Prayer is how Christians communicate with God and receive the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Christians think of prayer as a two-way method of communication that gives comfort as God is listening and may send messages back.

Why do Christians pray?

The mnemonic ACTS and I can be used to remember five key themes in Christian prayer:

  • Adoration - praising God, eg “Dear God, I know that you are all-loving…”
  • Confession - saying sorry, eg “Please forgive me for the horrible things I have said about…”
  • Thanksgiving - thanking God, eg “Thank you for the amazing weather this week…”
  • Supplication - asking for something, eg “Please give me strength to…”
  • Intercession - praying for someone who is ill, eg “Please remember my cousin, who is ill, and help them to heal after their operation.”

The Lord’s Prayer

Jesus taught his followers the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9–13) when they asked how to pray.

The Lord’s Prayer is the most widely known prayer in Christianity. It is said by the members of most Christian denominations. It contains all four themes of ACTS:

Our Father, which art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.Matthew 6:9–13

Formal and informal prayers

The Lord’s Prayer is the most widely known example of a set prayer. Set prayers are formal, written prayers that are often memorised so that they can be recited both publicly and privately. Most denominations of Christianity also have their own collections of set prayers. For example, the Book of Common Prayer is a collection of prayers and orders of service for liturgical worship in Anglican churches.

Christians also use personal informal prayers, which are more like individual conversations with God. They may be said in private or publicly.


Why is prayer important?

Prayer enables Christians to communicate with God so as to develop a meaningful relationship with him.