Prayer is how Christians communicate with God, through both talking and listening and being open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is a two-way method of communication that gives Christians comfort as they feel that God is listening and may send messages back.

Jesus spoke often about the importance of prayer, as he felt it deepened a person's relationship with God. Similarly, many Christians believe that prayer can bring them closer to God.

Christians often use formal written prayers, which are often memorised in order to be recited both publicly and privately. An example of this is the Lord’s Prayer, which was the prayer that Jesus taught his followers when they asked him to pray. This can be found in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

Christians also use informal prayers, which are personal and allow individuals to connect with God.

The five basic forms of prayer

The acronym ACTS is used to remember four key components that are found in many formal prayers. Many Christians will also try to include these in their informal, personal prayers.

  • 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 “Give me strength to…”

A fifth common component is intercession:

  • Intercession - Praying for someone who may be ill, eg “Please remember my cousin, who is ill, and help them to heal after their operation.”

The five forms of prayer can collectively be called ACTS and I.

The Lord’s Prayer

These are the words Jesus used when he taught his disciples to pray. This prayer contains all four themes of ACTS and is used in many different types of worship across numerous denominations.

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. The Lord's Prayer

Why is prayer important?

It enables communication with God so that Christians can feel comforted and listened to.