How to Pray
Prayer has traditionally been thought of as a bit like a shopping list, or perhaps a letter to Father Christmas. If you go to a church and hear ‘the prayers' on a Sunday, it can sometimes seem like that! And those of us who were taught to pray in our childhood probably stopped at ‘God bless Mummy, God bless Daddy.' If you think this sounds like you, and you aren't sure how else to pray, you may want to go to our Getting Started section, which looks at How to Pray.
There is a place, an important place, for the prayers where we ask God for help. Some people call ‘HELP!' prayers ‘arrow prayers,' shot up to heaven, usually at a time of great need, and then usually forgotten or unacknowledged. These can make up many people's entire prayer life: an acknowledgement that when the chips are down, we'll try anything.
We hope the resources on this website will help you think more widely than this; to develop many styles of prayer, from ‘arrow' prayers through meditative ‘taking a minute' changes to our daily pattern, to quiet reflective prayer, which can for some become as natural as breathing itself. But, for many people, prayer comes into its own at times of crisis. Here the ‘arrow prayer' is the heart of the matter. It's not inferior in any way!
The material on this site offers a range of approaches and styles, so we hope that you will find something that will suit you whether you are simply curious about prayer or are already praying.
The very first questions people tend to ask are:
What is prayer?
How do you pray?
Prayer takes so many different forms; the best way to answer the first question is to start praying, so that you can arrive at your own answer.
Different people pray in different ways, so you may like to try various approaches until you find what works best and most effectively for you.
Later on in the site we have included a selection of prayers that may inspire you. Some are centuries old and have been greatly valued by the people who use them, but we have also included many more modern prayers, as some may find the formal language of some older prayers less helpful.
Many people who are not new to prayer need a refresher course, either because they haven't prayed for a long while, or because they feel somewhat stuck or stale in their prayer.
Different ways of praying feel right for us at different stages in our journeys through life; the time may have come for a change.
Others simply like to find a useful source of written prayers for their own use, which can refresh their times of prayer.
If you are curious about prayer but not sure where to begin, follow this link to Getting Started
If you are already praying but in need of some refreshment, you might prefer to explore Types of Prayer
If you are interested in exploring prayer further, we would recommend the following books:
Growing Spiritually with the Myers-Briggs Model by Julia McGuinness is a book that will help you to understand how elements of individual personalities interact identify blind spots and areeas for growth;
Spirituality Workbook by David Runcorn is an informative guide to a variety of different spiritual traditions, and a way to deepen your own spirituality.