Not only does God love speaking to you, he also loves hearing from you (John 16:24). Prayer doesn’t have to be a complicated thing. It’s really just you talking to God and learning to listen to him.
The best way to learn to pray is to pray. There’s no formula to it. You’ll learn a lot as you practice. Like in any relationship, at first it can be a little hard knowing what to say, but the more you get to know someone, the more you have to talk about. The more you talk to God, the more natural it will feel, until it becomes a regular part of your life. When great things happen in your day, you can thank God for them. When you get frustrated or tempted, God is right there to listen to you and help.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you learn to talk to God:
Approach God just as you are. When we do sinful things, it’s really easy to think we have to clean ourselves up first before talking to God, but then we just end up ignoring God for a while. When you mess up, go straight to God, tell him about it and trust in Jesus’ sacrifice to make you clean. God promised to cleanse you and help you. You can’t cleanse yourself (Hebrews 4:15,16).
You can pray about anything. God created the universe, but that doesn’t mean he’s uninterested in the small details of your life (Psalm 139:1-4). Hopes, dreams, relationships, work, money, family, self-discipline, sinful habits — these are all things we can talk about with God. If you ever feel stuck about where to start, try the ACTS method.
You don’t have to pray alone. The Bible says the Holy Spirit lives in us and that one of his roles is to help us know what to pray (Romans 8:26). You can also experience the joy of praying with other followers of Jesus (Acts 2:42).
If you’re not sure how to begin connecting with God regularly, try these steps:
1. Create a New Habit
Find your window. Are you a morning person? A night owl? Are you a shift worker or an exhausted parent who’s sleepy most of the time? Try to pinpoint a time of day that will actually work for you. Would your lunch hour work? You might need to get creative.
Set up a cue. A cue is a connection your brain makes between two things. It’s how habits are formed. Set up a cue for yourself that will help you develop a devotional habit. “Whenever I rock my baby to sleep, I will pray.” “I will read my Bible while I have my morning coffee.” If you’re someone who needs to move, you could listen to the Bible and pray during your walks or runs.
Start small. Don’t aim for hour-long sessions with Jesus just yet. Start with 10–15 minutes. You’ll be amazed at how much difference even 15 minutes every day will make.
2. Listen to God
Prayer isn’t just you talking to God. Listening to God is important too. Here’s some help to learn to recognize God’s voice.
3. Find Someone Who Will Pray With You
It’s a great idea to have the prayer and encouragement of a Christian friend, and to get together regularly to share what’s going on in your life. Together, you can come before God in prayer. Can you think of one person in your life who would be willing to pray with you regularly? Get in touch and ask him or her to be your prayer partner. If you can’t think of someone, one of our mentors (or fill out the form in the Connect tab below) would be happy to help.