Let Go of Not Knowing How to Pray (1 of 4)

Knowing How to Pray

Knowing How to Pray
Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

This knowing how to pray post is the first of 4 Ways to Be Comfortable Praying. So, let go of not knowing how to pray because you do know how to pray. And because you do not even need to know how.

As a Prayer Chaplain for a really long time, I have often invited people to join me in delighting in the action, the process, the interpersonal connections, and–most importantly–the spiritual enlightenment. And I have often heard responses like, “Sounds interesting and inviting, but I don’t know how to pray.”

I want to offer you four things to keep in mind if you ever say to someone or think to yourself that you don’t know how to pray.

Let Go of Needing to Know How

It’s human nature to want to look or sound good doing something in front of others. That was certainly true of me when I started playing golf. I did not want to appear on the golf course until my game was halfway decent. Consequently, it took me twice as long for me to actually get on the course.

It need not be that way with praying. Whether you pray by yourself or in front of others, praying is a wonderfully personal experience. And so you pray the way, whatever way, is comfortable for you.

Allow yourself to feel OK–no, to feel good!–just by the fact that you are praying. Consider saying something after your “Amen” like: “Thanks that I feel good about praying. And I do feel good!” And remember, the simple fact that you are praying is proof that you know how.

Start with Silence

There is amazing truth and strength in the simple advice to “Be still and know that I am God.”

Rev. Canon Renee Miller offers a simple exercise that always works for me:

Get Past the Limitation of Words, especially the “Right Words”

Humans like to do things the right way. We try find words to express what we think. We want to express our thinking with the “right words”.

When it comes to praying, you do not have to follow that line of reasoning. If you’re busy looking for the words to pray with, you’re  letting your mind take over. Praying doesn’t need your mind; praying is your connection with Spirit. The connection is with your heart. Heart feels rather than thinks. Let it feel.

If your praying is meant to be spoken (or written) and so words come into the picture, they will. Let them. Faith that the words will come (to your heart!) will make your patience easy.

Remember That Praying Is Not a One-Way Action

It’s taken me a while but I’ve realized that every time I cry (or feel like crying), Spirit is communicating with me. Once I realized that, it became clear that when I smile for no reason, when I wave at a stranger, when the clouds in the sky make me pause to keep looking at them…and a million other non-verbal experiences are praying.

Praying is connection between Spirit and me. It is not merely me saying things to God. Nor is it merely God saying things to me. It’s a two-way connection. It’s a partnership. I love Ellen Debenport’s statement:

Prayer is creative thinking that heightens the connection with God-Mind…

Praying should never be limited by your feeling the need to “know how.” You do. You already do. You really do.

Thanks that I do not know how to pray…

Living, loving Power that fuels me
with energy to pray, I love that I do not need
to know how or even why I should pray.
The methods and the reasons are too numerous
to try to keep in mind.
Thank you instead, Sweet Spirit, for letting me know
that any connection with you is praying.
On top of that for letting me know that connection with you
is constant, continuous, universal, everlasting.
And so is praying.
Thank you for letting me know
I do not need to know.
And so it is.  Amen

Love & blessings,




October 28, 2019

Posted on October 28, 2019 at 5:11 am by Tim · Permalink
In: Prayer, Praying, Spirituality · Tagged with: , ,