How to Pray to God
The Easy 7 Steps to Powerful Prayer
Praying does not come easy for everyone. There are a lot of people who find it awkward or uncomfortable, or who simply don’t know what to say to God.
When we genuinely seek to speak to God, He can read our hearts, even if the words fail to say what we mean exactly right or they are lacking in any way. So even if we lack something, God is able to provide for us, all we need to do is ask.
Below are 7 steps for how to pray effectively.
1. Find a quiet place you can be alone.
When you go to pray, try to find a quiet, private place to do so. This way you can speak to God about sensitive matters without being interrupted or over heard by others.
Jesus instructed us to pray to God in secret, going to a place where we won’t be seen or heard.
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.Matthew 6:5-8 KJV
If you are indoors, there are a number of places you may be able to pray. Depending on your living arrangements, you may be able to pray in a bedroom, a closet, a bathroom, an attic or basement, or a storage room.
If you are outdoors, finding a private location can be far more difficult depending on how populated the area is. You may be able to find a quiet location in a park, your backyard, a bench, a rooftop, or even your porch. However, being outside you may be seen or heard praying, and that is something that is best to avoid.
2. Kneel or sit in a comfortable position.
Whenever you intend to spend some time in prayer, you should pray in a kneeling position. When you kneel, it demonstrates to God and yourself the earnestness of your prayer. Your position can help to ready your mind, body, and heart to speak to God. It is also an outward demonstration to God in private that you honor and submit to His will.
In kneeling, you may find that your state of mind will change. For those who are not used to it, it is not uncommon to feel a bit awkward or uncomfortable kneeling. The important thing is to keep trying to despite this initial discomfort, unless you have some health problem that makes kneeling painful or too difficult for you to physically do.
O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.Psalm 95:6 KJV
The Bible gives us several examples of people who kneeled when they prayed, including Jesus, Daniel, and Solomon.
Jesus knelt in prayer before His crucifixion.
And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.Luke 22:41-42 KJV
Solomon knelt when he prayed to God.
And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.1 Kings 8:54
And Daniel always knelt when he prayed to God.
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.Daniel 6:10 KJV
If instead of kneeling, they were standing when they prayed or simply sitting, their petitions to God would seem less meaningful or earnest. Though it is not a requirement, there is power in kneeling, so it is something we should not neglect to do when we pray.
3. Prepare your mind and heart to talk to God.
Our world is a very busy place. We are bombarded by information, advertisements, and for many of us, endless to do lists. It can be difficult to concentrate or have a heart-to-heart talk with God on the things that matter most to us when we are distracted and unable to focus our thoughts.
To quiet all the noise and business, as we go to our quiet place and kneel, we should take a few minutes to breathe and quiet our thoughts. We can do this by taking some deep breaths and focusing our attention on our breathing. Try to focus your thoughts on just breathing in and out, and push out any other thoughts that may try to interrupt.
When you are calm and focused, you will be able to think more clearly about what it is that you are trying to say to God and what you are asking Him to help you with.
If you have a Bible, you should have it open with you so that you can spend some time reading scripture. If you are not sure what passages to read, you can start at the very beginning, randomly flip to a section, read some passages in the book of Psalms, or read the Beatitudes in Matthew 5.
If you don’t yet have a Bible, you can get one for free, just click here.
The power of prayer is found in Christ and the sacrifice He made. Without it, we have no hope. You can transform your prayer life by reading about the crucifixion in Matthew 27, picturing it in your mind and imagining what Christ went through.
It is important for us to recognize:
- The suffering and death Christ went through on the cross was to pay the penalty for sin on our behalf.
- That it is only through His sacrifice that we can be saved, because the penalty for sin is death and there is nothing we can do to make up for that. Our only hope is for someone to take our place, and Christ is the only one who can.
- When we repent and accept the free gift of salvation through Christ, God sees us and loves us as His own son.
- Christ made the choice to willingly suffer and die for us, because He loves us and does not want us to be lost.
By acknowledging these things before we pray, we can approach God with a more repentant heart, that is open to hearing Him and doing His will.
4. Talk to God quietly but out loud.
By talking to God out loud, we hear ourselves speak. This can help us to better focus and speak more earnestly to God.
If we simply speak to God in our mind without voicing it audibly, we may be more easily distracted and our words may carry less meaning, urgency, or care. Speaking requires more concentration as we have to vocalize our thoughts and choose them with more care.
We should speak to God as if He is right there in the room with us, sitting next to us. Even though we can’t see Him and we may not feel His presence, God will hear the prayers of those who earnestly seek Him.
5. Repent, Be Grateful, and Be Honest.
When praying to God, repent of all the things that you have done, said, and even thought that go against God’s laws and ways. Claim the gift of salvation through Christ and thank Him for it.
Try to recognize and acknowledge the good things that you do have in your life, even if it may not seem like much to you compared to all your troubles and worries.
Be honest with God, for there is no reason not to be. God already knows what is in our heart and mind. He already knows all that we have said and done, and our motivations. There is nothing that we can hide from God.
Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.Hebrews 4:13 KJV
Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.Jeremiah 23;24 KJV
Though we can’t hide our shame, God does not turn us away but instead invites us to come to Him in repentance and He will forgive us. We must always seek God’s forgiveness for none are righteous in the eyes of God, except Christ.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1:9 KJV
6. Make your requests known to God.
Share with God the things that you need, the things that cause you to worry, and anything that you or others are struggling with. Share with Him the deepest concerns and pains in your heart.
We open ourselves to the influence of the Holy Spirit and God’s leading when we do this.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.Philippians 4:6 KJV
A common problem when we pray, is the tendency to put God into a box. That is to say that we view God as being limited or restricted in His power, strength, wisdom, or other ability.
This leads us to make requests for small things, when we could be asking God for something bigger and more meaningful.
God is the King of the Universe, with more power, goodness, love, and wisdom than we can possibly even comprehend. Try to remember who you’re talking to when you pray.
When you pray to God, you’re not praying to some flawed, mythical figure in the sky, you’re praying to God Almighty, the good and loving Heavenly Father, and the Creator of all things good.
Despite everything you’ve ever done and all the things under His care, God cares about you. He cares about your life and He cares about your problems, no matter how big or small they are.
Pray without boxing Him into your expectations and give Him room and time to work.
7. Have faith.
After we pray about our concerns, we must make ourselves more aware and open to doing things according to God’s will, instead of our own. If we don’t, we may miss the very response or answer God sends, or we may take action too hastily without waiting on Him to provide.
A good example of this is the story of Abraham and Sarah, which can be found in the Bible in Genesis 16:1-16. God had promised children to Abraham and Sarah, but as they grew older and they failed to have any children, they questioned if they were indeed supposed to have children this way.
Sarah had Abraham take her servant as a wife and have a son with her, but it wasn’t long after that, despite their old age, Sarah was able to have a son with Abraham that they named Isaac.
Because they did not wait and they took matters into their own hands, the servant, Hagar, and her son, Ishmael, became bitter and resentful of Isaac. This created numerous problems, stress, and tension for Abraham, Sarah, and their family, and Hagar and Ishmael were forced to leave.
Had they waited on God and had faith that they could conceive a child no matter the circumstances or their age (because God has the power to overcome such things), the problematic situation with Hagar and Ishmael could have been avoided.
Thankfully we have a mighty God that is able to look after us, even when we make some really big mistakes, but we still end up dealing with the consequences of our decisions.
If we are patient, truly seeking God’s will and God’s way, recognizing His power, wisdom, and abilities are far beyond our own, we will avoid a lot of problems that can happen as a result of a lack of faith.
Does this mean that we should stop treatment for some medical condition we have? No! It means that we must be balanced in our decision making, doing the best we can with what we have while still being open to God’s leading and direction. We must have an open mind, that is open to the possibility of God performing some work that is seemingly impossible.
With faith, as we go about our day after making our petitions known to God, we may feel comfort and peace from knowing that God is already working on helping us through it.
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.John 15:7
Seek God first, before making huge decisions and be open to doing things His way. When you do, you will notice things will go better than they would had you tried to do things your own way.
Bonus Tip #1: Join an online prayer community
This is not required, but the Bible tells us to pray for each other…
Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.Matthew 18:19 KJV
Not only is this as a source of comfort, support, and encouragement, but because when more people are praying for the same thing, God is more likely to answer.
Thankfully, technology makes it really easy to join in prayer with others. So no matter who you are or where you are in the world, you can join an online prayer community full of people who will pray for you.
There’s a really popular, free prayer app (available for both Android and iPhone).
You can post your prayer requests online (even anonymously) and have others pray for you, share about your answered prayers, and pray for others.
We have a community page for Answers to Prayer if you’d like to join it and we will personally pray for your requests.
The platform also have a lot of great devotionals, music, sermons, and more for less than $7/month (billed annually), but it’s not required to use the app.
Bonus Tip #2: Learn the 7 keys to getting answers to prayer
We have put together a free prayer guide to help you learn what you need to get answers to prayer.
Perhaps you’re feeling like God isn’t listening to you, or you just can’t feel His presence, or maybe things just aren’t working out the way you want. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Get your free prayer guide by clicking the link below.