How to Pray


Keep it Simple

The best bit of advice I’ve ever received about how to pray was this: keep it simple, keep it real, keep it up.

In today’s Scripture, Jesus warns us against getting over-complicated in prayer. Instead, we are to keep it simple. To go into our room, close the door, and spend time with our Father. Jesus models this simplicity with The Lord’s Prayer, a prayer that was just thirty words long in its original language and takes approximately thirty seconds to read aloud. Jesus reminds us that prayer is the most natural and simple thing in the Universe. 

If you’re new to faith, you will probably have all sorts of sensible questions about prayer. I remember a sophisticated-looking lady coming to speak to me one Sunday after a service. "I’m new to Christianity," she said. "Is it all right if I talk to God in the shower?"

I was driving a friend across town. He was a brand new believer and I suggested we pray. "No way!". he screamed, and tried to grab the wheel, terrified that I was about to close my eyes.

There are very few rules for Christians when it comes to prayer. Yes, of course we can pray in the shower, or while driving our cars. We are not required to close our eyes, to adopt a particular posture, to dress in a certain way, to wash ourselves ritually, or to use a fixed form of words simply to be heard by God. Some of these things can on occasions be helpful, as we shall see later, but the writer of Hebrews is clear that God’s presence is freely available to us all at any time, in any place, through Jesus (Hebrews 10:19).

God invites you to pray simply, directly and truthfully in the full and wonderful weirdness of the way he’s actually made you. Take a walk in the rain. Write prayers on the soles of your shoes. Sing the Blues. Rap. Write Petrarchan Sonnets. Sit in silence in a forest. Go for a run until you sense God’s smile; throw yourself down a water-slide, yelling hallelujah if that’s honestly your thing.

How might you spend time with God today in a way that is joyful and life-bringing for you? 

Let’s pray together:

God, thank you for the unique and wonderful way that you made me. Please help me to pray simply: to remove complications from my prayer life, to shut the door to distraction and to talk freely with you. Amen