Excuse the number orientated blog post title! The best way to learn how to pray, is by praying. Plain and simple. I find it off-putting when Christians make prayer a complex ritual, that needs countless hours of study and expertise in order to get right. When Jesus was asked ‘how to pray’, He gave a simple, stunning and all-encompassing example that could be picked up by anyone.
Far be it from me to make prayer complicated.
All that being said, I do find it helpful every now and then to come across new tools and methods to help me ‘spice up’ my prayer life. After all, we are a Body with many parts, and we are called to live out our faith amongst the great cloud of witnesses. Learning from our Spiritual fathers and mothers, and imitating those who seek to imitate Christ.
It is from this foundation that I want to present three tools I have found empowering in my prayer life recently.
- The Valley of Vision [Book]. I was recommended this book by a friend who loves praying. When I asked him how he learns to pray more – this was one of his “go-to”s. Page after page of poetic, beautiful and rich words. Easily hi-jackable and which lend themselves to thought provoking moments of conversation with God.
- Guitar [Music]. I was very lucky growing up to have been given guitar lessons. Although, I never appreciated, as a teenager, the power of practice! I still managed to get the hang of most of the chords and minimal music theory required to play most songs to a mediocre standard. (With the internet people can learn the basics of instruments within a couple of hours.) If you have an instrument to hand, I have found playing some simple chord progressions with the Psalms open (or even the Valley of Vision book) very helpful.
- Phone call prayers [Technology]. I am NOT a fan of online/Skype/zoom prayer meetings. Even for our weekly Church zoom meetings. I just have not got used to being videoed in prayer (- alas, my issues). However, give me some Bluetooth headphones with a mic, a friend to call, and a walking route. And I can pray for some time. The last few weeks on Sunday morning I have been calling up a friend and praying together while I walk and talk on the phone. All the encouragements of praying with a friend, none of the self-conscieness that comes from being on a webcam! (Win-win!) Not to mention the biggest win that we draw closer to God (WIN-Win-win!)
There we go, there are three tools for prayer in 2021. I hope you find them encouraging and useful.