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Has a friend or acquaintance ever presented a situation to you and you didn’t know exactly how to pray for it?
Perhaps the situation is nothing like you’ve ever experienced yourself.
Or, none of the seemingly possible outcomes seem “good,” so what exactly do you ask for in prayer?
You might feel unsure how to pray in your own life or family’s situations at some point, not knowing what path would be better or more loving.
I’ve been in these situations, too, and here are a few tips and verses that help me when I’m not sure how to pray.
3 Tips When You Don’t Know How to Pray
- Pray anyway. It might be tempting to think, I don’t know how to pray here. What if I pray wrongly? I better just not pray. Pray anyway (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Prayer opens our hearts to God’s gift of communication with Him (Psalm 116:1-2). Pray with praise, with tears, with laughter, or with hurt. God listens to it all.
- Follow Scriptural prayer methods. The apostle Paul sets up his prayers in a similar format through most of his letters. Julie Reynolds shared a guest post yesterday with a simple prayer model (called ACTS) to help cultivate deeper, more frequent prayer.
- Begin with someone else’s words. The best source to use would be Scripture. But, you can also grab your favorite devotional and speak a written prayer aloud. Sometimes all you need is a start, and then your heart might open to more specific need or that prayer may become your personal praise and petition to God.
Want suggestions for books on prayer? We suggest A Praying Life by Paul Miller, Live A Praying Life by Jennifer Kennedy Dean, and Prayers for a Woman’s Soul by Julie Gillies.
5 Verses to Pray Anytime
Begin with these Scriptures and just pray them as your personal prayer to God, or add to them with specific needs and heart thoughts.
- Philippians 1:9-11 – “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
- 1 Peter 1:13, 15-16 – “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:23 – “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Hebrews 12:1-2 – “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
- 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 – “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
What verses help you when you’re not sure how to pray in a situation? Share your ideas in the comments!