlotte Anderson. Charlotte is queen of all things prayer at St Mary's.

Matthew 6:6-13

6 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. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

9 "This, then, is how you should pray:

"'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'


In Luke 11 the disciples ask Jesus 'Lord teach us how to pray'. It's interesting, these Jewish men presumably would have been taught to pray in the synagogue. Prayer would have been part of their daily life and yet they had to ask how do I pray?

Romans 8:26 says 'We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.' None of us really know how to pray; we have to ask for help from the Holy Spirit. Why don't you ask the Holy Spirit to help you learn to pray now? Matthew 6:6 says 'go into your room', spend time with God alone. I find it helpful to begin with a couple of worship songs before asking the Holy Spirit to lead me in prayer. I then talk to God as if he is a friend sat next to me. Prayer is all about being with God - sharing your most intimate thoughts and feelings. Don't worry about being eloquent or using lots of words, just be real with God. He loves to spend time with us. Tell God the things you are thankful for, sorry about and what that you need. You could then go on to intercede for what is happening outside your life. If you find it hard to find the words, begin by praying in tongues. I almost always begin prayer by speaking in tongues or 'wordless groans' (Romans 8:26). You could also try writing God a letter or using someone else's words like the Lord's Prayer or saying a Psalm (Psalms has been used for centuries as a book of prayer by the Jews). If this appeals to you I recommend Prayers on Fire by Brian Simmons, which is a beautiful devotional that helps you pray the Psalms.

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