Prayer is at the very heart of the Christian life because God has planted it within us.

Maybe you don’t think of yourself as a Christian but from time to time, you have found yourself praying? Have you ever prayed to God in a time of crisis? Have you ever found yourself rejoicing at the wonder of life and felt your spirits raise? These are all signs of prayer.

Prayer is the most amazing gift that God has given humanity. It is our ability to communicate with Him and for Him to communicate with us. Scripture, reason and experience show us that we aren’t alone and faith, in the believer, confirms that.

So how do we pray? How should we pray?

Well, there is no one answer to how one should pray. St John of Damascus writing in late antiquity says:

“Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God. Or the requesting of good things from God.”

The church actually teaches us that prayer is first and foremost God’s gift to us but it is also a wonderful example of the co-operation of God and humanity. God inspires us to pray and we respond by saying “yes, God” allowing ourselves to open up before God and letting our hearts cry out to him.

There is literally nothing you cannot share with God. He knows all the secrets of our hearts. The saints often got angry with God, therefore you must not try and hide anything from him. When you pray, talk to him and ask him for help and support. You might want to use your imagination, use a formal written prayer, or just talk to him. The most important thing about prayer is not how you pray but that you pray. Little and often is best.

Jesus taught his disciples how to pray like this:

Our Father, Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy Will be done,
on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer as it is known is a wonderful prayer to learn by heart for it also teaches us how to pray in every circumstance. Jesus permits us to call God “Our Father” which shows us that God is close to us. He is not distant – he is a loving Father to us, his adopted sons and daughters.

We find the Lord's prayer in two places in scripture, the one used above is based on the one found in St Matthew shown below.  Notice, however, neither of the biblical versions of the Lord's prayer include the doxology (For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.), which is actually a paraphrase, from the old testament, of 1 Chronicles 29:11: Yours, O Lord, are the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and on the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.

‘Pray then in this way:
Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come.

Your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.

Matthew 6:9–13

He said to them,

‘When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive

everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.’

Luke 11: 2–4

Prayer is diverse and includes:

The Mass – public offering of the Liturgy usually in Church. This is the greatest prayer we can offer to God. It is the offering of bread and wine to God as a sacrifice. Though the power of the Holy Spirit, the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.

The Rosary – can be said as an individual or communally.  We have a rosary group if you are interested in finding out more. 

Prayer before the Blessed Sacrament (Holy Hour) – This when the Blessed Sacrament is taken from the tabernacle and placed upon the altar so that people are able to pray before Jesus.

The Divine Office  – (We recommend Universalis) is of obligation for priests, monks and nuns but many lay people also pray these prayer. This type of prayer consists of reading parts of the Bible at certain hours of the day to make the day holy. Again, these can be said alone or with others.

Christian Meditation – (We recommend the Lectio Divina) is usually a solitary experience but can be done in a group. It is usually silent and allows the individual to listen to what God is saying to them.

Privately – we can speak to God at any time and in any place.

A useful model to help you with prayer is shown below:

You can find some basic Christian prayers here.