Seeking God, Sharing Christ, Serving Others
Honest and open communication is essential to any healthy relationship. Prayer is an ongoing conversation with God, where each of us can communicate directly with God and where God can even communicate with us.
Eastgate offers several ways to develop your prayer life, including a daily calendar of suggestions for prayers. These daily prayers encourage ways to listen to God and be more honest with God, opportunities to explore different ways of praying, and raise awareness of various groups of people that you can pray for.
In addition, Eastgate hosts a monthly prayer breakfast, publishes a prayer list weekly of people facing health or other personal challenges, and has a voluntary system to learn about pressing prayer needs by phone or email.
Please note: you can subscribe to the daily prayer calendar to have the prompts appear on your personal calendar.
Styles of Prayer to Explore
ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication)
This style of prayer uses the acronym, ACTS, to encourage people to offer four types of prayers during their prayer time. These are:
- Adoration - praising God for being God
- Confession - admitting our sins and guilt to God
- Thanksgiving - expressing our appreciation for the good things in our lives
- Supplication - asking God for things (guidance, healing for others, etc.)
This is a type of silent, meditative prayer. It encourages an awareness of God's presence by focusing on a single, sacred word and seeking peace. Learn more.
Devotionals not only offer recommended Bible readings and reflections, but they also provide daily prayers which can be a helpful way to begin daily prayer times. Learn more.
The Divine Office (or Daily Office)
This style of prayer prescribes various types of prayers at specific times each day. Most often associated with Roman Catholic religious orders, it is also utilized in various forms by many Christians. While at its fullest it suggests eight different times for prayer each day, today many people combine some of those prayer times together. Learn more.
This is a style of prayer and meditation where people follow the instructions of a leader who guides their prayers. This can be done in a group setting, or it can be done privately using prerecorded resources. Allowing someone else to worry and plan for what you pray for can create space for you to be more open with God. Learn more here.
Holding a Cross (or other item)
Sometimes, the feel of an item can help to focus someone on the act of praying. Over time, holding the same item can create a habit of prayer, encouraging a pattern of praying. The item can be a small cross or item that fits in the hand, including a string of beads (as with Catholics praying the rosary), or it can be something worn or wrapped around the body, like a prayer shawl.
A labyrinth path can provide a useful context for prayer, allowing someone to pray while slowly walking through the plotted pattern. Learn more.
This is a way to pray using verses of the Bible. It takes four basic steps. First, read a short passage (1-4 verses), and find the word(s) or phrase(s) that grab your notice. Second, meditate on the passage, focusing on the words or phrases you noticed. Third, speak the passage to God. Fourth, contemplate God's response to you through the passage. Learn more here.
You can create a peaceful mood and surround yourself with reminders of the light of Christ by lighting candles when you pray.
This is a way to use a repeated sentence or phrase to center your prayers. It can be a short confession or petition, or a simple statement of praise to God. For example, you can repeat a single line from one of the psalms.
Middle of the Night Prayers
Many people "count sheep" when they cannot sleep. However, these are wonderful and quiet times when you can pray.
Pray in Bed
Praying while in bed can be a good way to pray at the beginning and end of each day. The simple reminder to pray while in bed allows the conversation with God to bookend your daily activities.
Pray for God's Creation
Praying for the natural world -- plants, animals, waterways, and more -- can be a helpful way to expand prayer lives and practices.
Pray in the Kitchen
Many people pray before meals, but you can also pray while you are cooking. Aromas and recipes may bring memories of cherished relationships: pray for those people when you think of them and thank God for their presences in your life.
Pray while Knitting
The rhythm of knitting (or any needlework) can provide a calming and peaceful time of prayer. Try sensing God's presence and speaking with God while you knit.
Pray the News
We see and read about all sorts of things in the news -- heartbreaking, frustrating, encouraging, and more. All of these can lead to prayers, whether asking for God to provide comfort or offer a better solution, sharing gratitude for blessings, or asking direction for your own life.
Pray with a Partner
You can deepen your prayer life by praying with a partner -- in person, over the phone, or even my mail. You can share your prayers with them and let them share their prayers with you. This allows both of you to pray for each other and to be watchful for God's answers to those prayers.
Pray in the Shower or Bath
Often, prayer involves looking for a quiet time or space to speak with God and listen for God. One place with fewer distractions is the shower or bath. This can be an excellent opportunity to find moments of peaceful prayer.
Pray in Sighs Too Deep for Words
Sometimes we feel the need to pray, but we are at a loss for words. Romans 8:26 reminds us that the Holy Spirit can offer us meaningful sighs, expressing our deepest desires and despairs, as prayers.
Pray when Someone Comes to Mind
This is a simple practice. When a person that you know crosses your mind (you wonder how they are doing, or you are reminded of them in some way), offer a short prayer for them. This can includes gratitude for your relationship, intercessory prayers for their needs, or simple praise for them as children of God.
Pray at the Sound of the Siren
Sirens on emergency vehicles alert cars that officials are responding to urgent situations. While we may not know what these needs are, the siren can alert us too to offer prayers on behalf of those in need and the first responders headed to help them. Try offering such prayers when you hear sirens.
Pray the Weather
Weather conditions affect all sorts of people. Sometimes people are forced to cope with the danger and destruction of violent storms. Even day to day changes in temperature and precipitation can affect all sorts of people who work outdoors, who are traveling, who are homeless, or who have physical challenges. Try offering prayers for these people when you hear a weather forecast.
You can use a personal journal to develop and deepen your prayer life. You can write out prayers, and perhaps even pray them again and again, or you can keep track of your prayer times and when you are aware of God's answers to your prayers. Learn more here.
There are many ways that you can stand, sit, or lay while you pray. Your head can be bowed or raised. Your eyes can be open or closed. Trying a new posture in prayer can change how your pray. Learn more.
Red Light Prayers
When driving (or riding in a car), you frequently are forced to wait at red lights. These brief pauses in driving can be perfect opportunities to offer short prayers, and it can add a spiritual peacefulness to driving.
Sticky Note Prayers
You can develop a practice of repeating important prayers by leaving reminder notes for these prayers where you will see them at various times each day. Such places include bathroom mirrors, the refrigerator, next to the computer, or even the steering wheel of your car.
The ecumenical community in Taizé, France encourages prayers through music (often sung in multiple languages). The short songs repeat many times, which encourages a sense that the prayer simply becomes completely embodied by the person praying. It also can encourage some meditation. You can listen to prayer service podcasts from Taizé here, or you can read more about meditative singing on the community's website.