How to Pray

We can learn a lot about the practice of prayer from God’s people, who have actually been praying for thousands of years.

Below are a few of the practices that have been used across the centuries that may help you.

Keep a simple prayer list.

You can keep a simple prayer list, update it monthly (or as needed) and pray over it daily.   Some people like to keep the list on their smart phone while others like to actually write it out.   You can start your list by praying for God to help you to live out your calling to glorify and enjoy Him in every area of your life.   Then work your way through a list of people who are close to you, spouse, children, friends, etc.   Include a list of specific things you want to see God do as well as any burdens that you have.

Pray through the Psalms.

You can pray through the psalms in the morning and evening using the guide that is printed in the Book of Common Prayer.   The guide includes morning and evening prayers for each calendar day so that you pray through the Psalter once a month.  It is a good way to pray using the very words of Scripture.   Below is a schedule from the Book of Common Prayer.

Read one or more psalms from the schedule.   (On months with 31 days, the BCP suggests praying through the selection for day 30 again).

1 1-5 6-8 8 38-40 41-43 15 75-77 78 22 107 108-109
2 9-11 12-13 9 44-46 47-49 16 79-81 82-85 23 110-113 114-115
3 14-17 18 10 50-52 53-55 17 86-88 89 24 116-118 119:1-32
4 19-21 22-23 11 56-58 59-61 18 90-92 93-94 25 119:33-72 119:73-104
5 24-26 27-29 12 62-64 65-67 19 95-97 98-101 26 119:105-144 119:145ff
6 30-31 32-34 13 68 69-70 20 102-103 104 27 120-125 126-131
7 35-36 37 14 71-72 73-74 21 105 106 28 132-135 136-138
29 139-140 141-143
30 144-146 147-150

Source: Book of Common Prayer, 1622.

Pray with a prayer book.

Prayer books are part of the ancient practice of keeping the “hours of prayer, “ also know as the “daily offices.”   This practice emerged from biblical passages like “evening and morning and at noon will I pray” (Psalm 55:17) and “at midnight I will arise to give you thanks” (Psalm 119:62).   The ritual was continued by some early Christians (see Acts 3:1) and developed throughout church history.   Prayer books were eventually written to help guide the process and many are still in use today by various denominations.   Beginners may want to start with The Divine Hours:  Pocket Edition by Phyllis Tickle or Common Prayer Pocket Edition:  A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne.

Some resources to get you started.

The Book of Common Prayer: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

The Divine HoursTM, Pocket Edition

Common Prayer Pocket Edition: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals

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