A relationship with God is built on the experiences we feel in our communications with the divine.
To pray is to devote time and effort to that journey to, with, and for God. Prayer is the bedrock of a spiritual life.
Prayer is the bedrock of a spiritual life.
Prayer strengthens and encourages.
Prayer defines who we are with God.
Prayer helps us realise we are neither alone nor are we left to face this life alone.
But there are so many ways of praying, each purely our own, that to find what suits us and our personality types means experiencing those things that are both familiar and not…
Contemplation in quiet, with time spent aside to keep personal between you and God, is crucial to a Christian spiritual life. Jesus gave a model of prayer that exemplified this time spent away. It could include music or other aids to bring you ‘into’ prayer: reciting the Lord’s Prayer, or simply repeating the name of Jesus are common forms. There is no pressure to adopt any particular style, simply the need to take time out of life to think and rest upon God – in the ways in which you find most helpful.
As mentioned above, there are many ways in which Christianity has provided routes ‘into’ prayer. Because we are created beings, we often find creative things can help us immerse ourselves in the divine. Try some of the below to see if they hold anything special or significant for you to aid you in conversation with God. But don’t forget, to only experience what you know, is not allowing God to surprise you!
Music Any music can work. Something modern or classical; or simply the sounds of nature – leaving a window open and hearing birds sing or trees move.
Sense Holding something familiar, or unusual, can open prayer to God: asking for direction in feeling comforted or challenged. It could be a holding-cross, shaped to fit the palm of your hand, or a stone from a beloved place. Or even
a photograph of a loved one you want to lift to God in prayer.
Holding something can make the prayer ‘real’ for your body and not just your mind. Rosary beads are one of the most ancient forms of prayer aids and
greatly desired for the peace they can bring.
Incense too engages the senses in a way that can remind us of holy times and
places; helping us to ‘centre down’ and think upon God’s presence while we
The transcendental nature of fire is seen beautifully in a lit candle; reminding
us of the life and spirit of the God who wants to talk to us, and listen to what
we have to say.
Art Let your imagination be taken by God and transported to the times and places a work of art can depict, or was created in. The works of religious people
have provided art (known as icons) as a route to prayer since the beginning of
Poetry and literature provide that same communication of the divine: the joy
that God has lifted us up as creative beings and able to experience God
through the gift of art. You may find drawing, pottery, or a craft that helps
immerse you in prayer. And produces a joy to behold at the end.
Reading The use of the Bible in prayer is a source of great encouragement and
challenge. And there are many ways of experiencing the writing of the
children of God. Lectio Divina is a discipline which repeats a passage or a
verse until the reader or hearer finds a word from God reaching out to them.
But there are two thousand years worth of writings that you may find helpful guides. You too may have a story to tell, so writing may aid you in prayer.
Labyrinths are an ancient form of experiencing prayer by following a laid path on the floor of a space and stopping at points to experience what is waiting there. The points usually have themes you can pray about, or opportunities to experience actions. Labyrinths are sometimes found in churches or at places of Christian gathering, but to experience one online click here.
These are all ideas which many have found to work for them. Speak to a spiritual director and see if there is something they may suggest, or help you discover, that you might not yet have tried.
24/7 prayer or vigils are opportunities for prayer in communities with a specific focus. Usually focussed on times of the year or particular international concerns (many 24-hour prayers occurring for those who have suffered natural or political disaster).
If you find a desire that socially or politically frustrates you, many 24/7 prayer rallies offer chances to engage with other like-minded people into seeking action to combat the injustices of the world. These can sometimes include music, drama, and other actions in environments more open to interaction than others which offer simple quiet contemplation.
Your local church will offer places and opportunities for prayer, as will your local Cathedral, open especially daily to provide a place for prayer.
But remember that prayer comes from within. So to communicate with God, all we need to do is ask.