How Do You Pray?

prayer-2544994_960_720I’ve been leading a small group through a study on prayer at my church. As we’ve discussed what Jesus teaches us about praying the Model Prayer and through his own prayer life, I have been fascinated to learn of the prayer practices that those in the group have been using. It’s reminded me of just how beautifully unique God created each of us human beings. Some in the group pray using daily prayer lists. Others write out their prayers in journals. Some pray on their drive to work. While still others regularly pray the words of Scripture. 

For myself, I have made a regular routine of praying the Model Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) as an outline during my daily prayer time.

Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.

For instance, as I pray, “Our Father in heaven…” I remind myself that God cares for me, my family, my church, and my needs like the best father. I praise Him for His wisdom and care. I also reflect on His sovereign perspective over the world because of His seat “in heaven.” When I arrive at “your will be done…” I pray for God’s plans and purposes to work out in my life and the world around me. Here, I regularly ask for God to involve Himself in specific ways depending on what I or others I am praying for happen to be facing that day. Yet, I try to always pray my requests “open handed” toward God accomplishing His will.  I ask Him to help me actively obey and follow His will as He chooses to unfold it. I try to follow a similar pattern with each phrase of this prayer Jesus gave his disciples.

You can read more about my digging into this example Jesus gave us to pray here.

Each testimony and practice from those studying with me sparked my curiosity, and I began to wonder about you. What are some of your prayer practices? What important lessons about prayer have you learned along the way? How do you pray?

I look forward to reading your replies in the comments section.


Author: drroberthefner

I am a husband, father, minister, teacher, and author striving to love Jesus. A fan of all things Tolkien, Lewis, Marvel and Star Wars. I live in Pleasant Garden, NC, and am honored to serve as the Sr. Pastor at Pleasant Garden Baptist Church. I like school (Fruitland Baptist Bible College, A.A., 2001; North Greenville University, B.A., 2003; The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, M.Div., 2007; and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ed.D., Education, 2013). I have been married to Diana since 2003 and we have one son, Joseph. You can connect with me on Twitter @RobertHefner.

10 thoughts on “How Do You Pray?”

  1. As I have have attempted to assess the strength and weaknesses of my spiritual disciplines through the years, I have often rated my prayer life as inadequate at best. Whenever I try to remedy that by focusing on planned prayer times, I usually find my prayers becoming very rote, repetitive, and unsatisfying. Rather than focusing on prayer, I have found it more effective to focus on the presence of God. When I do that, prayers flow out of that intimate relationship as easily as daily conversations with my wife. My prayers have become more spontaneous, frequent, genuine, and increasingly effective.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My wife and I use the prayers and daily offices in the Book of Common Prayer. While at first it may seem a bit rote to use the BCP, it actually helps form our prayers and devotion. Every prayer is saturated with Scripture and sound theology. In the morning and evening orders for prayer, there is a time dedicated for us to offer our own intercessions. supplications, and thanksgivings.
    Using the BCP has helped me grow in my dependence upon the Lord in prayer, and also saturated my mind with the Scriptures, since reading the Bible is a major part of every order of prayer.

    Before praying in this manner, me and my wife just did a weekly Bible study with prayer tagged on at the end. Now we literally pray morning and evening. We’re not perfect in it, but we’ve grown tremendously, and we few God presents with us in our home and daily life more than ever before.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Emanuel! It’s good to hear from you! I have learned the benefit of using the Psalms in particular and the Model Prayer as written prayers to shape my prayer life, so I can appreciate the practice of praying from written prayers. I am encouraged to hear how you’ve grown from it. May God bless you and your wife! Blessings!


  3. I don’t always follow a plan, but I do often use the Tabernacle as a pattern for my prayer time. The elements are similar to those of the Model Prayer and it culminates in spending time in the presence of God (Holy of Holies). I try to alternate, so I’ve also used the more familiar and simple ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) model.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cameron, thank you for sharing! I’ve never heard of using the Tabernacle as a pattern for prayer. I appreciate you posting. That’s exactly the type of insight I was hoping to hear back.

      In such a timely way, I read an article on Spurgeon’s prayer life. I was encouraged to read of his unique approach to prayer. It’s reminded me that God has made us individually, and we each can come to Him, on His terms, according to how He has made us.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I had a professor once that took Jesus’ Matthew 6 prayer and compared it too Jesus’ John 17 prayer. The structure of the two are almost identical. I find it really interesting that Jesus tells us to pray “like” this. And then later on he actually does, he prayers “like” he did before. I try to pray in that manor when I pray. I pray for strength, courage, wisdom, peace, etc for me to do what God has led me too (my needs). I pray those close to me, friends and family (friends needs). And I pray for those I do not know, or know well (worlds needs).

    Of course it’s much easier to pray for myself only. But I find the practice of following what Jesus prayed for very helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jeffery,
      I appreciate your read and the insights comparing those two prayers. As I’ve been working through the Model Prayer and Jesus’ prayer life for more than a year, I am consistently fascinated by how much Jesus prayed and how clearly he prayed how he taught. Blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

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