Skip to Content

How to Pray | Jesus’ Simple Guide + All Your Questions Answered, Guaranteed

Are you interested in talking to God – even desperate to talk to God – but just not sure where to start? Friend, what a wonderful and beautiful desire you have in your heart!

Can I tell you something? God wants to hear from you! In fact, He’s been waiting for you!!

Here’s your no-nonsense guide to how to pray. It will introduce the prayer structure Jesus suggests in the Lord’s Prayer, discuss each part of that prayer in greater detail, and answer all of your questions.

Please be sure to read all the way to the end (including the FAQ) to ensure you don’t miss a thing. Have questions after reading the post? Please be sure to leave a comment at the bottom!

While I don’t have the bandwidth to approve and respond to biog comments every day, I do make a point to do so once a week and would be happy to help answer your questions!

So…how to pray? Let’s dive in together!

What Is prayer?

Prayer is simply communicating with God. It can include thanking and praising him, seeking His will in an area of your life, asking for His help, and more.

What Prayer is Not

Prayer is not a “name it and claim it” activity, though many churches would tell you otherwise. While Jesus instructs us to come boldly before Him in prayer, prayer is about so much more than improving your own situation in life, as we’ll see below.

Why should you pray? Why is it important to pray?

The Christian faith is based on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And what relationship would be complete without communication?

Prayer allows us to stay in close communication with God, to praise and worship Him, bring our questions and concerns to Him, and ultimately, place our earthly concerns within a heavenly perspective.

How do you pray? How to Pray

There are many ways to pray. Some people follow a very strict prayer structure, while others address God freely and at random, as if speaking to a friend.

How to Prepare For Prayer

Some prayers will feel distracted; there’s just no way around it! These are the prayers I pray while driving (gotta keep your eyes on the road!), between meetings at work, and while caring for my daughter.

However, you should ideally approach prayer at a time and in a place where you can focus. Turn off the TV, put down your phone, and step into a quiet room or closet. Just as you wouldn’t address a king while looking down at your phone, you shouldn’t address the King of Kings while continuing to scroll Instagram.

Now that you’re ready to focus, we will approach prayer following the direction suggested by Jesus during the “Sermon on the Mount.”

The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:5-15, ESV): What Jesus Taught About Prayer

5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 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.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

How to Pray the Lord’s Prayer

Let’s look at the Lord’s Prayer again, this time with notes on what each part of the prayer covers.

9 “Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name. (expressing adoration and praise for God)

10 Your kingdom come,

your will be done,

   on earth as it is in heaven. (honoring God’s will and sovereignty over our own

11 Give us this day our daily bread, (lifting our own needs and those of others)

12 and forgive us our debts, (repenting of sin and asking forgiveness)
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13  And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil. (asking God to help us resist temptations)

You may spend a few seconds or a few moments (or hours!) on each part of the prayer, depending on what is pressing most on your heart at the moment.

But it’s important to balance our prayers with a bit of each part – praise, confirming God’s will over our own, prayer requests, repentance, and asking for help to resist temptation. Without balance, we can easily begin to treat God like a genie, jumping straight into prayer requests and leaving when we’re through.

Let’s walk through each step in more detail below!

How do I begin a prayer? How to Start a Prayer

Start your prayer by addressing your heavenly Father (Dear God, Hi Father, etc.), then praising and thanking Him. Praise Him simply for who He is. Praise Him for what He’s doing in your life and around the world.

Next, acknowledge that God is the Creator of wisdom itself and ask for His will, submitting your will to His. Pledge your allegiance to His purposes and greater ways (Isaiah 55:9). This will help to place the rest of your prayer within a more heavenly perspective.

Pray for others.

I’ve personally found it helpful to lift others’ needs in prayer before lifting my own. It helps to shift my focus from myself to others (Philippians 2:3-8) and to ensure their needs aren’t lost over the course of the prayer.

This might include praying for friends and family, for neighbors and acquaintances, your town, city, and country, and even for believers and the lost all over the world. (I absolutely adore Live Dead Joy: 365 Days of Living and Dying with Jesus, a year-long devotional that includes daily prayers for unreached people groups around the world).

How to Pray For Someone

I think it’s important to mention here that our prayers for others should sound as if Jesus Himself were praying for them. (This is a note intended more for seasoned Christians, rather than new Christians. If you’re a new Christian, focus on establishing a regular prayer habit for now!)

What I mean by that is that Jesus wouldn’t likely say, “God, please help my sister to stop being such a horrible person to me. Please show her how very ungodly and ignorant she is and help her to acknowledge in the end that I was right all along and she was wrong.”

It sounds silly when you write it all out, doesn’t it? Yet, that’s how many of us pray!

A Jesus-like prayer would sound more like, “Lord, please draw my sister close to your heart. Whatever is happening in her home or in her mind right now, I pray that you would bring peace and healing. Please show me how I can demonstrate your love to her.”

(Are You Hearing God’s Voice or Your Own? 5 Handy Tricks For Telling the Difference offers a fantastic guide for knowing whether it’s our voice or God’s in our heads.)

Tell God what you need.

Are you stressed? Anxious? In need of healing for yourself or someone else? God cares about all of your needs.

I’ve asked God for such big things as miraculous healing and for such small things as helping me through a busy day at work or helping me to feel less awkward in a social setting.

In Matthew 6:31-33, Jesus assures us, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Ask for forgiveness and repent.

Repenting is about much more than willful sin. Of course, we should ask for forgiveness if we stole money from our employer or openly lied to someone.

But have we considered…the time we lost our cool with our kids? Or gossiped about that coworker? What about when we chose Netflix over picking up our Bible for the third night in a row?

This is a time to reflect on the ways we’ve fallen short and ask for God’s help to change our hearts and ways and to help us resist temptation.

End your prayer. Close in the name of Jesus.

It is because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross that we can freely approach God in prayer. This is why we close prayers, “in Jesus’ name, amen.”

When to Pray

You can pray at any time throughout your day, on the spot for special circumstances (when you become aware of a need, for example), at designated devotional times, in church, anytime really! Prayer is a conversation with God and conversation with God is always appropriate.

Pray with others.

Matthew 18:19-20 says, “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

For this reason, it’s also important to pray with others! Pray with your family, your friends, your Bible study small group, and your church congregation.

Pray the Word

One powerful way to pray is to pray over Scripture. This can include either reading the Bible and praying over certain verses or using specific verses to pray. (For example, you could speak a verse about healing over a friend’s health.)

Pray simply.

Remember that God isn’t looking for eloquent speeches. In fact, Jesus even speaks against elaborate, demonstrative prayers in Matthew 6:5!

God knows your heart. So speak simply and honestly, as you would with a friend.

Make prayer an essential part of every day.

As we noted above, communication is an essential part of every relationship. That means that if you are in relationship with Jesus, prayer should not only be a daily event, but a regular occurrence throughout every day!

Not only will this strengthen your relationship, it will also help to put each day into better perspective through the lens of your faith and God’s power.

Learning how to pray doesn’t have to be complicated! By following Jesus’ direction, practicing balance and a heavenly perspective, and approaching God with sincerity, we simply cannot lose.

What have you personally learned about how to pray? Be sure to share your story in the comments!


What are some scriptures I can study on how to pray?

Matthew 6:5-15 provides the Lord’s Prayer we discussed above. Mark 11:24, Romans 8:26, Ephesians 6:18, Philippians 4:6, and James 5:16 offer some additional insight.

Is there a right way to pray?

Any prayer is good prayer. The act of communicating with God, praising Him, expressing your needs, asserting His will over your life…that’s always going to be the right way to pray.

It is helpful, however, to keep the structure of the Lord’s Prayer at the front of your mind to ensure your prayers don’t become one-sided over time.

What do I say when I pray? What to Say When You Pray

Say what’s on your heart. Again, while the Lord’s Prayer offers direction on how to pray, prayer is really just communicating with God!

I’ve followed a structured list of praises and prayer requests in my prayers. But I’ve also had prayers as simple as saying, “God, am I going to survive this day? I’m so exhausted. Please help me!”

Your conversations with God will be as varied as your conversations with your best friend.

Should I pray out loud?

That’s up to you! God hears your spoken words as well as your thoughts, so it’s all the same to Him.

I do find myself praying out loud, however, when I need to focus (the same reason I often read out loud), when I’m alone, or when I’m praying with others.

What position should I be in to pray?

Again, whatever works best for you, works best!

Many people kneel (or even lay prostrate on the floor) to pray to show reverence to God. However, some people find physical disabilities, joint pain, or more can cause a distraction in this position.

Whatever position produces the most sincere and focused prayers is best.

Do I pray to God the Father, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit?

We generally pray to God the Father, since that is how Jesus taught us to pray. However, because God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are one, we don’t need to stress if we address Jesus or the Holy Spirit in our prayers.

God knows your heart and hears every prayer, whether you’ve addressed it directly to Him or to another part of the Trinity.

What are the 5 basic prayers?

If you had to narrow down prayer to five main ways to pray, most would narrow it down to adoration, thanksgiving, supplication (asking God for something), confession, and intercession for others.

What are the 3 main prayers?

Catholicism pinpoints three basic prayers – Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be. I practice nondenominational Christianity and so can’t speak to these (I personally find Catholicism less relatable), but you can find more information here if you’re interested.

Pray For Your Family Reference Cards

P.S. Do you want to more consistently pray for your family, but struggle to know what exactly to pray for them? Here are 10 meaningful things to pray for your spouse, 10 to pray for your children, plus printable reference cards to help you make prayer a habit! Download yours free HERE!

Disclosure: While all opinions are our own, we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate advertising programs, designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites, at no additional cost to you.