Prayers for the heart

Whether you have had a personal relationship with God for years or you are only beginning to discover who Jesus is, we all need guidance sometimes when it comes to prayers. It’s often hard to find the words to pray, that’s why we put together this collection of short prayers. The following short prayers offer guiding words to use for praying over various topics including worry, anxiety, doubt, forgiveness, fear, and other areas of life where we need to ask for God’s help. Please use these prayers and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you as you add some of your own words and personalize your petitions to God.

Short Prayer for Difficult Times

~ Jennifer O White

Prayer for Peace

Father God, my heart is filled with chaos and confusion. I feel as if I am drowning in my circumstances and my heart is filled with fear and confusion. I really need the strength and peace that only You can give. Right now, I choose to rest in You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen. ~ Mary Southerland.

Prayer for the Broken-Hearted

Lord, my heart is broken but You are near. My spirit is crushed, but You are my rescuer. Your Word is my hope. It revives me and comforts me in especially now. My soul faints, but you are the breath of life within me. You are my help, the One who sustains me. I am weak but You are strong. You bless those who mourn, and I trust You to bless me and my family with all that we need. You will rescue me from this dark cloud of despair because You delight in me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Jennifer White
 

prayers for the heart

Prayer for Perseverance

Holy Lord, Thank You for grace. Please help me move beyond the hurdles that trip me up and give me the strength and wisdom to look up and see the hope I run toward in Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Gwen Smith

Prayer for Self Control

Father, today I ask forgiveness of all the negative and harmful words I have spoken about myself. I do not want to abuse myself in such a way again. Transform my thoughts and let me understand how marvelously you made me. Change my habits so I use my tongue to speak hope and favor upon my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen. ~ Sarah Coleman

Prayer for Your Children

~ Dr. Neil T. Anderson

Prayer for Loving Like Jesus

Father, I have to thank You for looking beyond my faults and for loving me unconditionally. Forgive me when I fail to love others in the same way. Give me eyes to see the needs of the difficult people in my life, and show me how to meet those needs in a way that pleases You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Mary Southerland

Prayer for God’s Direction

Lord, help me not to lean on my own understanding but in everything acknowledge You so that You can direct my words, thoughts and actions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Sharon Glasgow

Prayer for When You Feel Unworthy

~ Renee Swope 

Prayer For Worry

Father, I am tempted to worry about so many things. Our world is a mess! Forgive me for focusing on anything or anyone but You. Thank You for the Bible that equips and empowers me to live each day. Right now, I declare that You are my only Hope. Please help me remember that You really are in control. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Mary Southerland

Prayer for God’s Strength

Lord, thank you for your greatness. Thank you that when I am weak, you are strong. Lord, the Devil is scheming and I know he desires to keep me from spending time with you. Don’t let him win! Give me a measure of your strength so that I might not give into discouragement, deception and doubt! Help me honor you in all my ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Debbie Przybylski

Prayer for Control of Tongue

~ Debbie Przybylski

Prayer When Feeling Inadequate

Dear Lord, Thank You for fearfully and wonderfully creating each of us. Thank You for giving us worth in Your eyes. Help us live as the one You uniquely intended us to be. Help us abide instead of strive, living peacefully and joyfully as heirs to Your Kingdom and co-heirs with Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Julie Sunne

Prayer for Being Grateful

Father, I am so sorry for the way I complain about my circumstances. Please forgive me for my bad attitude when things don’t go my way. I want to see Your hand in every part of every day – good or bad. Help me learn how to face every storm with confidence, knowing that You really are in control even though I cannot hear Your voice or see Your hand at work. In Jesus Name, Amen. ~ Mary Southerland

Prayer of God’s Provision

Dear Father God, Thank You for Your unfailing love for me, Your blessings, and goodness. Thank You for Your faithfulness to guide me and see me through times of uncertainty, for lifting me up, and setting me on high. Thank You for Scripture that comforts and reminds me of Your promises, plan, and provision. Thank you for taking away my fears and worries, the what-ifs, and reminding me that my help comes from You. Help me be a good steward and to sow wisely. In Christ’s Name, Amen. ~ Renee Davis

Prayer for Growing Faith

Dear Lord, help me – every single morning – to find faith in the midst of the chaos. Give me the desire and ability to see You, hear You, talk to You, and give thanks to You. And as I do, I pray that I will draw nearer and nearer to You, and that my faith will multiply exponentially as I understand in new, deeper ways that You are everything I ever hoped You would be. And so much more. Amen. ~ Kelly O’Dell Stanley

Prayer for Confidence

Lord, help me let go of my fear of failure. I know Satan wants to use my fears to hold me back from living boldly for You. Forgive me for not living in faith, and help me from this moment on to live with bold confidence in You. Lord, help me not compare myself to others around me. I pray instead that I can keep my eye on You and live a life that proclaims Your excellence. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen. ~ Rick Warren

Prayer for a Heavy Heart

Lord, I want to lay before you all that weighs heavy on my heart. Reveal even the sin I am not aware of, Lord. I lay these at your feet and pray your forgiveness on me. I believe you when you say that you wash us whiter than snow. Thank you Lord for your unending love for me! Help me start fresh right now to make choices that honor you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Rick Warren 

Prayer for Hope and Trust

Father, sometimes it does feel that you have left us in the battle. We know that you are with us, but so are our feelings of aloneness. The Enemy seems to be taking ground. Our crying out to you seems to go unanswered. We know you are at work, but help us trust you in the midst of our questions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Ron Moore 

Short Prayer for Thankfulness

God, sometimes life gets me down and I find it hard to see things to be thankful for. Open my eyes to see the gifts you’ve given me in my life. I’m going to start by thanking you for loving me enough to come to earth and die so we can live together forever. Amen. ~ Wendy van Eyck

Prayer for Restored Relationships

Father God, open my eyes to see the ways I’m like Cain. What conflicts am I allowing to brew in my family? What anger is bubbling into murderous rage in my relationships? Thank You for the clarity to see how hatred kills relationships. I choose instead the way of love. Love protects. Help me to protect those I love by loving them. Your way is always best, Father. I pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ James MacDonald

Which one of these short prayers spoke the most to you and how can we be praying for you? Comment below and let us know! 

prayers for the heart

This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can’t find the words to pray.

Prayer for Healing

Prayer for StrengthPrayer for ProtectionMorning PrayersGood Night PrayersSerenity PrayerA Birthday PrayerSinner’s PrayerPrayer for ForgivenessPrayer for GuidanceIntercessory PrayerPrayer for PeacePrayer for FaithPrayer for Love

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The question is always being asked, “Is it possible for those living in the world to occupy themselves with noetic prayer?” To those who ask we answer quite affirmatively, “Yes.” In order to make this exhortation of ours comprehensible to those interested, but at the same time to make aware those who are unaware, we will briefly explain this, so that no one will be placed in a quandary by the various interpretations and definitions of noetic prayer that exist.

Generally speaking, prayer is the sole obligatory and indispensable occupation and virtue for all rational beings, both sentient and thinking, human and angelic. For this reason we are enjoined to the unceasing practice of the prayer .

Prayer is not divided dogmatically into types and methods but, according to our Fathers, every type and method of prayer is beneficial, as long as it is not of diabolic delusion and influence. The goal of this all-virtuous work is to turn and keep the mind of man on God. For this purpose our Fathers devised easier methods and simplified the prayer, so that the mind might more easily and more firmly turn to and remain in God. With the rest of the virtues other parts of man’s body come into play and senses intervene, whereas in blessed prayer the mind alone is fully active; thus much effort is needed to incite the mind and to bridle it, in order that the prayer may become fruitful and acceptable. Our most holy Fathers, who loved God in the fullest, had as their chief study uniting with God and remaining continuously in Him; thus they turned all of their efforts to prayer as the most efficient means to this end.

There are other forms of prayer which are known and common to almost all Christians which we will not speak about now; rather we will limit ourselves to that which is called “noetic prayer”, which we are always being asked about. It is a subject that engages the multitude of the faithful since next to nothing is known regarding it, and it is often misconstrued and described rather fantastically. The precise way of putting it into practice as well as the results of this deifying virtue, which leads from purification to sanctification, we will leave for the Fathers to tell. We paupers will only mention those things which are sufficient to clarify the matter and to convince our brethren living in the world that they need to occupy themselves with the prayer.

The Fathers call it noetic because it is done with the mind, the “nous”, but they also call it “sober watchfulness” which means nearly the same thing. Our Fathers describe the mind as a free and inquiring being which does not tolerate confinement and is not persuaded by that which it can’t conceive on its own. Primarily for this reason they selected just a few words in a single, simple prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me”, so that the mind would not require a great effort in order to hold on to a long, protracted prayer. Secondly, they turned the mind within, to the center of our reason, where it resides motionless with the meaning of the divine invocation of the most sweet Name of our Lord Jesus, in order to experience as soon as possible the divine consolation. It is impossible, according to the Fathers, for our all-good Master, being thus called upon continuously, not to hear us, He Who desires so much the salvation of men.

Just as a natural virtue that is aspired to can only be achieved by the conducive means, so also this holy work requires some nearly indispensable rudiments: a degree of quiet; freedom from cares; avoidance of learning about and spreading the “news” of things going on, the “giving and taking” as the Fathers put it; self discipline in all things; and an overall silence which stems from these things. Moreover, I don’t think this persistence and habit will be unattainable for devout people who take an interest in this holy activity. The good habit of a regular prayer time, morning and evening, always about the same time, would be a good beginning.

With surety we have emphasized perseverance as the most indispensable element in prayer. Rightly it is stressed by St. Paul, “Continue steadfastly in prayer.”(Col. 4:2) In contrast to the rest of the virtues, prayer requires effort throughout our entire lifetime, and for this reason I repeat to those who are making the attempt not to feel encumbered, nor to consider the need for endurance as a failure in this sober-minded work.

In the beginning it is necessary to say the prayer in a whisper, or even louder when confronted by duress and inner resistance. When this good habit is achieved to the point that the prayer may be sustained and said with ease, then we can turn inwardly with complete outer silence. In the first part of the little book (Way of the Pilgrim) a good example is given of the initiation into the prayer. Sound persistence and effort, always with the same words of the prayer not being frequently altered, will give birth to a good habit. This will bring control of the mind, at which time the presence of Grace will be manifested.

Just as every virtue has a corresponding result, so also prayer has as a result the purification of the mind and enlightenment. It arrives at the highest and perfect good, union with God; that is to say, actual divinization (theosis). However, the Fathers also have this to say: that it lies with man to seek and strive to enter the way which leads to the city; and if by chance he doesn’t arrive at the endpoint, not having kept pace for whatever reason, God will number him with those who finished. To make myself more clear, especially on the subject of prayer, I will explain how all of us Christians must strive in prayer, particularly in that which is called monological or noetic prayer. If one arrives at such prayer he will find much profit.

By the presence of the Jesus Prayer man is not given over to temptation which he is expecting, because its presence is sober watchfulness and its essence is prayer; therefore “the one who watches and prays does not enter into temptation.” (cf. Matt. 26:41) Further, he is not given over to darkness of mind so as to become irrational and err in his judgments and decisions. He does not fall into indolence and negligence, which are the basis of many evils. Moreover, he is not overcome by passions and indulgences where he is weak, and particularly when the causes of sin are near at hand. On the contrary his zeal and devotion increase. He becomes eager for good works. He becomes meek and forgiving. He grows from day to day in his faith and love for Christ and this inflames him towards all the virtues. We have many examples in our own day of people, and particularly of young people, who with the good habit of doing the prayer have been saved from frightful dangers, from falls into great evils, or from symptoms leading toward spiritual death.

Consequently, the prayer is a duty for each one of the faithful, of every age, nationality, and status; without regard to place, time or manner. With the prayer divine Grace becomes active and provides solutions to problems and trials which trouble the faithful, so that, according to the Scriptures, “Everyone that calls on the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21)

There is no danger of delusion, as is bandied about by a few unknowledgeable people, as long as the prayer is said in a simple and humble manner. It is of the utmost importance that when the prayer is being said no image at all be portrayed in the mind; neither of our Lord Christ in any form whatever, nor of the Lady Theotokos, nor of any other person or depiction. By means of the image the mind is scattered. Likewise, by means of images the entrance for thoughts and delusions is created. The mind should remain in the meaning of the words, and with much humility the person should await divine mercy. The chance imaginations, lights, or movements, as well as noises and disturbances are unacceptable as diabolic machinations towards obstruction and deception. The manner in which Grace is manifested to initiates is by spiritual joy, by quiet and joy-producing tears, or by a peaceful and awe-inspiring fear due to the remembrance of sins, thus leading to an increase of mourning and lamentation.

Gradually Grace becomes the sense of the love of Christ, at which time the roving about of the mind ceases completely and the heart becomes so warmed in the love of Christ that it thinks it can bear no more. Still at other times one thinks and desires to remain forever exactly as one finds oneself, not seeking to see or hear anything else. All of these things, as well as various other forms of aid and comfort, are found in the initial stages by as many as try to say and maintain the prayer, in as much as it depends on them and is possible. Up to this stage, which is so simple, I think that every soul that is baptized and lives in an Orthodox manner should be able to put this into practice and to stand in this spiritual delight and joy, having at the same time the divine protection and help in all its actions and activities.

I repeat once again my exhortation to all who love God and their salvation not to put off trying this good labor and practice for the sake of the Grace and mercy which it holds out to as many as will strive a bit at this work. I say this to them for courage, that they don’t hesitate or become fainthearted due to the bit of resistance or weariness which they will encounter. Contemporary elders that we have known had many disciples living in the world, men and women, married and single, who not only arrived at the beginning state but rose to higher levels through the Grace and compassion of our Christ. “It is a trifle in the eyes of the Lord to make a poor man rich.” (Sir. 11:23) I think that in today’s chaos of such turmoil, denial and unbelief there exists no simpler and easier spiritual practice that is feasible for almost all people, with such a multitude of benefit and opportunity for success, than this small prayer.

Whenever one is seated, moving about, or working, and if need be even in bed, and generally wherever and however one finds oneself, one can say this little prayer which contains within itself faith, confession, invocation and hope. With such little labor and insignificant effort the universal command to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17) is fulfilled to perfection. To whatever word of our Fathers one might turn, or even in their wonderful lives, he will encounter hardly any other virtue given so much praise or applied with such zeal and persistence, so that it alone constitutes the most powerful means of our success in Christ. It is not our intention to sing the praises of this queen of virtues, or to describe it, because whatever we might say would instead rather diminish it. Our aim is to exhort and encourage every believer in the working of the prayer. Afterwards, each person will learn from his own experience what we have said so poorly.

Press forward you who are doubtful, you who are despondent, you who are distressed, you who are in ignorance, you of little faith, and you who are suffering trials of various kinds; forward to consolation and to the solution to your problems. Our sweet Jesus Christ, our Life, has proclaimed to us that “without Me you can do nothing.” (Jn. 15:5) Thus behold that, calling upon Him continuously, we are never alone; and consequently “we can and will do all things through Him.” (cf Phil. 4:13) Behold the correct meaning and application of the significant saying of the Scripture, “Call upon Me in your day of trouble and I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (Ps. 49(50):15) Let us call upon His all-holy Name not only “in the day of trouble” but continuously; so that our minds may be enlightened, that we might not enter into temptation. If anyone desires to step even higher where all-holy Grace will draw him, he will pass through this beginning point, and will be “spoken to” regarding Him, when he arrives there.

As an epilogue to that which has been written we repeat our exhortation, or rather our encouragement, to all the faithful that it is possible and it is vital that they occupy themselves with the prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me”, the so-called “noetic prayer”, with a sure faith that they will benefit greatly regardless of what level they may reach. The remembrance of death and a humble attitude, together with the other helpful things that we have mentioned, guarantee success through the grace of Christ, the invocation of Whom will be the aim of this virtuous occupation. Amen.

Endnotes

As several of the Greek words used in this text do not have direct English equivalents, it was decided to add a small glossary at the end to help the reader understand with more preciseness the meaning of text.

  1. noetic: of the “nous”, the intellect. The intellect in this case is not simply the reasoning faculty of man, but the faculty of the heart that is able to comprehend natural and spiritual realities through direct experience. It is the faculty by which one may know God through prayer. Thus noetic prayer is also often called the “prayer of the heart.”
  2. “the prayer”: When used with the article “the”, as opposed to a general type of prayer, it refers to the Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” The Jesus Prayer is rooted in the early monastic tradition of the Church, with the words having been drawn from the New Testament.
  3. sober watchfulness (Gr., nipsis): often translated as both “sobriety” and “watchfulness” it in fact incorporates both. It is a non-morbid seriousness in which the “nous”, the intellect, maintains an alertness and awareness of its immediate state.
  4. monological: In this instance it refers to the fact that when the prayer is being said by the person, on the humanly observable level it appears as if only the one praying is speaking; doing a monologue, that is. The activity of God usually remains imperceptible, especially for those in the beginning stages.
  5. “spoken to”: refers to the numerous biblical instances of God speaking to the hearts and minds of His righteous ones, communicating Himself directly to those who were pure of heart and seeking Him through prayer.

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