Prayer doesn’t always have to be orderly, systematic, long or even on your knees. Here’s a more natural approach.
I used to think prayer was hard. It only counted, I thought, if I spent, oh, a half hour or more on my knees. It had to be focused, orderly and systematic. And, again, the longer the better.
Then I realized that none of my other relationships work that way. I don’t often schedule a “meeting” with my wife in the morning or sit my kids down for a half-hour or hour-long speech (not that they wouldn’t say it sometimes felt that way to them).
My exchanges with family and friends more often come in bite-sized chunks: “Love you!” “Do we need milk?” “Whose turn is it to let the dog out?”
So if you’re anything like me, (1) you have my sympathies, and (2) you might find it more natural, relational and doable to pray a few simple prayers throughout the course of your day.
Here are seven simple prayers, with accompanying scripture references, to show that you’re in good company in praying each one:
1) Here I am. (Isaiah 6:8)
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, and Isaiah are all recorded as having prayed the “Here I am” prayer. It works best first thing in the morning, a way of reporting for duty and being “present” to God.
2) You are great. (Psalm 86:10, NIV)
A sunrise. Fresh orange juice. A cool breeze. A baby’s smile. A shooting star. Any number of things throughout your day may prompt you to say, with David, “You are great and do marvelous deeds; You alone are God.”
3) Thank you. (Psalm 138:1, The Message)
Certainly at meal times, but even the worst day includes many reasons to tell God, “Thank You! Everything in me says ‘Thank You!’”
4) Help. (Psalm 38:22, KJV)
Whether your need is big or small, every day presents multiple opportunities to pray this simple prayer: “Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.”
5) Bless. (Psalm 67:1, NIV)
Whether it’s just one or two words (“bless him”) or more (“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine on us”), this everyday prayer can be a request to heal, prosper, encourage, strengthen, comfort or deliver someone.
6) Sorry. (Psalm 38:18, ESV)
I won’t tell you how often every day I pray this prayer. Suffice it to say, I have found out the sooner I express my repentance, the better—often using the words of David, “I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin.”
7) I love you. (John 21:17, ESV)
One morning at breakfast, Jesus gave Peter three opportunities to express his love for the Lord, until Peter finally said, “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You.” “I love You” is a great thing to say many times a day to God.
That’s it. Just seven simple prayers. Some as few as 14 words. But they work in so many situations throughout any given day that they can make prayer more doable, no matter what your schedule may be.