I’m a wanna-be prayer warrior. I long to grow a deeper prayer life, but I have a secret struggle with boredom. I know prayer carries power and changes lives. But when I sit down to pray, I find it hard to focus. After three minutes, my mind travels back to the last season of Downton Abbey, or wanders to my to-do list. Or I try to pray before bed, but I fall asleep.
Are prayer wimps a thing? I suspect I am one and I’m left wondering how to pray better.
I don’t mean to be flippant. Prayer is an amazing privilege. Through words like these in scripture, we have an open invitation from the God of the universe: “Call to me and I will answer you.” (Jeremiah 33:3a) We have a promise that He hears us: “You will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” (Jeremiah 29:12)
Through the pages of our Bibles, we see examples of men who prayed. Even Jesus, the Son of God, prayed. So I know I should too, but I find it challenging. I suspect I’m not alone. Many Christians struggle with knowing how to pray.
Why do we struggle with prayer?
SEE ALSO: 2 Overlooked Truths about Prayer that Will Change How You Pray
Maybe we over-spiritualize it. We think we have to pray long and eloquent for it to really work. We measure ourselves with spiritual giants like Billy Graham or Mother Teresa, and we feel unqualified and unworthy. Sometimes we separate prayer from the rest of life; we look at it as something we do at prayer meetings or in our quiet time.
When I read Paul’s words in Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful,” I wonder… how do I devote myself to prayer when I have a regular life with a job and kids? I forget that Paul was surely talking about a heart attitude, not a never-ending prayer meeting or devotional time. Devoted prayer is a heart tendency to turn to God at each turn in our day.
On my journey from prayer wimp to warrior, I’m discovering a few practical tips for how to pray:
Table of contents
Tip 1: Pray Simply
We might think we have to pray passionate, persuasive words for God to hear us, but in reality He listens even to our shortest “SOS” prayers.
SEE ALSO: Why Prayer is So Hard and 3 Ways to Get Better at It
“The fewer the words, the better the prayer,” said Martin Luther. Isn’t that reassuring? We can talk to God in everyday language, just like we talk to a friend. We don’t have to pray long. God delights in a simple word of praise, like “Lord, I love you.” He treasures the anguished prayer of a mother when she calls, “Heal my child.” He answers the simplest request: “Lord, give me strength for today.”
Tip 2: Read the Word
Have you ever had a one-sided conversation with someone who talked continually without listening to you? The conversation didn’t go very far, did it? We do the same thing to God when we pray without reading the Bible, His eternal letter of love and wisdom to each one of us on earth. Reading Scripture helps us get to know God. It brings life to our prayers.
If you want to have a more effective conversation with God, read Scripture. Let David’s words in the Psalms enliven your prayers. Stop in the Gospels to pray over a verse that strikes you, asking God to work that truth into your heart. Let the words of Paul’s letters give you specific prayer requests for yourself and the people you love.
Tip 3: Make Prayer Active and Multi-Sensory
Prayer grows dull when we turn it into a purely mental exercise. God made us creative beings, so why don’t we bring creativity to our prayer lives? Lighting a fragrant candle can send a signal to our brains: “It’s time to pray.” It can bring a sacred sense of awe to a few minutes of prayer. Listening to music can help us focus on God. Many people enjoy doodling, drawing, or painting while they pray.
SEE ALSO: What Does It Mean to Pray with Faith?
I help my ADHD-plagued brain focus on prayer by keeping a prayer journal. Making a list of requests keeps my mind alert; I stop to pray for each petition after jotting it down. Occasionally I write out longer prayers like a letter. A prayer journal builds faith when you look back over your petitions and recall God’s answers.
Remember you don’t have to sit quietly to pray. My best prayer times happen out on the walking trail. Praying aloud also helps me keep my mind engaged, but I save that for prayer times at home.
Tip 4: Make Prayer an Integral Part of Your Day
This verse baffles me: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;” (1 Thess. 5:16-17) Is it really possible to pray without ceasing?
How about trying an experiment? Start and end your day with prayer. Lift up short prayers to God as often as you can throughout your day. Pray over your schedule. Ask God to help you with your to-do list. When you hear a troubling news report, lift the situation up to God. Say a prayer for your spouse or child as you give him or her a hug. Pray for the person you’re talking to. A friend of mine gives thanks whenever she stops at red lights while driving. Look for prayer moments that work for your life.
Tip 5: Pray Expectantly
Prayer becomes a lifeless exercise when we’re not looking for answers. Jesus invites us to expect God to work. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
How much more exciting prayer becomes when we keep our eyes open to watch for God’s answers. Sometimes I wonder how many answers we miss because we don’t really expect God to respond.
Remember Colossians 4:2: “Devote Yourselves to Prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
How about getting started today? Don’t get discouraged if you get distracted like I do. Just get back on track. Pray and watch for God’s answers, so you can thank Him. He might answer differently than you expect, but His answer will always be better than what you had in mind.
Here are some of our most visited prayers on a variety of topics. You can use these sample prayers to lead your words and to crate your own prayer.
Prayer for Healing
Prayer for StrengthPrayer for ProtectionMorning PrayersGood Night PrayersThe Prayer of JabezShort PrayersThe Lord’s PrayerThe Prayer of St FrancisSerenity PrayerPrayer for ForgivenessPrayer for GuidanceIrish Prayers and BlessingsPrayers for My HusbandPrayers for My SonPrayers for My DaughterPrayer Quotes
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Betsy de Cruz enjoys God, life with teenagers, and dark roast coffee. Betsy’s passion is to encourage women to get God’s Word in, so their faith can spill out, even during life’s bumpy moments. She and her family live in the Middle East. Most days she feels privileged to live overseas; other days she wants to pull her hair out and catch the next plane home. Betsy writes about real life faith on her blog, faithspillingover.com, on Facebook. and on Twitter.
Updated date: January 19,2018
Prayer does not need to be a flowery speech; its how we talk to God. We pray when we want to communicate thanksgiving or a need to our Heavenly Father. He is the source of our strength and every one of our prayers is heard by Him. He not only listens and answers our prayers; He also tells us how to pray. We see the model for prayer as given by Jesus in Matthew 6. I list the model below amongst these ten powerful prayers for strength.
Strength in What Jesus Teaches and Does
Jesus Teaches Us to Pray; Physical and Spiritual Strength
Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV) After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Jesus Acknowledges God’s Strength in Raising Lazarus
John 11:41-42 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”
Jesus Needed Strength; He Petitioned The Father
John 12:27-28 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
Jesus Prays For All Men; the Strength of Selfless Love
John 17 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Powerful Prayers of Old Testament Men
Jabez Prayed for Strength in an Enlarged Land
I Chronicles 4:10 Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.
Nehemiah’s Prayer; Strength For a Big Project
Nehemiah 1:5-11 …“O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”
Jonah’s Prayer from the Belly of a Fish
Jonah 2:2-7 …“I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me. Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple. ‘The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit,O LORD my God. When my life was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple. Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the LORD!”
Prayer For Strength in a Song
O Strength and Stay (John Bacchus Dykes; Ambrose of Milan)
O Strength and Stay upholding all creation,
Who ever dost Thyself unmoved abide;
Yet day by day the light in due gradation
From hour to hour through all its changes guide.
Grant to life’s day a calm unclouded ending,
An eve untouched by shadows of decay, The brightness of a holy deathbed blending With dawning glories of the eternal day.
Hear us, O Father, gracious and forgiving,
Through Jesus Christ Thy co-eternal Word, Who, with the Holy Ghost, by all things living Now and to endless ages art adored.
Lead Me (Sanctus Real)
I look around and see my wonderful life
Almost perfect from the outside
In picture frames I see my beautiful wife
But on the inside, I can hear her saying…
“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can’t
Don’t leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, what about us?
Show me you’re willing to fight
That I’m still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone”
I see their faces, look in their innocent eyes
They’re just children from the outside
I’m working hard, I tell myself they’ll be fine
They’re in independent
But on the inside, I can hear them saying…
So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I’m called to be
Oh, Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won’t You lead me?
To lead them with strong hands
To stand up when they can’t
Don’t want to leave them hungry for love,
Chasing things that I could give up
I’ll show them I’m willing to fight
And give them the best of my life So we can call this our home Lead me, ’cause I can’t do this alone
Father, lead me, ’cause I can’t do this alone
Our God is Greater (Chris Tomlin)
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Christian Prayers for Strength oftentimes serve as Healing Prayers. The succeeding Prayer for Strength will enable you to find the strength and guidance that you need in these trying times.
No matter how strong or successful we are, there will come a point that our strength will be depleted and we will be compelled to lay down our loads and rely on someone or something to hold on to. Everyday, we are confronted with cares of unimaginable proportions and it does not take a genius to recognize that somehow, something is missing, something is wrong.
We have the propensity to ignore our condition thinking that life just have to be this way – responsibilities, obligations, duties, whatever term you have for it are but a normal part of life so we have to live by it. Burdens continue to pile up, problems grow worse, and anxieties tend to double until you find yourself unable to function, no remaining energy to go on. The Scriptures is replete with Prayer for Strength verses and they will help you to retain or regain your physical or spiritual vitality, strength and courage.
“The Lord is my strength, my shield. My heart was sure of him, I have been helped and my heart exults, with my song I give him thanks.” ~ (Psalms 28:7)
“But those who hope in Yahweh will renew their strength. They will soar as with eagle’s wings; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and never tire.” ~ (Isaiah 40:31)
“He is the God who girds me with strength and prepares my ways.” ~ (Psalms 18:33)
“The Lord is my strength, my shield. My heart was sure of him, I have been helped and my heart exults, with my song I give him thanks.” ~ (Psalms 28:7)
Are you in this situation? Are you feeling disheartened, weak, helpless, and in turmoil? You will never find strength apart from its real Source. Strength and comfort are in Him alone. God is now calling on you to turn over all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7) If you have received God’s invitation for salvation, He is indwelling in you. All the power and glory of God is locked inside your flesh, in your spirit when you opened your heart to Jesus, His Son.
God can and will re-energize, revitalize, rehabilitate, and revive your tired body, restless soul, and weary spirit. If you are now ready for God to do just that, follow this on how to pray —
“Heavenly Father, I am now here distraught and utterly hopeless. I confess all my sins to You, heal my spirit, soul, and body. I commit to completely turn away from a lifestyle of sin and allow You to have full control of my life. I have been so tired and heavily laden, please give me rest. I resign from running the affairs of my life and let You reign in all aspects. Remove all the worries, anxieties, fears, and trepidations in my mind, will, emotions, and heart. Lift off all the shock, fear, trauma, terror, grief, pain, and shame off my spirit. I pray for divine order in my entire being and everything concerning me – my family, studies, career, ministry, relationships, finances, plans, desires, and dreams. I want Your best for my life. I desire Your perfect will in all areas of my life, not Your permissive will. Teach me to depend solely on You for strength, not on people or things. Strengthen also my inner man and spirit to withstand all the temptations of the wicked one. I bless You Lord at all times. Your praise will always be in my mouth. I ask for the joy of the Lord to be my strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) Let there be light in my life. I believe that You hear this prayer for healing. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.”
You may have uttered many prayers before. Jesus said in His Word for us come to Him all of us who are tired and burdened and He will give us rest. (Matthew 11:28) When you prayed the above Christian prayer, be assured that God has already lifted all the tiredness and weakness from you. Why don’t you lie down now in bed and ponder on this short devotional healing prayer and totally rest in Him? You may play a soft instrumental music and listen to God’s voice. He is asking you now to be in a position of rest for you to receive supernatural strength in hard times to enable you to go on with your days. Every time you feel weak, just say this Prayer for Strength and rest assured, you will find energy and enablement that you need.
Here are some other prayers and bible verses you may find useful:
Praying for Determination, Tenacity and Strength
Prayer for Wisdom
Prayer of Faith
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