A friend recently asked me is there any particular way to pray? I decided to research different prayer methods she could use.
What is a Christian prayer method? A Christian prayer method is a plan or strategy that you approach prayer with. There are a large variety to choose from and each one has its own merit, whether you are looking for quiet time, prayer with other people, or a prayer for healing. It is up to you to decide what helps you to best develop your relationship with the Lord.
There are a ton of different ways to pray, this list is certainly not all of them. Choosing a prayer method, or strategy, is super valuable as it helps you approach prayer with purpose and intentionality. Here we have some possible methods to try in your next quiet time.
ACTS and PRAY are both acronyms to help guide you through your prayer time while still giving you a lot of space to pray as you feel led.
The ACTS Acronym looks like this:
- Adoration – Praising God for who he is
- Confession – Humbly acknowledging your sin before God
- Thanksgiving – Praising God for what he has done and expressing gratitude for it
- Supplication – Asking God to provide for your needs or the needs of others.
The PRAY acronym looks like this:
- Praise – Praising God for who he is
- Repent – Humbly acknowledging your sin before God
- Ask – Asking God to provide for your needs or the needs of others.
- Yield – An act of submission to his will in your life.
The only real difference between them is where one prioritizes thanksgiving, the other prioritizes yielding, both of which are important and could be added to each other.
An important thing to note in this method is the order of areas you pray for. Prayer always begins with praise to God and humility for our own sin.
All too often we jump into prayer with a to-do list of things we want from God and don’t take the time to praise, confess, or thank him at all, or only as an afterthought.
2. Personalizing Scripture
One of the ways that we can interact with scripture during prayer is by inserting yourself or someone else into its context.
For example, if you are working to become more loving, you might pray to God that he would help grow you in love. 1 Corinthians 13 is a great passage on what love is and you might pray yourself into it, replacing the word “love” with your name.
Lord, I want to become more loving as you are loving. I, Paige, pray that you would make me like you so that Paige is patient and kind; Paige does not envy or boast; she is not arrogant or rude, she does not insist on his own way; she is not irritable or resentful; she does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Paige bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. So that I can treat you and your people better in all circumstances and bring honor and glory to your name.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.1 Corinthians 13:4-7
3. Corporate Prayer
Corporate prayer is coming together to pray as a group. Usually, there is a purpose for gathering in prayer.
For example, you might get together and pray for an area recently hit by a natural disaster, or perhaps the group is made up of your department at work and you are coming together to pray God’s will over your department.
It can take any one or multiple of these forms and is a great way to gather before the Lord.
4. Prayer Journaling/Prompts
This is one of my favorite prayer methods. To use this method, simply find yourself a journal or loose piece of paper and write down what you are praying about. To be able to see what you’re praying for is a whole different experience.
For me, it helps me develop my thoughts better and even to understand the root of the problem so I can pray into it better.
5. Prayer Through Song And Worship
This is another personal favorite of mine. Prayer through song and worship takes two forms, praying the lyrics of a song, or praying while you worship to that song.
Sometimes it’s hard to find the words to say, or the lyrics hit you in a new way. In these situations sometimes it is good to take the time to stop and pray those words.
6. Prayer Walks
This prayer method is really nice when you are praying over a specific location. I did this several times with my high school Bible study and we would walk around the hallways praying over the different classrooms, lockers, and offices and the people who gather there.
7. Praying the Psalms
In this method, simply select a psalm and use it to communicate your thoughts. The psalms are relatable in the lives of many people as the psalmist expresses both his joy in the Lord and the sorrows of his troubles.
When you are having trouble articulating what you feel sometimes it is easier to reflect on someone else’s words and personalize them to your own circumstances.
8. Praying the Scriptures
This method is basically the same as praying the Psalms just with a larger pool of scripture to pull from. If you are struggling with a certain passage of scripture and its application to your life, praying it over yourself, your circumstances, or over others can be a powerful tool.
9. Intercessory Prayer
Intercessory prayer is the commitment to fighting spiritual battles in prayer and asking to step in on your behalf according to his will. God cares for us deeply and in intercessory prayer, we are inviting him to express that care in our situation.
Intercessory prayer can cover a variety of other prayer methods as well including prayer walks, healing prayer, and corporate prayer. It is spiritual warfare in action.
10. The Lord’s Prayer
There seem to be two extremes to using the Lord’s Prayer. On one hand, people use it as the only way to pray, and on the other, they find it “old” or irrelevant or think they’ve already learned all they could from it. However, the reality lies somewhere in the middle.
There are a variety of ways to pray not limited to the Lord’s prayer. However, that doesn’t mean it should be discounted all together.
The Lord’s prayer was intended to be a model or example of how we should pray. You may want to use that layout with your own words. Either way, turn to Matthew 6 and give it a try, you may be surprised.
11. Silent Prayer
This form of prayer is not often talked about but it is super important. Prayer is a conversation with God, and conversations go both ways.
Silent prayer is an opportunity to simply be quiet and listen for the voice of God.
It is very easy to jump into prayer, rattle off a few things, and walk away without giving God the chance to speak to you.
Silent prayer is an opportunity to focus specifically on that, listening. It is not an easy task when your mind is going one hundred miles per hour. You may need to experiment with what time of day it is easiest to get quiet, and from there it just takes practice.
Take some time, quiet your spirit, and wait for the Lord to speak to you.
Fasting in and of itself is not prayer, however, prayer is usually a part of fasting. Christian fasting is the process of giving up something important to you for a certain amount of time in order to spend more time with God.
This is often in the form of prayer. People give up a variety of things such as food or social media.
By taking away something valuable in your life and replacing it with God, you are doing two important things. Firstly, you are reminding yourself that God is more important than whatever you are giving up. Secondly, you are allowing the separation from something to give you time to God.
13. Fixed-Hour Prayer
Fixed-hour prayer is another form of prayer that, while still practiced by some, is not commonly discussed. In this style of prayer, you set fixed hours each day to be set aside for prayer.
For example, you might pray every day at eight o’clock in the morning.
This is a very valuable practice that I am looking into for myself. By structuring your life around your prayers instead of your prayers around your life, you allow God to be the center of your schedule. It brings his presence into every part of our day and helps us keep our focus on him.
14. Inner-Healing Prayer
Prayers for inner healing are super important, and its value is very underestimated in our culture. Most people have no problem asking God to heal their physical ailments and injuries, however, approaching him with emotional hurts, lies, and other internal wounds is not as popular.
Until you bring your wounds to God, you will never experience true healing.
15. Listening Prayer
Listening prayer includes a variety of other prayer methods such as centering prayer, silent prayer, and contemplative prayer. Listening prayers are focused entirely on what God has to say instead of our own wants or agendas.
Listening prayers let God guide the conversation and give him room to speak in our lives.
16. Liturgical Prayer
Liturgical prayers are still fairly prominent in the church today and are usually considered to be a prayer, written by someone else, that you memorize and pray over yourself. This form of prayer is helpful especially when you are dealing with something that is hard to put into words. When this happens it can be helpful to pray someone else’s words over yourself instead.
17. Prayer of Lament
A prayer of lament is usually an expression of sorrow, anger, suffering, and frustration, among other things, in prayer to God. We see a lot of examples of this in Psalms for example, as David is crying out to God.
In this process we give those emotions to God and allow him to cast it away. It is the process of trusting in God and relinquishing that pain to him.
18. Visio Divina
Visio Divina is similar to praying with icons but on a broader scale. It can be described as a sort of “praying with the eyes,” by using a variety of artwork pieces as inspiration in prayer. The idea, essentially, would be that you would meditate on a piece of artwork and use those observations to guide your prayer time with God.
19. Centering Prayer
Centering prayer is a meditative sort of prayer that has fallen out of practice over the years. In centering prayer, the goal is to simply sit in the presence of God. Not to do or say anything but just to sit at his feet and allow him to become the center of everything in your life.
An important distinction to make between centering prayer and other forms of secular meditation is that secular meditation is focused on emptying the mind of everything, whereas centering prayer is more about letting go of your thoughts and replacing each one with Jesus, and focusing on Him.
20. Contemplative Prayer
Contemplative prayer is very similar to centering prayer, however, instead of focusing on centering your life around Jesus, this prayer method is focused more on abiding. John 15 shows us the importance of abiding with Christ, and for myself, I sometimes associate this with Psalm 46:10 to “Be still.”
In contemplative prayer, simply abide. Be with Jesus.
Allow God to speak to you without having to wait for you to close your mouth. And be ready to hear from him.
21. Conversational Prayer
A conversational prayer is a unique form of corporate prayer in which a group takes turns praying beginning with a focus on a specific topic. Each person only prays a few sentences and then the next person, and then the next.
Prayer circulates around the group as people feel led until they are led to a new topic, and the process begins again.
22. Prayer Partners
Praying with a partner is another valuable prayer method to consider. The purpose of this is to be able to come to God with another person you trust to seek him out in your circumstances, a shared passion, or some other topic. Prayer partners can provide accountability and support and are a great way to seek God in a form of corporate prayer.
23. Prayer of Recollection
Another form of prayer, a prayer of recollection, is focused on laying aside distractions to focus on God. Our world is constantly bombarding us with a million things that make it easy to be distracted.
This method focuses on taking every thought captive and giving it to God so that you can cast it aside and be in his presence.
24. Welcoming Prayer
A welcoming prayer is a prayer that invites God into every area of your life. This could mean letting go of your need for security and control, or it could be relinquishing an attitude geared towards pleasing people instead of God, or it could be releasing the desire to change reality and accepting what God has given you.
Being a part of the kingdom of God means submitting to his rule, reign, and authority in your life. A welcoming prayer helps you to begin to do that, daily seeking his will and authority in every area of your life.
25. Praying with Icons
This kind of prayer used to be very prevalent in historical churches however it is not used much anymore. Many historical churches had lots of paintings on the walls called icons which were representative of different theological principles.
The idea was that the congregation could think on those paintings as they prayed and use them as a means to better understand God.
While this form has somewhat disappeared over time, it is still a way for you to engage with God in a new way if you are looking to try something different.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the ways that you can pray, however, I hope that these provide you with a good place to start. Prayer is so important, and I encourage you to give a few of these methods a try. You might just be surprised at what you find.