The answer to your “Why and how do I pray?” question may be different than mine! But, these reasons for prayer – and these prayer tips – can help you figure out why you pray, which may strengthen your relationship with God.
Above all else, prayer allows us to tap into God Himself…
“Through appreciation of the wisdom of the past, through prayer, and most of all, through deep meditation, we can become one with the inner silence that is a part of God,” writes Jeffrey Moses in Oneness: Great Principles Shared by All Religions.
Becoming one with God is why some people pray…but what does that mean? What are the consequences or side effects of getting closer to the “inner silence that is a part of God”? How do you develop a better relationship with God? If you struggle with the whys, hows, and whens of prayer, you may find How to Pray When You Don’t Know What to Say: More Than 40 Ways to Approach God helpful.
And, here are a few thoughts on a prayer-filled life…
Why Do I Pray? Reasons for Prayer
Different people pray for different reasons, but here are three common ones…
A sense of peace, comfort, and love. When I pray, I’m often (not always) consumed with love, gratitude, warmth, peace, and comfort. I feel like God’s arms are embracing me, that I’m protected from harm. I feel happy, joyful, and cared for. It doesn’t matter how I pray – a quick “God, be with me!” when I’m nervous or scared can be effective. Prayer quiets my thoughts and fears, and gives me strength.
Spiritual growth, enlightenment, and awareness. “But prayer, obviously, isn’t just about our basic wants, needs, hopes, and fears,” writes Tom Harpur in Prayer: The Hidden Fire: Journal and Companion Guide. “It’s ultimately about growing into an intimate relationship with the One in whose image we have been created. It’s about enlightenment, about finally awakening to who we really are and to our total unity with God, with all other living beings, and with the seemingly inanimate parts of the cosmos as well – the sky, the seas, lakes, rivers, mountains, and winds.” Why do we pray? To connect with the Universe; to become part of the Whole.
Acknowledgment of the Creator. Another reason why I pray is to “tip my hat” to the God who created me, who sustains me, and who loves me. As with any relationship, you need to put time and effort into your relationship with God. One way to do this is to develop a regular prayer life – and learn how to pray with your whole heart. When you pray, you give God your attention, time, and energy. You acknowledge that you are His, and He is yours.
How Do I Pray?
There are several models of prayer or “ways to pray”, but I believe God is less concerned with how we approach Him than how often we approach Him! I doubt He’s looking for a formula, even one like the Lord’s Prayer. Don’t get me wrong — I know Jesus told us to pray the Lord’s Prayer, and I pray it often. But, I also think there are hundreds of good ways to pray. And, we don’t have to approach God in a specific way all the time.
A few prayer tips…
- Worry less about what and how to pray; focus on talking to God.
- Open your heart. Listen for God’s voice.
- Remember that nothing is too small or trivial to bring to God in prayer.
- Practice different ways to pray (meditation, chanting, aromatherapy, etc) until your own “best way to pray.”
- Pray with other people. It’s awkward at first, but it strengthens your relationships and spirituality.
To learn about the power of prayer in relationships, read Christian Prayers for Couples – 5 Ways to Approach God Together.
What do you think of these thoughts on why and how to pray, or my prayer tips? I welcome your comments below…