Prayer is one of the most powerful tools we’re been given as Christians. It invites the Holy Spirit into our lives and helps us become more like Jesus.
Structured prayer empowers us in prayer so that we don’t get distracted and keeps our focus on the main aspects of the prayer. That’s where the PRAY acronym for prayer comes in. This a simply acronym that can be used to guide your prayer so you can pray powerful prayers.
Although it is a simple way to guide your prayers, it is also a powerful way to make the most of your prayer time. It truly is a perfect guide for praying if you are struggling to get started or if you are new to praying.
Most times, we tend to talk about ourselves and our needs when we pray. The PRAY method of prayer is a model that ensures we pray according to God’s will and his word. Having a structure makes our prayers flow too.
This prayer model is not only great for adults but can be a simple and effective way of teaching kids to pray to God in a way they’ll remember.
How to Use the PRAY Acronym for Prayer
The key to an effective prayer life is making sure that you stay focused during your prayer time and that you also pray specific prayers.
There are many different and creative prayer methods you can use during your time with God each day.
The PRAY acronym is a simple guide that was adopted from the Lord’s Prayer which he taught his disciples in Matthew 6:9-13. This is the basis and foundation of our prayer life and through this method, we use aspects of its structure for our daily prayers to God.
What is the PRAY acronym for prayer? Each letter stands for what we need to do when we pray.
- The P stands for Praise,
- the R is for repent,
- the A is for ask
- the Y is for yield.
Keeping this acronym in our minds during prayer time ensures that we focus on the important aspects of prayer and don’t get distracted when we pray. It’s an easy way to stay on course and a reminder of what’s important when we connect with God.
This method of prayer improves your relationship with God as you learn to pray according to His will. Each section below uses God’s word (verses of scripture) to guide you.
Now let’s take a deep dive into each letter of the acronym P.R.A.Y. and follow the example prayer that is written out through each section
The first step in our prayer routine should always be to give praise to God. Unfortunately, this is the part of prayer that we often forget because we are too busy just asking for things!
“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Matthew 6:9 NIV
This portion of scripture is a great reminder to always start by giving praise and thanksgiving to God!
We start the Lord’s prayer with adoration of God. He is holy, sovereign, and all-powerful. So we take time to give him our praise and adoration.
Thanksgiving and praise should be a way of life. Giving God praise should be something we do without think.
We honor the Lord for what he has done, continues doing, and also for who he is. This keeps the focus on him and we get access to his presence when we praise him.
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4 NIV
Praising God changes your mood and feelings as you focus on the good in your life. Your prayer already becomes a positive one. Ultimately we praise God because He alone is worthy.
R – Repent
“and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” Matthew 6:12 NLT
The next step in praying the PRAY acronym is to repent and ask for God’s forgiveness.
Repentance is admitting our sins and struggles to God and turning away from our sinful nature to a life of obeying his word. The Holy Spirit strengthens us to overcome temptations and sins. It’s our Heavenly Father’s kindness and goodness that lead us to repentance.
“Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” Romans 2:4 NIV
When we humble ourselves in prayer and repent from our sins, we receive the Lord’s favor and grace. God’s forgiveness brings restoration of our relationship with God. Through the confession of sin, we are set free from condemnation, shame, and guilt.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NKJV
God’s mercy is such an amazing and wonderful gift!
“Give us today our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11 NIV
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:13 NIV
The third step of the ACTS prayer method is to submit your asks to God.
This is the part we usually rush to in prayer. When we are asking God, we are bringing our requests and petitions to Him.
There is nothing wrong with asking God to address our own needs. He wants us to ask and He wants us to have the faith that stands firm in knowing He will answer even the biggest of asks.
But submitting a personal request should be done after praise and repentance as it enables us to have a clean heart and be better positioned and connected to the Lord.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 NKJV
As our heavenly father, God wants us to present our needs to him in prayer. You can pray for those close to you, your country, leaders in the church, strength, deliverance, and any other needs you have.
The key thing is when you ask, you must believe that God will answer you in His time and in His way. That is not always easy to accept so pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you trust in God’s timing.
“your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10 NIV
Yielding in prayer is a way to surrender our plans, decisions, and will to God’s way and will. This is not always easy. We think we know what’s best so trusting that God actually knows best can be hard to accept.
When we surrender to God, we show our dependency on Him and acknowledge that he is all-powerful. We yield to God’s presence and his voice and take a minute to pause and hear what he is saying to us before finishing off the prayer.
And, when we yield and give it all over to Him, we are unlocking all of the abundant blessings God has in store for us!
Jesus is a great example of yielding to God’s will when he prayed this prayer just before being arrested, beaten, and crucified on the cross to bring us salvation. God rewards us when we obey him and yield to his will and plan.
“He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Mark 14:35-36 NLT
The next time you are going to sit down and speak to God, try using the P.R.A.Y. acronym to guide you.
The PRAY acronym for prayer is one of the best ways (and most effective) to pray as it is based on the Lord’s model of Prayer. It can be used for both personal and group prayer time.
We grow closer to God and develop a better relationship with him when we use this method because it’s in line with his will.
Having a structure to prayer is a good idea as it stops us from being distracted as our mind wanders or we start focussing only on our needs and requests.
As we, praise and give God thanks, ask for his forgiveness, present our requests to him, and finally surrender to his will, our prayers become very balanced.
Because this acronym is simple and easy to remember we can also teach it to our kids. Overall, this method is a helpful guide that honors God and will help you grow spiritually.
If you are wanting to try out some different prayer models or prayer methods, there are several others besides the PRAY method.
You might find the
Are you looking for some tools and tips to boost your prayer life? If so, be sure to visit our Prayer Resources Library where you’ll find everything you need to become a powerful prayer warrior!
These are all helpful tools to help you to ignite your prayer life and really take it to the next level. If you have a prayer journal, you can use it to track all of your prayers using the different prayer models.
Remember, the best way to get started is to simply get started! Prayer is just a conversation between you and God and doesn’t have to be formal or elaborate. He just wants to hear from you – both the good stuff and the bad stuff. Prayer is a crucial part of spiritual growth and growing closer to the Father.