Resources for Prayer

Prayer is simply conversation with God—listening to and speaking with him. Sometimes this means just sitting in God’s presence in silence. Sometimes it’s helpful to use our bodies when we pray to help us focus. This is not unusual: people lift their hands during worship, fold their hands and close their eyes during prayer, or perhaps kneel or lie prostrate when praying. Sometimes it’s helpful to use ancient, tried and tested prayers rather than struggling to come up with our own words on the spot.

The following are some prayer practices that may help you in your time of prayer. Use them however they will be helpful to you.

Palms Up, Palms Down Prayer

Palms up, palms down prayer is a way to help us focus on God by letting go of the things that distract us, worry us, frustrate us, anger us, etc., and giving them to God, as well as giving us a posture to receive what God has for us. This is a prayer that seeks God, nothing more, nothing less. It is about being in his presence and trusting him.

Here’s how you can begin:

● Sit comfortably, relax, and take a deep breath.

● Place your hands palms down on your legs.

● Imagine letting whatever is distracting (worrying, frustrating, angering, etc.) you drop out of your hands. Watch them drop out of your hands. You could even give whatever it is to Jesus.

● When you have let go of as much as you need to, turn your palms up in a posture of receiving. Tell God that you want to receive whatever he has for you today. Remain in silence with God.

● When your mind starts wandering, turn your hands palms down and let those distracting thoughts drop away.

● When you are ready, turn your palms up again to receive in silence.

Do this as many times as you need to release the things that burden you and be with God.

The Jesus Prayer (or Breath Prayer)

The Jesus Prayer is a simple, ancient prayer to focus us on Jesus. Its words come straight from scripture (Luke 18:13, 38): “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me [a sinner].” It is sometimes called “breath prayer” because it is sometimes timed with breathing. Here’s how you can begin:

  • Sit comfortably, but with good posture, feet flat on the ground. Relax. Take a deep breath. - Slowly breathe in and pray the words, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God…”

  • As you slowly breathe out, finish the sentence: “...have mercy on me, [a sinner].” - Repeat as often as you like. Or you may choose to remain silent and when your thoughts are distracted, say the words again.

The Lord's Prayer

Many of us have the Lord’s Prayer memorized, which can sometimes lead to it becoming empty words that we just say thoughtlessly. As a way to renew this prayer, pray it slowly, line by line, reflecting on the words of each line as you pray. You could also use each line as a prompt for praying for other things (e.g. “Your kingdom come…” may lead to prayer for peace and justice; “Give us this day our daily bread…” may lead to prayer for needs you are aware of.)

Our Father, who is 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 sins (debts, trespasses)

As we forgive those who have sinned (trespassed) against us (or our debtors)

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (or the evil one)

For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever, amen.

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina is a way to meditate on and engage in God’s Word. It is a time of listening to God’s voice in your life through Scripture. You begin with a passage and read through it four times slowly, pausing between each reading to reflect.

● The first time you read the passage, write down a word or phrase that stands out to you.

● The second time, draw or describe the image that you see.

● The third time, write down what it means to you today.

● The fourth time, write down what God is inviting you into today.

Suggested Passages:

● Matthew 5:3-16

● Romans 12:1-8

● Colossians 3:12-17

● John 1:1-18

● Isaiah 55:1-9

● Psalm 16

● Psalm 25:1-10

● Psalm 139

Prayer of Examen

The prayer of examen is a way to process your day with Jesus. Going through the past day, you take notice of times when you felt close to God, or when you were aware of His presence. You also take notice of when you were frustrated, angry, or felt that God was far away.

To do the prayer of examen, rewind the past 24 hours of your life in your mind. Let them play like a movie in your head. Notice things that stir up emotion. Ask yourself some questions like: When did I feel most fully alive today?

Be aware of the presence of God. Even picture yourself and Jesus watching your day together. As you watch, see what he has to say about your day. You can use these questions as a guide.

Giving thanks in the presence of God:

● When were you most aware of God’s presence?

● How was God there for you today?

● In what ways were you drawn to God today? Were there certain people, place, or activities that helped you become aware of God’s presence?

Becoming aware of not seeing God in your life:

● Over the past day, when did you feel farthest from God?

● Was there certain people, places, or activities that pulled you away from God?

● Repenting: Name one thing from the past day that you wish you had done or not done or done differently.

Moving forward into the presence of God:

● Ask God for what you need for the next 24 hours.

● Share how you hope to see God in the upcoming day.

End with thanksgiving, praising God for His constant presence!