What is Prayer
The old penny catechism was correct when it stated that prayer is: “. . . the raising up of the mind and heart to God.” In modern language we might say “. . . focusing fully on God, bringing all our thoughts and aspirations to Him, confident that He is right beside us (because He is).”
Prayer is not an extravagant piece of oratory. In fact Jesus Himself said in Matthew 6:7-8: “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Our prayer, therefore, is not to inform God of our wishes, which He already knows. A useful guide for prayer, whether you are sitting quietly, driving, going to bed, getting up in the morning, walking, waiting or whatever, may be “A.C.T.S.”
A - Adoration
Simply being in awe of God who is creator of the world but takes a particular interest in us, maybe with a simple heartfelt phrase like “God, you are so amazing!” What a prayer!
C – Contrition
Regretting our turning away from God and making a commitment to do better with His help, maybe with a prayer like “Heavenly Father, I’m really sorry . . . please help me do better.”
T – Thanksgiving
For blessings we have been given like friends, health, work, forgiveness from our past maybe with a prayer like “Lord, thanks for loving me enough to give me a fresh start.”
S – Supplication (asking)
Asking not for what we want but for what we need or what others need, maybe like “Lord Jesus, during your earthly ministry you showed compassion for all needy people. If it is in accordance with your wishes (since you have a better perspective than me and always want the best for us) please grant that . . . Thank you Jesus.
Freedom's not just another word!
Jesus offers us a full pardon for all our failures. If we accept this amazing unearned gift of love and forgiveness we are freed from everything negative in our past; freed to start over and live our lives in joy and peace in communion with God and our neighbour.
What an Amazing Grace! Thank you, Lord Jesus!
When praying it is useful to remember that the answer to your prayer could be “No!” since you may be asking for something that is not good in the long run or not the best outcome available. The answer could also be “Yes, but not yet,” for reasons best known to God Himself, so we may have to be patient and keep praying.
Depending on where you are on your personal spiritual journey some of the prayers below, or any variations you prefer, may be helpful to you but remember, while memorised prayers are helpful for group prayer it is more important to be conscious of God’s presence with you when you pray than any words you might say.