Articles and resources to help Christians learn to pray
A friend of mine recently wrote about a question that was asked at the end of a devotion she was reading: “What is your simple prayer today?” As I thought about what a “simple prayer” looks like for me, I was reminded of a quote by author, Lee Anne Payne, who stated, “Prayer is the school from which no one graduates.” Having been in prayer ministry for many years, I still am awed by the depth and breadth of prayer, and how much I continue to learn about the Father who created this most intimate avenue to connect human hearts with His own. In the midst of the complexities of life, God’s heart is continually postured to hear from ours.
A simple prayer, to me, is the one that is on my heart in the moment…and the one that can be most easily expressed for it is closest to the surface. Perhaps it is breathing out a cry or a need that has made its way up from deep within so that the Father can be invited to bring His peace and Presence into my needful spirit. It might also be a joy-filled expression of praise in response to the goodness of the life of Jesus being formed within me. A simple prayer is unpretentious and very real…and in its rawness and humility, it is offered to God in depth of feeling rather than through the intellect. I believe that God is pleased to be engaged heart to heart throughout my day. A profound benefit is that simple prayers will likely feed and inform my longer conversations with my Father in the space I have already created in my schedule for such time with Him.
Simple prayers might be requests or just statements of thankfulness, praise, deep pain or desire. Sometimes there are just no words other than what simple prayers express to God. They are cries from the depths of my soul, and are prayers that allow me to pray without ceasing in the ordinary as well as the extraordinary moments of my everyday life when there may not be time for lengthier discourse with God…or because the circumstances surrounding my prayer are complicated, confused or happening too fast.
Although there are obviously an infinite number, simple prayers might be somewhat like these:
Draw me close.
I don’t know what to do.
You are awesome!
Please give me wisdom.
I’m so lonely.
You alone are worthy of praise.
Help him to know You.
No matter what I express in my simple prayers, God is waiting to meet me in the midst of them! I know this because I trust that the Spirit understands and creates meaning from my painful, confused, angry or frustrated utterances as well as from my thankful, joy-filled moments of praise. He positions my prayers before the Father…as an offering. And God, who already knows my present reality and the concerns of my heart, is pleased to hear my simple prayers in the midst of my not-so-simple life. He can respond to them in love for the sake of my transformation to become more like Jesus, and for the purposes of His kingdom.
What simple prayer is on your heart right now? Take a moment to express it to God and then sit before Him in silence. You may not get any perceived response at all…except to know that the Father, who loves you intensely, is listening and has placed His heart over your own. Trust Him to begin to work in and through your life the moment your simple prayer has been expressed. Simple prayers are not a replacement for longer seasons of prayer…but perhaps you will find that your heart will be better informed by your day when you invite the Spirit of God to be more fully present within it.
Kim’s passion is to see God’s people recognize that prayer is a creative, continual moment by moment lifestyle with God as we align our hearts with His plans and purposes for His glory and for the sake of His kingdom. Her ministry involves writing, teaching and consulting. She also compiles and edits HPM’s free daily devotional, Connection! and blogs regularly on the HPM website). Kim is a member of America's National Prayer Committee, VP of Gospel Revivals, Inc. and on the Advisory Board for America Prays.
Kim has a BA in Psychology and a Masters degree in Spiritual Formation and Leadership.