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Hey, God, What’s Up? What to Say When You Pray

When I first became a Christian, I always felt a bit insecure about praying. I mean, what exactly do you say during prayer?

In all honestly, I was a bit envious of all the seasoned prayer warriors who happily stepped up to pray during our serving huddles or those who were always available to pray with individuals on Sunday.

But even when it came to simply having my own conversations with God, I often felt at a complete loss on what to say!

If, like me, you struggle with what to say when you pray, here are some powerful ways to get the conversation started during your prayer time.

woman sitting on couch praying

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How Do You Pray When You Don’t Know What to Say

I always laugh when someone in a movie or TV show decides to pray and they aren't sure how to go about it. Usually, it goes something like “Hey God, What's up? Remember me? I'm not sure how this works, but here goes…”.

To most of us watching, it is quite funny. But to God, it is the beginning of a beautiful conversation.

Prayer is simply a conversation between you and God. It seems simple, right? It should be, but so many Christians really do struggle with this part.

Related: 27 Fasting and Prayer Scriptures for Spiritual Breakthrough

When you don't know what to say during prayer, why not start with Biblical conversation starters? Even in our regular relationships – marriage, kids, friends, etc – we can often use “conversation starters” to get the discussions flowing. So why not just apply that same concept to getting your prayer (conversation) flowing?

Sometimes the hardest part is simply the first couple of sentences. With these prayer conversation starters, you take from ideas and concepts that have already proven powerful (from Scripture) and use them to simply get your own conversation with God started.

Pray the Psalms When You Can’t Think of What to Say

When you can't think of what to say when you pray about something specific, the Book of Psalms is a great place to find conversation-starters! The Book of Psalms has a verse (or more) that speaks to just about any issue or struggle you might be facing. The Psalms, while very personal, never focus on us as individuals, but focus us on God.

Pray Psalm 25:4 for God’s guidance.

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.

Pray Psalm 119:133 to seek God’s will for your life.

Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.

Pray Psalm 70:4 to give praise to God.

But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
    “The Lord is great!”

Pray Psalm 51:10 for spiritual renewal.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Pray Psalm 61:2-3 to feel God’s protection over you.

From the ends of the earth I call to you,
    I call as my heart grows faint;
    lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the foe.

Pray Psalm 19:14 to detour negative thinking.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Pray Psalm 27:1 when you are scared.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

Pray Psalm 34:17-18 when you are sad.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
    he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Pray Psalm 51:1-2 to repent.

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

Pray Psalm 141:4 to ward off temptation.

Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil
    so that I take part in wicked deeds
along with those who are evildoers;
    do not let me eat their delicacies.

Pray the Lord’s Prayer

For anyone raised in the church, the Lord's Prayer is probably something you have memorized.  But this is actually the example Jesus used when He was asked by His disciples on how they should pray. It is a great tool for when you can't think of anything else to say when you are praying to the Father.

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV

Sing a Favorite Hymn

One of my favorite ways to speak to God is by singing to Him! Most of my favorite contemporary Christian songs have verses of Scripture (or a paraphrased version of the verses). Some songs really speak to something that is on my heart and through the words of the song, I can speak to God to say the things that I can't seem to put into my own words.

Pray Over One Word or Phrase

If you have something particular on your heart that you want to speak to God about, simply focus on that one word or phrase. Think of verses of Scripture or maybe even a verse of a song that reflects that word/phrase. Then ask God to simply bring more clarity to you regarding that word.

Just Start the Conversation!

When you aren’t sure of what to say when you pray, the Bible is always the best place to start! Scripture is full of powerful prayers to help you in your conversations with our Heavenly Father.

Prayer isn't something that has to be formal and refined. Just get the conversation started and God will be more than happy to join in!

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