How to pray

Many people ask the question’ How do I pray?’ and many have written books expounding a wide range of answers. In many ways the answer to the question is simply, ‘However you wish’.

At a very basic level one might simply find a space in which to be quiet and bring to mind the people or situations for whom you wish to pray. Words can be helpful, but are not essential.

If you have a favourite place then you might imagine the person for whom you wish to pray being in that place with you, or you might light a candle as a symbol of God’s love (represented by the light from the flame) reaching out to them.

The Lord’s Prayer

When his followers asked him how to pray, Jesus taught them the following, which has become the prayer that unites Christians across the world and throughout time.

This is a version of the prayer that is used by the Scottish Episcopal Church:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Do not bring us to the time of trial
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory,
are yours, now and for ever. Amen

Over the years, people have developed different ways of praying. Perhaps one of these might suit you. Click on one to learn more:

The Examen Prayer
Centring Prayer
Nurtured by Nature
Praying with Art
Lectio Divina

The guides were written by Cameron Abernethy when he was a member at St John’s, Princes Street. He is now a priest in the Church of England.

If you’d like some daily reflection material for any time in the year – try “Pray As You Go”. It’s a 12 minute meditation for busy people. You can listen on your laptop or mobile device any time, anywhere: