How to Pray

VICKY BROWN


“Prayer tends to say more about you and your image of God than it does about God herself.” 

“True, whole prayer is nothing but love.” - St. Augustine

“Pray as you can, not as you can’t.” - Dom John Chapman

These quotes are important to me. They remind me that there is no “right” way to pray. Even after being part of the faith for so long, I need these reminders.

A definition of prayer that I like is “any way that we commune with the Divine.” Here are some ways I think this can happen:

Nature Music Silence Motion

Creativity Breathing deeply Reading Dreaming Playing

Talking to someone you love or someone you disagree with

What all of these have in common is that for them to be prayer, I bring intention and become aware of the connection. If I never take time to notice things (in myself, in my surroundings or in others), how can I truly experience any kind of connection? But sometimes, let’s be honest, nothing happens when we pray, when we try to connect. However, the arc of a prayer practice over time is still important.

The act of fidelity to a spiritual practice makes the practice holy and formative, even if it feels like nothing is happening.

My taking time to pray says something about what I believe about God. It says that connection with God is important, even if it seemed futile that day. I showed up because it says I believe God cares; God sees me. I believe God speaks to me, and I don’t want to miss anything that might be said. So to hone my awareness, I keep showing up, being present to what is going on. As I continue to be present, I can see more and more of what God sees - in me and in everyone and everything because I am connecting to God through the present moment. It’s like training my eyes and heart over time.

If you’ve been on the journey for a while, I want to challenge you with these questions about prayer:

  • What do you think prayer is?

  • What were you told it was? By whom?

  • What do you want it to be?

  • What stops you from praying?

  • What keeps you praying?

  • Have you ever had a prayer come true? What was that like?

  • Have you ever been let down? How did you react?

  • What feelings do you associate with praying?

  • Who is God to you these days?

And if you’re new to this whole prayer thing, I want to challenge you with these questions:

  • What do you think prayer is?

  • What were you told it was? By whom?

  • What do you want it to be?

  • What stops you from praying?

  • What keeps you praying?

  • Have you ever had a prayer come true? What was that like?

  • Have you ever been let down? How did you react?

  • What feelings do you associate with praying?

  • Who is God to you these days?

They are the same! No matter where we are on our journey, questions like these are important! They never get old or weary or irrelevant. 

Asking questions like these helps us understand what we believe and why we believe it - a worthy journey! Please don’t believe something only because someone told you it was the right thing to believe. Do the work, think it through, feel it through, talk it through with a trusted friend. It is worth the time and energy and emotions to come to new understandings of ourselves and God - and this time, this effort, can be called prayer.

Should you ever want to talk about any of the questions above, mature or new to the faith, don’t hesitate to ask me or the leadership at Imago! We would love to encourage you along the path you are on.


Vicky has been around a long time at Imago and continues to call the church beloved. She is wife to Cory, who shows her more about God's love than anyone else, mom to Ainzley, Zoe and Reuben, a spiritual director in the area, and an occasional teacher in her local Tae Kwon Do dojang. She loves nature, especially national parks and rocks, and believes that God exists in all things and all people.

Christina Hite