Have you said “hello” to God lately?
Just as you greet your spouse, your children, your neighbors or your coworkers, take a moment out of your day to say hello to our Lord. Prayer is a powerful and personal way to connect to the higher power and a key way we grow as spiritual beings.
The new year is the perfect time to foster renewed dedication to prayer. If the world seems too fast, if you run out of time, if the idea of praying slips your mind all together, we have some simple tips for how to find the time and momentum. Even a few quiet moments a day can make a difference in how we think, feel and act.
Why We Need Prayer
Turns out that prayer is good for us. A recent article emphasizes the feeling of connection that prayer can create. In a world that can feel increasingly fragmented and isolating, prayer is the perfect antidote. It might reduce feelings of being alone and help you plug into the bigger picture.
A clinical Prayer Study found that prayer can have a measurable beneficial effect on people who suffer from depression and anxiety. Participants that attended a hour-long prayer session six times/week “showed significant improvement of depression and anxiety, as well as increases of daily spiritual experiences and optimism compared to controls.” Another study found that intercessory prayer (praying for others) had a positive effect on self-esteem, anxiety and depression.
Clearly the benefits of prayer go well beyond the ritualistic sense of obligation you might feel. It can improve your mental and emotional health as well and help you feel more positive about life in general.
6 Ways You Can Find Time for Prayer
Not sure how to reap these benefits of daily prayer? It only takes a few minutes a day and may be as easy as picking a regular time and sticking with it. Here are a few prayer time suggestions to get you started:
1. Follow your natural rhythms
Are you a morning person? If so, make prayer a part of your normal morning ritual. If you need more time to shake off the cobwebs and greet the world, make prayer a habit at lunchtime or in the evening when you’re more present.
2. Set a reminder on your phone
While technology can be a distraction, you can also use it to help you focus. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to pray and make it a recurring notice.
3. Pray while you exercise
A walk, bike ride or workout offers pockets for quiet reflection. Take an extra minute to say a prayer, show gratitude and check in with yourself. You’ll feel better physically and spiritually.
4. Pray while doing chores
Folding laundry, vacuuming, dishes – liven up these mundane tasks and put a positive spin on them by including a moment for prayer.
It’s long been a tradition to say grace before a meal. Have you fallen out of the habit? Now is the time to reintroduce prayer before a meal. It’s a great way to share the practice with your entire family.
6. Before bed
“Now I lay me down to sleep…” The end of the day is a good time to reflect, center and give thanks. Add a small prayer before you turn out the lights and see if you don’t sleep better.
How to Start a Prayer
If you’re feeling a little rusty, we have a few ideas on simple daily prayers that only take a minute or two. Whether you need a prayer for strength during difficult times, a prayer for gratitude, a prayer for someone else or if you just want to say “hi” to God, try one of these simple Lutheran prayers:
The Lord’s Prayer
Even those who don’t go to church know the Lord’s prayer and with good reason, it encompasses so much, so elegantly:
Our Father who art in heaven. Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen
Martin Luther’s Morning Prayer
For those who like to start their day with a prayer, Martin Luther’s words will add purpose to your morning:
I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen
Martin Luther’s Evening Prayer
Likewise, for those who like to reflect in the evening, Luther’s evening prayer is the perfect synopsis for your day:
I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray that You would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen
Martin Luther’s Prayer Before Eating
A simple prayer to share with those you break bread with:
The eyes of all wait upon You, O Lord, and You give them their food in due season; You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. Lord God, heavenly Father, bless us and these Your gifts which we receive from Your bountiful goodness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Learn More About the Power of Prayer
Join us Sunday and experience the power of prayer as a community. The doors of King of Kings church in Woodbury are open to all. Learn more about worship and consider joining a book club or other group where prayer is a regular practice.