Learning How to Pray
We all want to experience deeper connection with God… but most of us don’t really know how.
And most of your spiritual life is going to be spent outside of church, so here are some ideas of some things you can do on your own to connect with God.
Prayer & Meditation can help us to…
- calm down and slow down
- learn to love ourselves
- focus on God and on the needs of others
- listen to God
- reconnect with God
- receive God’s strength and courage
- recommit ourselves to following Jesus…
Just beginning to develop a daily prayer habit?
- Try to choose a specific time each day to be intentional in prayer, based on who you are (for example, don’t choose 6am if you’re a night person).
- Find the right spot in your home (or wherever), someplace convenient where you often spend time and where you won’t be distracted or interrupted.
- Then just talk to God and tell God what’s on your heart and mind, remembering to listen, too. Remember you have an audience of just one: God.
- Or find a daily devotional to help guide your time – we love The Upper Room, a small devotional booklet. Each daily entry contains a short scripture verse, a brief reflection, and a prayer. Copies are available at church at the welcome center.
- Sign up for Prayer & Meditation Boot Camp class the next time we offer it. This class is designed to help folks establish a consistent daily prayer practice. Stay tuned to this page for details and signup link when it’s offered next.
- There are lots of prayer and meditation practices outlined on our 50 Days of Embodiment pages! We encourage you to look around and try some out, see what works for you, following the Spirit… Or see the Embodiment Practices section immediately below here for quick links to the various practices.
Our faith is an embodied faith – living into our faith as Christians has always been a full body experience.
We’ve compiled a extensive selection of spiritual practices that help us embody our faith more fully. You’ll find the details here.
If you want to skip straight to the practices themselves, with details and instructions, follow these links:
- Breathing Practices: Yahweh Prayer, Other Breath Prayers, I Love You Prayer
- Prayer Practices: The Lord’s Prayer, The Jesus Prayer and Recitation Prayers, The Shema, Gratitude Prayer, Gratitude in the Body Guided Meditation, Welcoming Prayer
- Observational Practices / Mindfulness: 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Practice, Sound Bathing, Sensory Attention
- Mindful Eating Practice
- Kinesthetic Practices: Walking Meditation, Prayer Labyrinth, I Am Here Prayer, Chanting, Kneeling, Proskenesis
Other Spiritual Practices
Bible reading & reflection can help us to…
- get to know who God is and what God is like
- hear God
- find direction
- see the big picture of God’s purposes in the world…
If you haven’t read much of the Bible yet, we encourage you to:
- Get an easy-to-understand Bible, such as the Renovare Life with God Bible or The Message, by Eugene Peterson.
- Start with the Gospel of Mark, in the New Testament — it’s the shortest of the 4 stories of Jesus (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), and it’s written in a pretty clear style, so it’s easier to understand than some other books.
- Find a daily devotional and start reading it every day. The best ones include a short scripture reading, then a short reflection and prayer. Try The Upper Room (there are some print copies at church, or go online and sign up for their email version).
- Sign up for Engaging the Bible the next time we offer it, or join the “Lectio Divina” Bible Reading class, both of which are designed to help you learn how to read and interpret the Bible and establish a daily Bible reading practice. Stay tuned to this page for details and signup links.
Looking for a good study Bible? We recommend:
- The HarperCollins Study Bible (New Revised Standard Version)
- The New Oxford Annotated Study Bible (New Revised Standard Version)
- The Learning Bible (Contemporary English Version)
Looking for a list of daily Bible readings?
Reading the Bible every day is an amazing spiritual practice! We offer resources and lists of daily Bible readings on this page.
Worship & Holy Communion
These sacraments help us encounter God through community with other believers, and they help us love God through words and songs of praise. Accepting the grace and forgiveness of God in Holy Communion helps sustain and nourish our relationship with God.
Participating in a small group helps us connect with other people of faith. When we share our true selves with others with authenticity and bravery, small groups can give us strength and courage for life and the spiritual journey, and they help us stay committed to our journey with God. Other Jesus followers can help us find solutions for and insights into life’s difficulties and joys. Small groups help us apply scripture to life and give us a place to share our spiritual gifts to glorify God and build others up. If you’re interested in starting your own small group with a few friends, there are some details and ideas at the bottom of this page.
Service to Others
When we serve others, we’re reminded to think of the needs of others and to be more selfless. It helps us appreciate what we do have and God’s gifts to us. There are many opportunities for serving within and beyond the walls of Hilliard United Methodist Church. Just pick one and try it! If you don’t like it, pick something else and try that. Check out all the options HERE or HERE.
Like keeping a diary, when we journal we write about our spiritual life. Jot down where you see see God working in your life. Write your thoughts on the day’s Bible passage, or the discussion you had in small group. Ask questions about that week’s message in worship…
Generosity (with our time, money, and talents) reminds us that everything we have is a gift from God, which helps us be more selfless and more focused on the needs of others. Being generous helps us be more like God, since God is a giving God. It gives us an antidote to materialism and strengthens our trust that God will provide for us.
Simplifying helps us unclutter our lives and gives us freedom from possessions. It helps us remove all of the conflicting claims on our time and energy, so that we can make room and time to be with God.
Reading other spiritual books beyond the Bible can help to clarify the Bible and make spiritual things more clear to us.
When we get outside and appreciate the natural world around us, this helps us to love and praise God! Being outside in God’s world reminds us of all the gifts and blessings God has given us.
Fasting reminds us that food and other material things don’t make us who we are, that it is God who makes us, feeds us, and provides for us. There are lots of ways to fast — not just skipping a meal or not eating for 24 hours, but putting our phones and devices away for a while, or turning off the television earlier in the evening, or choosing to stop spending money on fast food for a month. It can help focus our attention on the work of God in our lives!
Beth Palmer, Director of Adult Discipleship
614.876.2403 (church office)