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Practicing Prayer

Attending to the Presence of God

We are all made uniquely by our Creator, so there is no one-prayer-style-fits-all way to connect with God. Instead, we have abundant permission to be creative in our prayer lives. The hope is that these resources will be a jumping off point, offering practices and language to help expand your frameworks and language around prayer.

The Foundations

Our Image of God

Often, our feelings about prayer can be impacted by our image of God. Is your picture of God aligned with who you know the Creator to truly be? Is it a portrait of a judging presence who you need to impress, or of a God who loves and welcomes you? Be curious about how you portray God in your mind and how that ties into your desire to trust, open your heart, or share your thoughts with God in prayer.

Being Present to God’s Love

Our prayer lives will go through seasons, ebbing and flowing, sometimes quiet and at other times vocal. Prayer as a practice is not about producing or inciting feelings, but about being present to God’s love. Instead of seeing it as an obligation that needs to be checked off our to-do lists, Pastor Michelle Sanchez suggests that, “prayer is an adventure”. It can change and transform us!

For More Help

Prayer is an important part of living out our faith and can help us endure rough times. However, the challenges of mental illness, trauma, and other life situations may also benefit from the help of a counselor or therapist. If you would like to be connected to additional resources, please reach out to Ministry Director Abby Rice at, or browse our curated list of mental health resources.

How Can We Be Praying With You?

If you would like our team to be praying with you, send your prayer requests to You can also let us know if you’d like us to follow-up with you – and the best way to do so.

Learn About & Practice Prayer

Outside Resources

Connect Through Music

Singing or listening to music — Christian or secular — can connect us with language, thoughts, and feelings for which we may not have the words as we pray. What music do you connect with? How might it engage you in prayer?

    • Common Hymnal offers a variety of playlists, including “Praise and Protest” for the Racial Justice movement
    • Elevation Worship produces Latinx arrangements of their worship music, as well as the English versions with which you may already be familiar
    • This recently produced Gospel R&B playlist provides almost an hour of classic hits
    • The (nearly) hour-long Gregorian Chant from Assisi playlist is a recommended medieval mix
    • Highrock’s own Kelly Shea has begun uploading worship music on her YouTube Channel
    • The Tenebrae Choir produces traditional choral arrangements, like Miserere mei, Deus – Allegri

Connect Through Your Imagination or Senses

Visio Divina is the practice of using what we see or experience around us to lead us into prayer and awareness of our Creator. This practice could also be applied to your other senses.

Connecting Through Scripture & Other Written Prayers

Praying God’s Word is an ancient practice of looking to Scripture to facilitate prayer. In Scripture, we see how others have turned to God to lament, rejoice, and give thanks. When we cannot find the words, seeing how others have cried out to God can be a blessing to us.

    • Lectio Divina, a meditative reading practice, could also be described as “praying with a listening heart”.
      • Read or listen to a brief introduction to the practice.
      • Read or listen to a guide that walks you through the three steps.
    • The Moravian Church offers a daily Scripture reading and prayer, accessible via app, daily email, or printed journal.
    • Prayers of lament are a way to express grief, complaint, protest, anger, and despair.
    • Because the Psalms express the full range of human emotion, praying the psalms can be a way to meet you where you are at today.
    • Or you might simply pray the Lord’s Prayer.

Common Prayer, Divine Hours & Liturgy

Much like praying the Scriptures, pre-written prayers can help guide us when we feel at a loss for words.

Community Prayer & Praying with Others

Our God is a three-in-one God, so when we pray, even by ourselves, we are in community. But prayer with other people is also an important part of being in the family of God. When we pray with others it brings unity, hope, and encouragement, and diversifies our own prayers. It allows us to witness how God is active in other lives and stories. Deuteronomy 4:7 says, “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?” When we, as a family of faith, pray together, God comes near.

Community Prayer & Praying with Others


Stories of Prayer in Real Life

Here are some Highrockers' stories about their struggles and pathways for incorporating prayer into their lives. 

  • I have long had trouble truly grasping the fact that God is near, and not in some far off place. But not just simply close to me, like someone standing nearby, but as close as the air I breathe. So to remind me of this truth, I sometimes do the following as I begin to settle into prayer: I imagine myself floating on my back in a pool of water, with the water up to my ears. I imagine the sensation of the water surrounding me on every side. Then I imagine myself slowly sinking down into the water. Up to my eyes, up past my nose, feeling the sensation of the water on my skin at each point. Then after a while, I notice that I am fully submerged, water above and below, left and right. There is nowhere where the water is not. Once I have this sense in my mind, then I focus on God in the same way. And then I begin to pray.

  • I understand prayer as a conversation that I have with God that is vital in order to grow deeper in relationship with one another. However, I have found that I tended to get stuck in the same repeated conversation over and over again until I started to pray with other people regularly. Over ten years ago I began praying every Friday morning with a friend for a total of 30 minutes each time. She would drop by my house and we would say a quick hello and then start in on praying for our children and their schools. As the years passed, I realized that hearing her pray challenged my own thoughts about God and encouraged me to deepen my understanding of God’s character, which deepened my own prayers. I also began to see how God answered very specific prayers over time and I became a witness to God’s faithfulness in my friend’s life and she to mine. Then when one of us lost hope, the other one was able to bring encouragement and cry out to God on our behalf.  My faith in God has grown because of it and now I have four different prayer partners and each one has enriched my own prayer life and drawn me closer to Jesus. It is also through corporate prayer that I am spurred on toward love and good deeds.

    And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24)

  • If I’m honest, there’s a huge gap between what I know to be true about prayer, how much God loves it, how much He listens to us closely, how rich it is, how He responds to us with love and compassion, and how powerfully He works – and how much I avail myself of it. I’m in a weekly women’s prayer group with some Highrock women where we share our burdens and pray for each other. But in my day to day, I find it hard to fit in more than just quick “sent up” prayers, like when I learn of others’ prayer requests or remember that I need to pray for something specific. I rarely see it as an opportunity to have a conversation with God at length, unless I’m in crisis. There’s almost a continual feeling of supplication/desperation when I do pray, versus conversation, listening, and enjoyment of it. And it’s not due to a lack of knowing techniques to connect with God. Perhaps it is that sometimes it can feel one-sided, like I can speak to God but I don’t always know what His response is to me in the moment.

  • In the past year or so, I noticed that I tended to experience waves of frustration/anxiety/unconstructive anger, usually directed at a metaphorical person who was doing something “wrong” in some sort of way. This, I now attribute to the way I got sucked into clickbait news titles, despite knowing full well that the media was profiting off of my anxiety and utilizing my psychology for more clicks/views. As a countermeasure, I’ve begun trying to incorporate acknowledging the presence of God in these very spaces. It’s not easy — technology provides a lot of avenues for distracting from negative emotions: podcasts, videos, emails, social media posts, etc. But by coupling the negative “gut feeling” to the action for “praying,” I am gradually able to remember God specifically in times when it is tempting to give myself to rage or resentment.

    Here’s what generally happens:(1) Read or hear about a headline that reflects the brokenness of the world (this is the easiest step and really doesn’t require effort on my part!) (2) Feel the emotion, and notice it — paying attention to how I feel and why (3) Express the feeling to God: “God, I feel disgusted when hearing about _______” or “God, I feel hopeless after seeing ________” (4) Ask God for His presence, encouragement, and guidance. (5) Wait and listen–Even when not actively praying, I trust that God will provide opportunities to take action.

    One other practice is remembering to acknowledge God as soon as I wake up, even before I get out of bed. Something along the lines of: “Lord, may this be yet another day to remember!” or “Thank you, God, for making this day.”

Reflections on Prayer

  • “Prayer is like love. Words pour at first. Then we are more silent and can communicate in monosyllables. In difficulties a gesture is enough, a word, or nothing at all—love is enough. Thus the time comes when words are superfluous. . . . The soul converses with God with a single loving glance, although this may often be accompanied by dryness and suffering.” – Carlo Carretto

    “The whole reason why we pray is to be united into the vision and contemplation of God to whom we pray.” – Julian of Norwich

    “Prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God.” -Teresa of Avila

    “Prayer is a surge of the heart, it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.” – St. Therese of Lisieux

    “The experience of having our prayers go cold, as distressing as it is, signals a major transition in the life of prayer and thus in our relationship with God. It signals an invitation to deeper levels of intimacy that will move us beyond communication, which primarily involves words and concepts, into communion, which is primarily beyond words. If there are any words at all, they are reduced to the simplest and most visceral expressions. In Christian tradition, there are several signs that indicate we are transitioning into a new phase in the life of prayer: What you are doing isn’t working, no matter how much effort you put into it. You find yourself asking, Is this all there is? Your desire for God continues to be strong even though you have no desire for anything external—words, images, previous structures for prayer, including the Scriptures. While these things may still be present to some extent, you are not attracted to them anymore. Words fail. The hunger for intimacy—to just hang out with God—is all there is. You find yourself enjoying being alone, aware of God’s presence without structured activity. In the deepest part of your being, you know that God alone can satisfy the longings of the human heart, and other things fade in importance. There is no attraction to thought, meditation, or any other human activity or achievement. This last condition is most important, for it justifies the other two and indicates a readiness to leave words behind and remain with God alone in an act of love. This transitional place in the life of prayer can be frightening, because it requires us to let go of what we have known in order to open ourselves to something new. It can feel as if we are being ripped from the safety and familiarity of a known space and our roots are dangling in midair. Whereas the old space held us snugly and we felt secure there, now we are being transplanted to a space that is less protected and less structured. We are left feeling vulnerable and unsure, like a tender sapling exposed to the wind and the elements.” – Ruth Haley Barton