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Most religions practice some form of prayer.  This page is setup to help you develop your prayer life and includes many of the great and useful prayers.  The author of this web site is a Christian and so prayer is presented from my Christian viewpoint. 


    How to Pray

There are many ways to pray.  We can listen as someone else prays and pray along.  We can pray in unison with other people.  We can pray out loud by ourselves.  We can pray quietly by ourselves.  Prayer is communicating with God.  It is available to us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.   We can spend hours in prayer or a few seconds.  We can communicate our innermost thoughts, desires, hopes, fears, cares, feelings, and everything else that we experience. 


    Prayer is the thought stream of the Highest — a thought stream each of us (A) is always a part of and (B) can enter into consciously, and by intention, whenever we choose, which is how it is possible to ‘Pray without ceasing.’

    — B. Taintor


Our prayers can be impeded by having too rigid a view of God.  When we think of God as a cosmic police officer or judge, we don't say what we really want to say.  In truth, God knows us better than we know ourselves, so there is no reason to hold back when we pray.  We cannot fool God, which might sound scary if we think of God only as the Almighty, but when we realize that God cares about us more than anyone else can, it opens us up to be completely honest with ourselves and with God.


If you are new to prayer, it may not feel natural at first and that is alright.  The more you pray, the easier it will become.  It is OK if you stumble; God hears your prayer.


In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus poured out his heart to God the Father in prayer.  He was so anguished that he sweat blood.  He asked to not have to go through with the suffering and death that He was about to endure, but submitted to God’s will.  God answers prayer.  Sometimes our prayers are answered in a way that was not what we had in mind.  The answer might be yes, no, wait, maybe, or something else. 



One Model of Prayer: ACTS


A full prayer life includes more than endless requests like, “God, help me get an A on my paper,” or, “God, help me get...,” or even, “Help my neighbor...”  Prayer includes petitions, but a full relationship with God includes confession and giving thanks and adoration.  One way to have a full prayer life is to use the ACTS model:


Adoration:  Just as you tell friends or family that you love them, so we show love and praise to God, not simply for the things that God does for us, but because God is God and is worthy of praise.  We want to be closer to our creator and redeemer.


Confession:  We confess our sin and receive God’s forgiveness.  See the prayer for  Confession of Sins below.


Thanksgiving:  All we have comes from God and we respond with thanksgiving.  If we can say, “Thank you,” when someone brings us a glass of water (and we should), we can certainly thank God for the air we breath, the food we eat, our homes, our clothing, and all that we have.  When we give thanks, we acknowledge what has been given to us.  Giving thanks helps us remember that we have much to be thankful for in life.  


Supplication:  Supplication means prayer request, intention, or petition.  It includes requests for ourselves and intercessions for our friends, family, those in our community, our country, and for people throughout the world.  Jesus teaches us to pray (see the Lord’s Prayer below) by offering our petitions to God humbly with, “Your will be done,” included in our requests, offering our petitions to God while acknowledging that God knows what we need even before we know what we need.  Petitions include daily needs, but also requests for discernment, wisdom, resisting temptation, and health, just to name a few.  Prayers for others should be for their benefit, rather than our own.



Prayers from Christian Liturgy


Written prayers are but one method of praying, but a very useful way to pray.  They make it possible to pray together in unison.  Written prayers also allow us to focus on God rather than on what we are thinking.  When using written prayers, it is recommended to not rush or just go through the motions, but to think about the words and the meaning of the prayer and communicating the prayer to God.


Below are a collection of prayers commonly used by liturgical Christians, including Lutheran, Anglican (Episcopal), Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Methodist, Presbyterian, and many other traditions.



The Lord’s Prayer or The Our Father


“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”

Protestants include:

“For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.”



Confession of Sins


A prayer commonly used for the Confession of Sins by Episcopalians, Lutherans, and other Christian traditions is:


Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.  We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.  For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.


The Priest or Pastor then pronounces absolution, assuring the people of God’s forgiveness:


”Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life.  Amen.”


The Kyrie or Kyrie Eleison


 “Lord have mercy.  Christ have mercy.  Lord have mercy.”



Gloria Patri or Glory Be


“Glory be to God the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen”



Gloria in Excelsis or Glory in the Highest


“Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth.

Lord God, heavenly King, Almighty God and Father,

We worship You, we give You thanks, we praise You for Your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God,

You take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us;

You are seated at the right hand of the Father; receive our prayer.

For You alone are the Holy One, You alone are the Lord,

You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.  Amen.”





“Holy, holy, holy Lord.  God of power and might,

Heaven and earth are full of Your glory. 

Hosanna in the highest. 

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. 

Hosanna in the highest.”



Agnus Dei


“Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world, grant us peace, grant us peace.”



The Apostles Creed


“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth;


And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord;

Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

Born of the Virgin Mary,

Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day he rose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.


I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.”



The Nicene Creed


We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.


We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God,

Eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made,

Of one Being with the Father;

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,

Was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

He suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;

He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.


We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

Who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

With the Father and the Son He is worshiped and glorified.

He has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.


(Note:  Protestant and Roman Catholic tradition includes “proceeds from the Father and the Son,” while the Eastern Orthodox tradition does not include, “and the Son.”)



The Prayer of St. John Chrysostom


“Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in His Name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting.”



The Sign of the Cross


When I was a child, I went to Catholic schools a couple of years and my family was Lutheran.   My class went to mass weekly and I was told that the differences between our two traditions included that Lutherans did not make the sign of the cross.  Then I went to Lutheran catechism class and read what Martin Luther said about morning and evening prayer.  In both cases, he wrote, “…make the sign of the holy cross.”  I was confused.  As it turns out, many Lutherans do make the sign of the cross.  Some churches in America, trying to not look too “Catholic” to other Protestants, stopped making this important sign, though have returned to use it.  The Christian historian Tertullian wrote about making the sign of the cross as early as 200 A.D., so we know that early Christians were doing it.


Why do we make the sign of the cross?

  • We mark ourselves as belonging to the Triune God.
  • It is a mini-creed; we express our belief in the Trinity
  • It prepares us for prayer by announcing who we are praying to and focuses our hearts and minds on the Triune God.
  • It completes our prayer by reminding us of who we prayed to.
  • It is a prayer by itself
    • A prayer that is a renewal of our Baptism
    • It reminds us of Jesus’ sacrifice to give us eternal life
    • It reminds us of the Holy Spirit’s presence

How to make the sign of the cross?

  • Say, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
  • Using your right hand, touch your forehead when saying, “of the Father,” your lower chest when saying, “of the Son,” your left shoulder on the word "Holy" and your right shoulder on the word "Spirit." 

There are variations with what to do with your fingers.

  • You can put your thumb, index finger and middle finger together, the three fingers representing the Trinity.
  • When using holy water to remind us of our baptism, it is helpful to just use your middle finger.
  • Keeping your hand open can be a reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice because his hands were open on the cross.


There are variations in the making the sign of the cross

  • Clergy will often make the sign of the cross facing the people, especially when giving a blessing.
  • It can be made just on the forehead, which appears to be one way the earliest Christians made it.
  • When the Gospel reading is announced, many Christian traditions make three crosses to pray that the Word of God (Jesus) may be in our thoughts, in our speech, and in our hearts.  Using your thumb, make one cross on your forehead, one on your mouth, and one over your heart so that
  • The Orthodox churches make the sign of the cross touching their right shoulder first and then the left.  They also use thumb, index, and middle finger to create the abbreviation for Jesus Christ, “IC XC.”


Other Christian Prayers



The prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr commonly known as

The Serenity Prayer


"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The Courage to change the things I can,
And the Wisdom to know the difference.”



Martin Luther’s Morning Prayer


In the morning when you get up, make the sign of the holy cross and say:

      “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen”


Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer.  If you choose, you may also say this little prayer:

      “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 me power over me. Amen”


Then go joyfully to your work, singing a hymn, like that of the Ten Commandments, or whatever your devotion may suggest.



Martin Luther’s Evening Prayer


In the evening, when you go to bed, make the sign of the holy cross and say:

      “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen”


Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer.  If you choose, you may also say this little prayer:

      “I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this day; and I pray 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”


Then go to sleep at once and in good cheer.



The Jesus Prayer


From the Eastern Orthodox, the Jesus Prayer opens our hearts to unceasing prayer.

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”



The Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love. 
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”



Moravian Blessing
“Come, Lord Jesus, our guest to be
And bless these gifts
Bestowed by Thee.
And bless our loved ones everywhere,
And keep them in Your loving care.”


Three Prayers for Before Meals


“Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord.  Amen.”


“Come, Lord Jesus, be our Guest,

And let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen”


“God is good and God is great;

Lord, we thank thee for this food.

By his hands we all are fed;

Give us, Lord, our daily bread.  Amen.”



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