Weekly Devotional: Three Simple Types of Prayer

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Think about reasons you or people you’ve encountered may struggle or neglect to pray. Perhaps it feels time-consuming, confusing or dull. Although it’s normal to feel this at times, prayer is a beautiful gift given to us in order to communicate with the king of kings. It is meant to be mysterious, life-giving, colorful and transformative.

1 Thessalonians invites us into a lifestyle full of prayer. How do we achieve this when we aren’t feeling this way about prayer? Here are three simple types of prayer available to you in Scripture. Rather than allowing negative thoughts or experiences with prayer prevent you from communing with God, consider a new way, perhaps engaging in one of these simple prayers.

In This Article:

1. Breath Prayer

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night — Psalms 1:2, ESV

Breath prayer is a short prayer that connects your body with the Word. As you breathe in, say/think of a name or characteristic of God rooted in Scripture that holds meaning to you or your circumstance. As you breathe out, say a short prayer that is true because of your chosen characteristic. As you repeat this, you may find that whispering the truth of God’s character causes your heart to be still and your mind to be at ease.

Here are a few examples of breath prayers:

  • As you inhale, say “Good Shepherd.” As you exhale, say “I have all that I need.” (Psalm 23)
  • As you inhale, say “Wonderful Counselor.” As you exhale, say “Guide me.” (Isaiah 9)
  • As you inhale, say “Great Defender.” As you exhale, say “Protect my heart.” (Psalm 62)

This type of prayer can be a great tool to use in moments of stress, as it can be done anywhere, any time and without anyone even knowing. Slow, deep breathing can reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.1 When we combine this technique with prayer, we are inviting God into our distress and directing our thoughts toward him.

We see Jesus model breath prayer in Scripture. As he was being crucified on the cross, Jesus cried out, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” (Luke 23:46). Even in his last breath, amid severe suffering, Jesus directs his attention to the Lord and calls upon his name.

2. One Sentence Prayer

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise — Philippians 4:8, NLT

One sentence prayer is another type of prayer used to commune with the Lord and consider the state of your soul. This can be used in times of grief, joy, gratitude and petition. When you cannot find the words, or perhaps want to engage in simple conversation with God, try offering just one sentence.

You can even use a sentence found in Scripture rather than formulating your own. Offer your prayer to the Lord, heedless of it sounding poetic or profound. Focus on each syllable and repeat the sentence until you feel it’s been written on your heart.

Here are a few examples of one sentence prayers:

  • “God, have mercy on me according to your steadfast love.” (Psalm 51)
  • “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things.” (Psalm 119)
  • “Great are you Lord, and greatly to be praised.” (Psalm 145)

Although these are short prayers, they can be said to quickly shift your thoughts and turn your eyes toward Jesus. Simple or complex, short or long, the Lord hears your prayers and remains near to you.

3. Adoration Prayer

Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen — Revelation 7:12, NLT

Sometimes in prayer, we get caught up in the asking. We often remember to seek him in times of need but find ourselves forgetting the significance of praise. Adoration prayer is a type of prayer solely focused on adoring God.

There is no correct way to do adoration prayer, but here is an exercise that may be helpful:

1. Choose a characteristic: Begin addressing God by one of his many names or characteristics. Ask yourself, how have I seen God recently? Who do I need to remember God as? Some examples could be Abba, Prince of peace, Bread of life, Maker or Protector.

2. Find Scripture: After you’ve chosen a characteristic, find verses or passages of Scripture that include or demonstrate this characteristic. How has God shown himself as this characteristic throughout history? What does his Word say is true about him?

3. Reflect on personal experiences: Now that you’ve examined Scripture, examine your own life. Consider times in your past or present where God has revealed himself in this way. Reflect on small moments, notable circumstances or seasons of life.

4. Pray: Spend time in prayer, for however long you desire, adoring God for this characteristic. Invite him into your findings, thank him for who he is, and pray to continually see him in this way.

Adoration prayer is centered around loving and magnifying the Lord above all else. It is setting our eyes on the prize of knowing Christ Jesus and delighting in who he is.2 Adoration prayer can be helpful in times when you need to remind yourself of God’s multifaceted character. You may find yourself falling deeper in love with Christ the deeper you dive into his attributes.

In Luke 11:1, Jesus teaches the disciples how to pray with the model of the Lord’s Prayer. Just like the disciples, we too may need guidance in prayer. Breath prayer, one sentence prayer and adoration prayer are all prayers that may simplify your prayer life while still pointing you to the cross.

If you desire to learn more about these types of prayer, consider attending Grand Canyon University’s Spiritual Formation workshops. Fill out the form on this page to learn more about joining our Christian learning community.

1 Magnon, V., Dutheil, & F. Vallet, G. (2021, Sept. 29). Benefits from one session of deep and slow breathing on vagal tone and anxiety in young and older adults. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved Feb. 8, 2024.

2 Hartley, B. (2011, Sept. 20). Adoration prayer book. Deeper Waters Inc. Retrieved Feb. 8, 2024.

Approved by the local outreach coordinator of the Office of Spiritual Life on March 9, 2024.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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