What helps you to pray?

If you've been reading my posts in the last few days you will know I'm taking part in a 7 day 'ProBlogger Challenge'. This is day 6 and today's challenge is to create a discussion post. 

Having posted yesterday something about how to pray I would really like to know what helps you to pray. What helps me may not be what helps you. We are all different, at different stages of life and in different situations. Some people find going on a pilgrimage helpful, especially if it involves walking, either alone or with others. I find walking refreshing even when it is challenging, as prayer so often is. That is why I have chosen this image of a pilgrim walking to Camino da Santiago.

You may find other things helpful. You may have favourite or habitual aids to prayer that you use. Let me know in the comments. You can just put one word or something longer. It is up to you.

To start you thinking, here's a list of things some people find helpful for prayer:

  1. being alone
  2. being with others
  3. reading the Bible
  4. reading Christian books
  5. music
  6. art
  7. poetry
  8. a prayer routine
  9. a prayer list
  10. journalling
  11. a gratitude diary
  12. books of prayers
  13. a prayer App for a smartphone
  14. walking
  15. gardening
  16. visiting a sacred place
  17. going on a retreat
  18. going on a pilgrimage
  19. using an object e.g. a rosary or a cross to hold
OK - I will come clean. This is a list of some things I've found helpful as aids to prayer.

Do any of these ring true for you? You could just give the number(s) in your comment, or one word or a longer explanation. It is up to you. I hope you will comment. It would really help me to consider some new ideas if you have them.

So - over to you. What helps you to pray?


  1. Music definitely helps me. It helps keep my mind from wandering. I also like standing up (instead of sitting) and pacing the room while I pray. It gives me a greater sense of participation in the prayer.

    1. I wonder what sort of music helps you best 'Anonymous'? With or without singing? Listening to music or making the music yourself? I like the idea of standing up to pray. I think it says something about giving full attention, being alert to the task. When I pace about a room though, it's usually only if I'm feeling anxious. Thanks for commenting. I appreciate it.

  2. Music and art.... with a particular purpose in mind, that is I need something to still me. I use icons, which helps a little, but what really works for me is Gregorian chant (you tube has a wide selection) which I play very softly, just to the point where it is audible. I begin with obvious, well known prayers like the Lord's Prayer and then gradually get to the point where I am listening rather than doing all the talking. When it goes well, that is.

    1. I think it is important to have a way of first becoming still. I sometimes find basic relaxation techniques helpful for this. I find that music and art often inspires me to pray, but I prefer a good deal of silence. I think I will try your idea of Gregorian chant played softly and getting quieter. I use Common Worship Daily Prayer for a framework as this includes Bible readings as well as prayer and I can build in as much silence as I have time (or inclination for). I use the live Church of England feed for this, on my smartphone or computer - it saves time as you don't have to look up the readings or particular prayer for the day. However, it doesn't always go well and sometimes it doesn't happen at all. I struggle often. Thanks for commenting - that's encouraging.

  3. Observing nature always helps me get into a mindset of worship and prayer. But I also use the Echo app on my smartphone to keep mindful of prayer requests and to remind me to pray.

    1. I also find observing nature helps me, particularly as inspiration for praise and thanksgiving. I am privileged to live in a beautiful area. On a Christian retreat once we were encouraged one day to find somewhere outside to sit, choose a square yard (imperial measure!) and do nothing except observe this for one hour. Some people might think that would be boring, but it wasn't. It was amazing and certainly led to prayer following. I haven't tried the Echo app but I think anything that jeeps us mindful of prayer requests or remind us to pray is helpful. Thank you for commenting. As a result I have discovered your excellent website with helps for small groups.

  4. I like to use books on prayer.
    Great post.
    I'm from the Problogger challenge group. :)

    1. Thanks for commenting 'Quilting Yai Yai'. Books on prayer have often inspired me too, particularly when they have challenged me to think of prayer in a different way from my usual way. Are you finding the Problogger challenge group helpful? I am. It has certainly stirred me up to get going with my blog again and post more frequently and in different styles. I have also discovered other interesting and helpful blogs. I'm just about to add a comment on one of yours. Thank you for commenting here.

  5. Reading my Bible and being alone at night, winding down from the day. I enjoyed your post Nancy and am also in the Problogger challenge group.

    1. I also find reading the Bible an aid to prayer. Although sometimes what I read seems so challenging that it doesn't sit well with the 'winding down from the day' that you mention. I'm more of a morning person than a night owl so prayer in the evening for me is often no more than offering myself into God's hands before sleeping.

  6. Much as I love music I find it distracts me from prayer, so total silence is a good start. I know I'm lucky to be in St Mary's most days and early in the morning it is usually silent.
    There is also the feeling of centuries of prayer in the stones of the place which supports my feeble attempts.

    1. I also like the feeling that comes from being in a place that is hallowed by centuries of prayer. There are some church buildings that do this for me more than others. I wonder why that is? It is not necessarily because of any particular style of architecture. I have felt it in places where I really dislike the architectural style but there seems to be a prayerful atmosphere even when empty. We are never alone in prayer - there's always the whole communion of saints.

  7. Being outside in nature, even just in my own backyard, helps get me in the mindset for prayer. It quiets my mind and makes me feel closer to God.

    1. I think many people also find that helpful. I particularly find walking alone in a rural area is relaxing and helps me to pray.


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