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Prayer 101

If you'd like to learn about praying, the place to start is by watching a video our confirmation youth made in 2015 all about prayer.

The Basics

Prayer, in many ways, is simply talking with God. Like any conversation, there is a beginning, a middle, and an end.

  • The beginning: Conversations usually begins with some form of "Hi, Jane". Christian prayers may begin with "Our Father" or "O Lord our God" or "Hey Big 'G'" or some other form of greeting like that. Make it clear you're addressing God from the start.

  • The middle: All the things you want to talk about. We'll come back to this in a moment.

  • The end: At the end of conversations, you generally say goodbye. Christian prayer usually ends with the word "Amen". Amen is an ancient Greek word that simply means "This is true." More simply, you can think of it as saying "Yes". Yes, we shared truth today. That's makes "Amen" a big word, doesn't it? But that's also the beauty of prayer: when talking to God, we're completely free to share truth, trusting God with everything.

  • The longer end: Sometimes Christians end their prayer with a phrase like "In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." In this instance, the prayer ends by claiming what we've said is in line with what Christ told us to pray about, and that Christ stands for us. That's a big claim, but a promise Jesus made to each Christian in baptism. Other long endings might be a way of offering God thanks and praise for listening, just like you might thank someone at the end of a normal conversation.

But how do you talk to God? What do you say in all that middle part? Jesus was fond of calling God by the name "Father", and thinking of a parent-child relationship might be a good place to start. If you didn't have a good parent-child relationship, think of a mentor or role model. What things to children come to their parents to talk about? What might we look to mentors or role models for?

  • Aid: Asking for help when there's a problem

  • Praise: Saying thank you

  • Confession: Saying you're sorry (especially after you're caught)

  • Guidance: Help deciding what to do

  • Love: Sharing the events of your day

Most people generally use prayer just when they need help, but as you can see: You really could talk to God about anything your heart desires honestly.

A Simple Way to Pray

When Martin Luther, the namesake of Trinity's flavor of Christians, "Lutherans", was asked how to pray by his barber, Luther simply told him to use the Lord's Prayer as his guide. If you'd like a basic guide to prayer, this document will help you use the Lord's Prayer for its real purpose: as a guide on how to pray any prayer.

Many Ways to Pray

People pray in all sorts of different ways. This document will give you a wide variety of simple ways to pray built for all types of different people, from those who love math to those who love sports to those who love art, music, writing, nature, or even silence.

Advanced Prayer

If you'd like to move beyond "Prayer 101" to more advanced forms of prayer, especially those that have been developed and practiced through some of the great leaders and communities in Christian tradition over the ages, you might start your journey with this brief document on some of the more popular forms of prayer that have withstood the test of time.

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