Whether you’re new to prayer or have been praying your whole life, it can sometimes feel overwhelming figuring out where to begin. Maybe the idea of praying out loud has you panicked. Maybe you’re just unsure of where to start. That’s okay! Prayer is simply a conversation with God. We’ve put together some resources that may help you discover why we pray, how you can pray, and some prayers for strength, hope, stress, and everything else you need.
Here’s a quick guide so you can jump around.
Let’s dive right in.
What Is Prayer?
Prayer is a two-way conversation with God. We hear this so often that we often miss its simplicity. You listen (the best part)—and you know you are being listened to (also the best part).
When you listen, you listen for the voice of a trusted friend and heavenly Father. When you speak, you speak freely, without fear of being misunderstood or shamed. You can’t get that anywhere else. Sometimes, other people, even people who love us dearly, can misunderstand us or leave us frustrated, but God knows us completely.
It can be tempting to sometimes treat prayer like a wishlist or another thing to check off your to-do list. But prayer is so much more than that.
Prayer is our opportunity to get to know the God who created us, sustains us, and loves us. And yet, when we come before God, we often present Him with a list of things we want—like a grocery list. Can you imagine if you did that to your spouse or a dear friend? What a downer! It wouldn’t feel very much like a conversation. When we talk to other trusted people in our life, we usually talk quite naturally, jumping from one topic to another, or we spend hours geeking out over the details of our favorite topic, reveling in the feeling of being understood and loved.
That’s the kind of connection we can have with God. Sure, we can absolutely come to Him when we need something. But we don’t only pray then. Prayer is an ongoing conversation with God. A conversation that may not always change your circumstances, but that always changes you.
Why Should I Pray?
Why is it so important that we talk to God daily? Or even at all?
Not only do we get to develop our relationship and intimacy with God, but we also get to share our needs with Him. We need wisdom. We need guidance. We need comfort. We need connection to God and others. We need victory over sin. We need grace—grace to help in times of need. Good news! We are encouraged to come boldly to the throne of grace—to pray boldly before God—“that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 NIV.
Here are some other reasons why we should talk to God daily.
- Because you can! It’s pretty awesome to be able to regularly talk with the Creator of the universe.
- He promises that if we ask, we will receive, that if we seek, we will find, and that if we knock, the door will be opened to us (Matthew 7:7-8).
- He invites us to cast all our anxiety on Him (1 Peter 5:7).
- He invites us to turn our worries into prayers (Philippians 4:7).
- He invites us to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).
- He promises that we will find Him if we seek with all our hearts (Jeremiah 29:13).
- He sends His Spirit to pray through us when our words fail us (Romans 8:26-27).
We have a lot of good reasons to pray daily!
How Can I Pray—Especially Out Loud?
Do you want to pray but just don’t know where to start? Does the thought of learning to pray out loud fill you with anxiety? Does even just thinking about it make your heart beat faster? You might think to yourself, I’m not very good at praying, I don’t know what to say, or my prayers are too short.
Can you relate?
Being uncomfortable praying—especially praying out loud—is really common. But did you know that praying out loud, in groups or even with a friend, can grow your faith?
External declarations can change your internal dialogue. When we pray for things out loud, we change our internal dialogue and posture. Not to mention that praying in a community of people draws the Lord in and builds our faith. In the book of Matthew, Jesus told us there is power when we pray in groups, and there’s purpose when we make declarations out loud.
So where can you begin?
Start when you’re alone. This may seem awkward at first, so try it behind closed doors where no one is listening or when everyone else has left the house. You can even do this in the car.
Whether it’s your first time or you’re just in a prayer rut, it just takes a little practice. It gets easier and more comfortable the more you pray out loud.
Here are some cues to kick-start your prayers:
1. Use an outline for your prayer. One way to pray follows the ACTS model:
- Adoration: Praise God for who He is.
- Confession: Confess your sins and ask for His forgiveness.
- Thanksgiving: Thank God for His protection and provision.
- Supplication (an appeal to God): Make your requests known.
2. Read Scripture out loud. David wrote many of the Psalms as prayers, so it’s a good place to start. Here are a few of our favorites: Psalm 30, Psalm 51, Psalm 57, and Psalm 63. Pastor Craig Groeschel wrote the book Dangerous Prayers, and one of those dangerous prayers is from the time David asked God to search his heart.
Download a wallpaper of David’s Search Me prayer.
3. Keep it short. We can get caught up in the length of our prayers and struggle to come up with words to fill the silence. There is no rule on how long your prayer should be. There is no benefit to babble.
4. Pray like you. God created you to communicate in a unique way. Don’t get caught up trying to say the “right” things, using “fancy” Christian terms, or praying like someone else. Prayer is meant to be a personal conversation with God—like you would have with friends, family, or a mentor. Let go of how you think you should pray and just pray like you.
Prayers for Strength
Do you ever feel like you don’t have what it takes? Do you have days when what’s required of you is more than the strength you have in you? We’ve all been there. But we don’t have to stay there.
Here’s the thing: Most of us don’t feel we have the strength to achieve what we’d really like to in life. In fact, for many of us, just coping and surviving requires more strength than we feel we have. We may feel that we just don’t have what it takes to face our challenges at work, in family, at school, or in our relationships. But here’s the good news: We need God’s strength, which we know works best in our weakness—and God’s strength is available to us! We just need to ask Him for it.
So here are some prayers for strength:
Dear Lord, Your Word says that when we wait on You, You will renew our strength (Isaiah 40:31). Although my strength is depleted, I am choosing to rest and spend time in Your presence, recharging my battery. I refuse to run myself ragged, listening to the voice of the enemy that I should just try harder or work longer. I trust in Your infinite capacity of strength. It will never run out. Thank You for working in my weakness and pouring Your strength into me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
God, today I faced things that felt like too much for me. And tomorrow I’m going to face more of the same things and probably new challenges as well. I need Your strength. I need You to hold me up and stand next to me in life’s storms. Perhaps I never really understood how literal Your promises are to give us strength for the day. Maybe tomorrow could be my opportunity to learn what that means on a deeper level. But right now, I am praying for supernatural strength and healing to permeate every cell of my being so that I can find renewed strength beyond my natural ability. I know that this strength comes from You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Prayers for Hope
Perhaps one of the most surprising elements of being human is going through things we thought we couldn’t go through and finding the silver lining of hope in the dark clouds of those trials.
Hope. It shines through in the very darkest moments of this world. It rises up out of the ashes when the very last shred of anything else beautiful is gone. It gives testimony to the power of the human spirit. Hope in our spirits is something God put there to remind us that He is never gone.
We know we have One we can call on—so in times of deepest distress, we don’t despair. We hope. We pray.
Here are some prayers for hope:
Father, thank You for hope. Thank You for its light in the darkness. Thank You that no matter how dark the night, You are with me. My situation and circumstances may look dark, but I know You not only go before me, but You also walk with me. As I pray, please fill me with even more hope. I trust You, God, even in the midst of this seemingly hopeless season. I know my hope is in You and that the victory is already Yours. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Lord, I feel anything but hopeful today. In fact, I feel hopeless. I know that nothing is too hard for You, but I feel too unworthy, too messed up, too responsible for my current condition to expect a miracle from You to bail me out. [Fill in the blank] is what Satan tells me I deserve because of my own actions. But You say we don’t get what we deserve—we get the mercy and grace of a loving, heavenly Father because of Christ! You can break every chain. You are the God of miracles. You can do amazing things in my life starting at this moment, and I thank You for every thought of love You have toward me and the future You are bringing about even now. I know it’s good because You are good. In Jesus’ name, amen.
God, I have experienced great loss, and it’s hard to imagine ever feeling joy or peace again. Please let the amazing power of hope in You shine through my circumstances and let me feel the love of Jesus right now. When I’m hopeless, fill me up with hope. When I’m depressed, remind me of one thing to be thankful, even joyful, about. When I’m in despair, remind me that Jesus rose from the grave, bringing hope and defeating death. He has the victory and in that victory, I have hope. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Watch this message series about finding hope even in the darkest places.
Prayers for Stress
There are a lot of things vying for our attention, and there are a lot of tasks to complete, people to see, activities to do, and the list goes on. Sometimes we get stressed out by all of our responsibilities. But guess what? Instead of worrying and stressing, we can pray.
Prayer reminds us that it’s okay to feel that we cannot handle our current trials by ourselves. We can’t because we are not meant to. Through prayer, we cast our anxiety and stress on God. It doesn’t say to “carefully hand our stress to God.” Nope. Just throw it. God can catch it.
It’s okay. God’s got it.
Here are some prayers for stress:
Dear Lord, I have so many things I’m worried about bombarding my brain. I am so tired from worrying about all of these things. I’m not going to hold them anymore. I cast them on You, knowing You are fully capable of catching them. You carefully hold me, my loved ones, my dreams, and anything else I take care of and love in Your hands. You are infinitely wise, resourceful, powerful, and loving. You can take care of me and everything I care about. Thank You, Lord! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Lord, thank You for loving me and giving me grace when I fall short. Thank You for what You did on the cross and for dying for my sins. Lord, despite my current situation and circumstance, I give You control of what’s happening in my life and ask You to give me peace. Lord, I know nothing I’m experiencing is a surprise to You. I can trust You with this because You loved me enough to send Your Son, Jesus, to die for me. I ask that You use this situation to grow my faith and dependence on You, and that through this experience, my faith will be bigger and stronger. In Jesus’ name, amen!
Prayers for Anxiety
Anxiety affects our body, mind, and spirit. If we want to fight it well, we should come at it from all angles. We take good care of our bodies; we rest and see a doctor for help. We take good care of our minds; we talk to counselors, therapists, pastors, mentors, and trusted friends. And, we take good care of our spirits. How?
We fill ourselves with God’s Word to fight anxious lies. We strengthen our spirits by worshiping God with a community of other believers. We pray. And we pray some more!
Here’s a prayer to help if you’re struggling with anxiety:
Jesus, I come to You today to ask for help. Thank You for your love, grace, and peace. I give You my anxious thoughts. Take them, Lord. I accept Your peace, love, and understanding. Help me to turn to You and be still. Help me to stop doing and start trusting. Help me to wait on You. I love You, and I know You love me so much more than I could ever imagine. Amen.
Find more prayers for freedom from anxious thoughts here.
Prayers for Today
How do you wake up in the morning? Do you wake up with a heart pounding with anxiety? Or do you wake up excited to face the new day? Are you one of those people who takes a long time to wake up? Do you measure your ability to face life and other people by how much caffeine you’ve had?
It’s wonderful that whatever we have to face today, God has already been there. He holds time in his hands and can see the end and the beginning at the same time, including all the seconds in between. His mercies are new every morning, washing away the mistakes of yesterday and bringing a fresh canvas with the rising sun.
Here’s a prayer to face each new day:
Lord, a new day is here. I’ve never lived this day before. It’s full of unknown. It’s full of possibility. It’s full of moments no one but You can see. Thank You for seeing ahead of me on my path and being there to catch me when I fall. I can only live one moment at a time. Help me to live in each moment, knowing You are there. Your Holy Spirit dwells in me each moment, giving me comfort, and guiding and directing me. Thank You for Your grace and presence. Give me guidance and grace to walk in Your light today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Father God, with the rising sun, Your mercies are new. I’m excited about the gift of this day! Fill me with love that casts out fear. Fill me with hope that endures. Fill me with strength when I am tired. Fill me with patience for my family, friends, and coworkers. Fill me with Jesus, who is all I need. Let me not lose heart. Though outwardly, I sometimes feel spent and tired, inwardly, I know You are renewing me day by day. Please help me to face my troubles knowing they are light and momentary compared to the eternal glory that outweighs them all! You continually make me new! Thank You! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Prayers for Your Family
Whether we’re praying for our family’s salvation, their encouragement, or their current circumstances, we can pray for our family daily! Here are some prayers to start, but remember, pray like you. All of these prayers can get you started, but you know your family best. Just ask God for help. He’ll give you the words when you’re not sure where to start.
Here are some prayers for your family:
Dear Lord, thank You for Your grace and mercy. Thank You for blessing me with my family. I may not always get along with them or agree with them, but You put me in this specific family for a reason. I pray that we all stay encouraged in our faith and in our current seasons of life. I pray that we support each other even more as we grow and go through life. I’m praying for [fill in the blank] specifically and for [fill in the blank]. Thank You, Lord. Amen.
God, thank You for working everything for our good. Thank You for never leaving us or forsaking us. Thank You for being God. I am just praying for my family right now. You know each of our hearts, our strengths, our weaknesses, our doubts, and our fears. You made each of us Your masterpieces. I pray that each of us gets closer to you. I pray we each seek You in everything we do and continue to grow in our relationship with You. I pray that as my family wakes up, as they go through their day, and even as they rest at night, that Your light and Your love will be so clearly present in their hearts, minds, and to others. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Lord, thank You for family. I pray that if anyone in my family is struggling, You would help them come to me or others for help and come to You for forgiveness. God, give me wisdom to know what to say, how to encourage, and how to show love to my family, even when it’s difficult. I pray that we would all grow closer to You and that You would protect us and empower us to be a light in a sometimes dark world. God, surround my family with the right friends, and give us the right influences so that we can serve You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
More Prayer Resources
- Watch the Dangerous Prayers video series with your LifeGroup. Pastor Craig can help lead your group through discussion about praying dangerously.
- Check out Pastor Craig’s book, Dangerous Prayers.
- Go through the Dangerous Prayers Bible Plan. Do the Plan With Friends, your LifeGroup, or as your personal study.
- Watch the Dangerous Prayers message series from Pastor Craig Groeschel.
- Learn how to pray with your LifeGroup. Check out this video that talks you through what it looks like to pray together as a LifeGroup.
- Discover more helpful articles about prayer. Whether it’s prayers for hard times or what it means when we say we’re praying for people, there are more posts to help you level up your prayer life.
- Watch Pastor Craig’s message, Thank God. We can always give God thanks and praise Him for what He has done and is doing.
- Check out Pastor Craig’s message series, Pray. Prayer is the most important conversation we have every day. Learn how much it matters when you pray.