There is not one way to pray. You don't have to use fancy words (Father God you preparest my heart for thine goodness). Use plain language and talk to God as if you would your best friend.
Some people have trouble knowing how or what to pray for. Here are some suggestions for you.
- ACTS model:
A: Adoration: Praise God for who He is, His creation, how He is good to you, etc.
C: Confession: Tell God your sins. Tell Him you are without excuse. We confess our sins to God, not because He doesn't know them (in fact, He is very aware of the sins we commit that we are not aware of), but because we are also confessing our need for Jesus.
T: Thanksgiving: Thank God, first for Jesus death and resurrection, for bringing you to faith and keeping you in the faith. Thank God for anything else you can think of.
S: Supplication: A fancy word for "to ask". Ask God for what you would like. Most people start with asking God for things. This is a better place for supplication because we come off of confessing our sins and thanking God. Our priorities start to change. Of course, we are called to ask God for anything, but we follow Jesus' lead and pray as He did in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus finished His prayer by saying, "Not my will, but your will be done."
- Prayers of thanksgiving.
Spend your whole prayer just thanking God for everything you can think of. To help, you can make a list of 100 things you are thankful for as a guide. What this guide will do is help you be more thankful. You will start by saying, "Thank you God for my family", "Thank you for my health", etc. You will realize you can go more indepth. Instead of thanking God for your whole family, you will thank God for your spouse, your kids, your siblings, etc. One item (your family) will turn into several more prayers of thanksgiving when you focus on each person in your family.
- Use other people's prayers
Find prayers others have said and use those. Here are a few examples: The Lord's Prayer. Here is Luther's morning 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 no power over me. Amen.” Luther has others prayers that you can find in your Small Catechism.
- Use a prayer Journal
You can write out your prayers. Make a bulleted list of prayers you say. For some, writing helps them. Another bonus, if you use a prayer journal you can track your prayers over time and see what you were praying for some time back. You can also record how certain prayers were answered. A prayer journal can be a simple spiral bound notebook or you can buy an actual prayer journal.
- Use the prayer list from Sunday's bulletin.
The prayers of the church are listed every week. Sometimes it is good to pray for others. This helps us develop compassion and helps us to focus on other people's needs. You start to see people in a different light.
- Other things to pray for that might escape your mind
Our political leaders- all of them. Even the ones you disagree with. Pray for wisdom and discernment for them.
Light of Christ. The pastors, the staff, the preschool, our musicians, our events, fellow members, etc.
Those who are difficult for you. Prayer might not change them but it certainly can change us to see others differently.
Ask God to give you an opportunity to invite someone to church.
Ask God to show you how He wants you to serve others?
Ask God to show you how to be more involved in the ministry of Light of Christ.