Prayer can take many forms, as each person's relationship with God is unique. Here are some ideas for ways to pray that you may find helpful. Try them on and see what feels right for you.
Write a Letter to God
Writing a letter can be a wonderful way to pray. Write to God as you would to any friend or loved one. You can start with a clear intention, or just jump in and tell God what is going on in your life right now. The prayer will unfold as you write. God already knows what is on your heart, and writing to God will help you to bring your thoughts and feelings out in the open for you. Nothing is too big or too small to write to God about. Grammar and spelling don’t count! – God doesn’t care about that. Just write from your heart. Many people date their letters and keep them in a prayer box or journal. Give it a try.
Take a prayer walk
Prayer Walking (indoors or outdoors) is the practice of praying on location. It is a type of intercessory prayer that involves walking to or near a particular place and then praying about that place. You can take a prayer walk outside, or you can take a prayer walk in a space as small as a single room.
- Take a prayer walk inside your home and stop at various locations.Pray for the people who use that space, pray for what happens in that space, and pray for what that space offers you.
- Take a prayer walk around your neighborhood. If you see signs of children, pray for them to grow up knowing God. Pray for their parents to raise them with wisdom and patience. If you see a For Salesign in a yard, pray for a smooth transition for all involved. If you see a bench, pray for those who will sit on it.
There is no wrong way to do a prayer walk. Every location offers a chance to ask for God’s help and thank God for what is good.
Write a sense prayer
Our senses are an obvious way that we experience the world, and they can provide a wonderful way to access prayer. Write a prayer of thanksgiving using the structure of the five senses. Decide what, where, or who you want to thank God for. Then describe your experience of that subject through each sense. Consider adding an “and” to some of your sentences to tell what happens because of the first part of that sentence.
Thank you, God, for ______.
I see ______.
I hear _______.
I taste ______.
I feel __________.
Thank you, God.
I have found that praying in this way helps me to look deeper into what I am thankful for as I unlock both the sense experience and what it offers me. Here is an example that I wrote:
Thank you, God, for Holy Cross.
I see the beauty of your creation through the windows behind the altar, and I am soothed.
I hear the communion of voices singing together, and I am not alone.
I taste the goodness of the Kingdom of God in this place.
I smell the waxy fragrance of the altar candles that spread the light of Christ.
I feel a part of God’s kingdom, and I am thankful.
Thank you, God.
Megan Hoskins, Director of Formation
Music as Prayer
It is said that those who sing pray twice. Even if you don't sing, music can add depth and focus to your prayer life. The links below offer a range of sacred music that you can listen to or sing along with as you spend time in prayer. You my also consider reflecting on the words of a favorite hymn.
Sing for Joy - https://www.stolaf.edu/
Diocese of Virginia Vigil Book
The Diocese of Virginia recently held a 12-hour prayer vigil for justice, peace, and reconciliation. The booklet they produced for the vigil is a helpful source that you can use in your prayers.
Prayer Beads are used in many religious traditions to guide prayers. They are available from a number of sources, and, if you are crafty, you can certainly make your own.
Download this Prayer Bead sheet to learn more about the structure of Anglican prayer beads and for suggested prayers to use with them.
Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples
of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and for ever. Amen.
A New Zealand Prayer Book
Ever-creating God, be with us as the pall of this COVID-19 pandemic falls upon this “fragile earth” which is our “island home.” We hold in our hearts and prayers all who are suffering in our nation from “sea to shining sea.” We pray for the whole world. Our common anxiety is making us one, undivided human family. We pray for world leaders as they chart these unknown waters. Strengthen them to walk into the Light of a new, healing day for the whole planet. Help us to cross our broken lands and be for each other bridges back to heaven. Lift the cares to which we cling. Descend, O God, on us all to be our Guest. Show us how to find in everything blessing and rest. May this be our prayer while we do not know how to pray and until the last light lingers in the west. In the name of our creating, redeeming and sustaining God. Amen.
it is night.
The night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done;
what has not been done has not been done;
let it be.
The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives
rest in you.
The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
all dear to us,
and all who have no peace.
The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day,
In your name we pray.
A New Zealand Prayer Book
O God of patient and gentle strength, who knows our needs even before we ask, may your loving presence guide us in this time of transition. Give us an open spirit, discerning hearts and clear minds, that we may trust your will for us and become ever more a place of broad welcome and service. Inspire our conversations, deepen our prayers, and unite us in your purpose for this community. All this we ask through Jesus our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
Holy Cross Discernment Prayer
Calm us, O Lord, as you stilled the storm.
Still me, O Lord, keep us safe from harm.
Let all the tumult within us cease.
Enfold me, Lord, in your peace.
Father bless the work that is done, and the work that is to be.
Father, bless the servants that we are, and the servants we will be.
Though Lord of power, shield ad sustain us this night.
From Celtic Daily Prayer, Tuesday Compline
My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.