I think it’s possible that a lot of times we don’t pray because we just don’t know what to say. We know. But we don’t—not in a let’s-get-down-to-business way.
So, to help, I’ve compiled a list of 51 prayer prompts, tips for getting started with saying what matters.
1. Pray The Lord’s Prayer. Pray it on loop until you mean it. Elaborate as you pray.
2. Pray the Psalms. Read a few and highlight phrases you want to repeat to God. When you’re done picking out phrases, read the highlighted passages in praise to God. Personalize them.
3. Pray for your family. Begin closest to you and work your way out. Don’t just say their names. Think about what they need, what God’s vision for them might be. Pray until you can’t think of another family member.
4. Pray the house. Walk through the rooms in your house praying in each one. In the living room, pray for the moments you spend there, pray for the people who sit on your couch and the conversations you’ll have. Pray in the bedroom for good sleep, for peace. Go ahead and pray the bathroom, too. Why not? :)
5. Pray your church directory. Get it out and pray over each name inside, offering up petition and thanksgiving.
6. Pray the books in your library. Pray for every living author represented. Pray that more people would read books that have changed you. Pray that the truths in those books would continue to shape you.
7. Pray your Facebook feed. Pray for the people represented, the issues discussed, any groups/movements/efforts you support. Facebook is oftentimes a reflection of what you care about. It only makes sense to pray over it. While you’re there, you might pray for wisdom as you post.
8. Pray Instagram. This is one of my favorite ways to offer Thanksgiving. I pray over every moment represented in the pictures and thank God for the people, places, and events He’s putting in my life.
9. Pray your goals. Make a list and pray over it, asking God to grow, stretch and challenge you in these directions. Be sure to make at least some of the goals spiritual maturity markers.
10. Pray your favorite passage of scripture. Read it and either ask God to do what He’s promised to do or thank Him for the blessing communicated there.
11. Pray Anne Lamott’s prayer model: Wow. Thanks. Help. (Praise first. Thanks second. Requests last.)
12. Pray over your food and make it specific. Thank God for the farmers who grew the vegetables. Thank God for the sacrifice made by the chicken who died so you could eat those nuggets. Think about everything that went into the meal you’re eating and every person who touched it along the way.
13. Pray for your church elders. For wisdom, vision, love, grace, boundless energy…
14. Make a list of people you don’t like. Pray for God to bless them. Don’t be passive aggressive.
15. Pray a map of the world. Pray that the kingdom of God would grow in numbers and strength in each individual country.
16. Pray for Christians in places where it’s dangerous to be a Christian. Pray that they’d have hope and courage. Pray what your heart wants to pray.
17. Pray for the rich. Jesus says it’s harder for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter eternal life. Pray for them.
18. Pray for the poor. Walk through a housing development and pray over each home. Or sit in front of a poor elementary school and pray over the kids. Put yourself in proximity as you pray so you can see with your eyes and with your heart what you’re praying for.
19. Be totally silent for three minutes. Don’t talk and don’t talk to yourself. Try to still your thoughts. At the end of that three minutes ask God what you should pray for. Listen and pray for whatever pops into your head.
20. Pray the tabloids. Instead of reading the tabloids while you’re in line at the grocery store, pray over the faces and names on the covers. Celebrities need prayer, too.
21. Pray your closet. Thank God for the clothes in your closet. Remember what you’ve done in certain outfits. Thank God for those memories or ask for help and guidance if your clothes stir up complicated or painful memories. Thank God for covering you and clothing you in Christ.
22. Pray your favorite sports team’s roster. Don’t pray for them to play well or for their health. Pray that they’d be led close to God.
23. Pray your work. If you work outside the home, pray over your office. Start at your desk, praying that God would work through your job. Move on to the desks around you and then down the hall. Ask God to call, bless, and shape your co-workers. Listen as you pray for any prompting from God about how you should interact with your co-workers or what you should be doing on the job.
24. Confess. Get in a quiet place and speak your sins out loud to God. Be specific and thorough.
25. Fill in the blank: God You are like __________. Make similes to tell God how great He is (and then explain the comparison. You might say, “God, You are like a tree. You’re strong and unmoving.” Or “God, You are like the ocean, mysterious and beautiful.”
26. If the similes are too hard, try adjectives. Fill in the blank: God you are ____________. Wonderful, big, our Savior, etc.
27. Write your prayers. This is great if you can’t keep your thoughts focused and often end up wandering. Start like you’re writing a letter: “Dear God…”
28. Pray your planner. Ask God to be in your appointments and errands. Ask Him to guide you as you plan your time. Ask God to help you use the unscheduled time well.
29. Keep a Thanksgiving journal listing your blessings. Don’t say “I’m thankful for…” Say, “Thank You God for…” I keep my list on the backdoor of my house. I write it with Crayola window markers.
30. Go stream of consciousness. Pray exactly what you’re thinking about. No thought is too small to be prayed for. If you think inappropriate thoughts, awesome. Capture them and pray over them. Keep chasing your thoughts with prayer until you don’t have any more thoughts.
31. Pray your church’s prayer list. Keep it in your purse or car.
32. Pray the fruits of the Spirit, that God would fill you with His Spirit and grow in you love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Pray it for your spouse and for your children.
33. Pray for your preacher. Pray that he wouldn’t be led into temptation. Pray that he would have eyes to see. Pray for his family life. Pray for his heart.
34. Pray for your mentors. You might not have official mentors but you probably have people you look up to. Pray for them. That God would continue to use them. That He would lead them not into temptation but deliver them from the evil one. Whatever you think they might need…
35. Pray for kids. Pick a few kids in your life you’d like to regularly pray for. They might be nieces or nephews. They might be kids in your neighborhood or kids in the youth group at church. Write their names down somewhere and pray for them—that they would live into the plan God has for them, that they would be called to God and that they would grow in wisdom and love. Again, whatever you think they need…
36. Pray your questions. Make a list of things you wonder. Ask God to show you answers.
37. Channel your anger. Make a list of things you’re angry about and pray it. Ask God to help you see things you’re not seeing—to give you humility, patience and perspective. Ask Him to calm your spirit and lead you into peace.
38. Pray for missionaries. Pick a couple missionaries you can pray for regularly. Follow their Facebook updates or update emails and pray over them. Then message them to let them know you prayed.
39. Pray Wesley’s Covenant Prayer. Be prepared to cry while praying.
40. Ask God to show Himself to you. And then spend the day looking and thanking Him every time you see Him working.
41. Pray for a friend who doesn’t know God. Tell them you’d like to pray for them and ask them what you can pray for.
42. Pray the newspaper (or online news site). Pray for the problems. Pray for those who’ve committed crimes and those who’re victims. Pray for peace and wisdom and love.
43. Pray for the president. Pray with hope, believing the best about who he is as a man. Ask God to work through him and guide him. Pray for congressmen and senators and mayors and city councilmen and women while you’re at it.
44. Pray for your kid’s teacher on the way to school each day—out loud for your kid to hear.
45. Pray your talents. Make a list of what you’re good at and ask God to use those talents for His glory.
46. Pray your weaknesses. Make a list of what you’re bad at and pray that God would be glorified in those spots. Ask God to help you grow where you should grow and accept what you should accept.
47. Make a list of people who think differently than you do, people you know. Ask God to help you be open-minded as you talk to those people. Ask Him to speak through them to you and give you ears to hear.
48. Watch a Youtube video or do an image search of your favorite parts of God’s creation—stars, the ocean, puppies. Even if you end up watching kitten videos, pray thanking God for the beauty He makes and praising Him for His evident awesomeness.
49. Before you pray for daily bread (what you need), thank God for what He’s given you. You might make a mental blessing list of every item in your house and garage. You might look in your pantry and through your refrigerator. Open closets. See what God has provided. And then make a list of what you need and offer that list to God.
50. Pray over your broken relationships—for forgiveness to flow.
51. Think of something you really don’t want to pray about. Pray about that.
Hope this list helps kickstart your prayer life. This list is only a beginning; there are sooo many more things to pray about and ways to pray.
I’d love to hear from you—Add your suggestions to the list in the comments.