We’re two and a half weeks into summer over here, and the living is lazy. With kids gone to camps and mission trips, we’ve yet to have all six of us under one roof for more than a couple of days.
With the schedule up in the air from week to week, most days find us sleeping later, relaxing more, and taking our own sweet time to get stuff done.
In the summer, it’s easy for my prayer time to lag. I don’t seem to have as much focus or motivation to make it a priority. So I’ve come up with some ways to pray, even when I don’t know where to start, or when I just plain don’t feel like it.
Growing up in the evangelical church, I learned how to pray by listening to others and trying to mimic their words and tone. For years I thought the only sincere prayers were those spontaneously worded in real time.
I’m so glad I’ve matured enough to move beyond the rigid limits I once placed on prayer!
Today I’m sharing with you some of my favorite “alternative” ways to pray. You’ll learn how to pray when you don’t know where to start. I’m hoping this might be just what you need for these lazy summer days.
1. Praying the prayers of others
As Adam McHugh says in his book, The Listening Life, “Sometimes we have to start with the words of others in order to find our own words.”
The Lord’s Prayer is a perfect example, but there are tons of resources with written prayers that will help you when you don’t know what to say. I love to read these aloud, as it slows me down and helps me meditate on the prayers themselves.
Some of my favorite resources for pre-written prayers are:
Thirty-One Days of Prayer: Moving God’s Mighty Hand by Ruth Myers
The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions by Arthur Bennett
Prayers for Today: A Yearlong Journey of Devotional Prayer by Kurt Bjorklund
The Celtic Way of Prayer by Esther De Waal
The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle
Blessing Your Spirit by Sylvia Gunter and Arthur Burk
2. Prayer beads
I purchased a set of prayer beads this past spring and quickly fell in love with this method of prayer. There are many ways to use beads, but for me they are a tangible reminder to pray, as well as a means of structuring my prayer time.
There are also some helpful resources on how to pray using beads. I’ve found these informative and helpful as I’ve learned more about praying with beads.
A Bead and a Prayer by Kristen E. Vincent
Praying with Beads by Nan Lewis Doerr and Virginia Stem Owens
3. The Spiritual Circle Journal
I stumbled upon this journal a while back while surfing the web, and I immediately ordered one for myself. The Spiritual Circle Journal is such a precious resource. It’s perfect for those whose time is limited but who still want to pray. This one’s a game changer.
Each day’s journal entry consists of nine circles, each with its own prompt. You can write in all nine, or just in the ones which are relevant to you that day. It’s a more visual way of approaching prayer, and it will help you find words even when your prayer well is running dry.
4. Guided Prayer
With both apps (or at the Divine Office website), you can just pop in your earbuds, turn the app on, and be escorted into a place of contemplation and prayer. Simply lovely.
I hope these ideas will get you started when you don’t know how to pray!
If you’d like to read more about how I do my prayer time and get access to ALL my tips and ideas, you can find tons of helpful information in my FREE e-book, “Redefining the Quiet Time.” Just enter your email in the box below, and I’ll send your free guide to you, along with members-only access to my ever-growing list of resources to help you have a meaningful prayer life!
And I’d love to hear from you!
What are your favorite resources to help you pray when you don’t know where to start? Share your ideas in the comments below!