Tag Archives: praying

Dark background, open hands

How to pray

This is my 3rd blog on prayer inspired by a recent trip to Spring Harvest. This is a Christian Conference in the UK where thousands of Christians get together for worship, learning and fellowship.

This year, I went to Minehead week 1 which means I was treated to bible teaching from Pete Greig – “best-selling author, pastor and bewildered instigator of the 24-7 prayer movement which has reached more than half the nations on earth.” I hope he won’t mind I am basing this blog on some simple tips he gave us because I think they’re so brilliant I want more people to know!

Keep it simple

I often struggle when speaking to my Lord and Saviour, I worry I’m not using the right language, that what I’m saying or how I’m saying it is good enough. We all use different language in different circumstances, for example at home with the kids verses out with the lads, that’s normal and natural. But the truth is, God knows me better than I know myself, he knows what language I use an he’s cool with it. If using fancy words is your bag, go for it; but for most people, it’s helpful to be clear and simple about what you want to say. Say sorry, say thank you and ask honestly for your prayers to be answered.

The prayer reads “Dear God, If I’m wrong, correct me. If I’m lost, guide me. If I start to give up, keep me going.” Set against a blue mountain background.

Keep it real

God knows what you’re going to say before you say it. That’s not a reason not to pray but I’m just saying we can’t keep secrets from him. But if he knows everything before we pray, why pray? God knows when you’re angry, when you’re grieving and when you’re worried but it’s up to you to enter into relationship with him, through prayer. If you’re angry, shout and scream; if you’re grieving cry, rant confusion, say what you need to say; if you’re worried tell God about it. There’s no point in pretending everything’s fine if it’s not.

Woman with mouth open wide, eyes tight shut, hands gripping the top of her head. She looks in agony, crying out to God.

Of course, if you’re experiencing joy, sing about that too!

Keep it up

This has always been the hardest one for me but developing a regular prayer life can be just like any habit. My prayer life has tended to be fairly informal and this has worked for me. If someone I know has needed specific prayer I’ve set time aside to do that but otherwise I’ve tended to chat to God while I’m driving or in the shower. This is fine but I think my relationship with God will benefit from regular prayer. Steve (my husband) and I have promised to pray with each other before bed every night. We have been wanting to do this for a long time but have found reasons not to – now is the season.

Quote read “When we put our problem in God’s hands, He puts His Peace in our hearts.” Against a pinky purple mountain backdrop

If you’re struggling to find a form of prayer that suits you, perhaps check out 10 radical ways to pray.Even if one of these isn’t for you, this might spark some ideas for something you might like to do!

The power of silence

Does anyone else find the world too noisy?

I think we’ve forgotten what quiet is like. Some people find silence awkward or uncomfortable, but I think that’s only because people feel a pressure to fill the gap.

Take the pressure away and silence is just that, some quiet time – there’s nothing intimidating or scary about that.

Yes, I know there are times, perhaps when meeting someone at a party, when small talk is polite, social etiquette is fine but that’s not what I’m talking about.

To be able to be silent with someone is a sign that the relationship has reached a deeper level. That you can just be with this person, without the pressure to fill the gaps says you’re totally comfortable with them.

Silence allows us to just be!

There are people who think out loud – I find this baffling but accept that’s what they need to do. It’s important to understand lots of people need time and space to think inside their heads.

I find it very difficult to concentrate when there’s extra noice around. I have make a conscious effort to block it out, it takes a lot of energy and this detracts from the actual thing I’m trying to concentrate on!

It’s amazing what we can discover in the gaps!

In my counselling training we’ve discussed how important it is to leave silence for our clients. It’s important to give them time to think, it’s only by doing this do we get beyond the practical facts of the situation and into the deeper feelings etc.

As a Christian, I pray daily. For me, this is not a formal process, I chat to God in my head. God does not need me to talk using my external voice. There are times I pray with other Christians. Praying out loud is something some people feel a pressure to do and can get quite anxious about saying “the right thing” – as far as I’m concerned there is no “right” way to talk to God, he knows everything that’s on our hearts, he does not need us to utter a word. The only reason to pray out loud is for the benefit of those around you, this is only necessary in specific circumstances. I pray weekly with a group of people where we share some prayers points, then we sit in silence for a few minutes – in this time God hears the prayers of every individual, instead of just the vocal one! Prayer is a 2 way thing – when Mother Teresa was asked what she said to God, she answered, “I listen”, when with excited anticipation she was asked “what do you hear God say?”, she replied “he listens” – I know this will not speak to everyone but for me it’s one of the most enlightening things I’ve ever heard.

Silence can be refreshing!

As a musician, I couldn’t write a blog about silence without mentioning John Cage’s 4’33”. I’ve never experienced it but I’m in no doubt, sitting in a concert hall full of people (adhering to concert hall etiquette), listening to nearly 5 minutes of ambient sound would be pretty powerful! Music is made up of notes of varying tone, pitch and duration with gaps of silence; John Cage challenges his audience to listen but he’s removed 1 aspect of the music. So, the debate continues about whether it’s music but there’s no doubt it’s an experience!

The therapy session that said to me “this therapist is for me” was one where I sat in silence. I thought he’d be angry that I wasn’t using the session productively – I felt pressure to fill the gap (it wasn’t silent, I was sobbing…) but I couldn’t put any of what I was feeling into words. Looking back, I was angry, but I didn’t have the word, I felt overwhelmed but didn’t know what it was. As a side note, my therapist wasn’t angry with me, he gave me what I needed – time and space to just be.

When I find silence, I can actually feel my ears relax! As a highly sensitive person, noise can be anxiety provoking, some sounds drill into my head as a physical sensation. But when I find silence, I feel my ears say “thank you”!

How about you try it? For a lot of people it will be difficult to find some quiet, but try, sit with your thoughts, don’t get caught up in them but mindfully notice them and see where they go! Quiet can nurture creativity, an inner calm or a deeper understanding of ourselves – it’s worth giving it a go!