Spoiler Alert: There's no wrong way to pray.
If your heart is open and you are willing to engage in adoration, thanksgiving, and petition (or all three!) The specific words you use or actions you undertake to communicate with God are secondary to your openness and surrender to your creator.
But for many, especially those new to prayer or those exploring a more prosperous prayer life, it can be comforting to have guidelines on how to pray effectively.
It doesn't have to be a full hour, but even 10 minutes of dedicated time in prayer can be life-changing. So consider asking God to help wake you up 10 minutes before your alarm goes off in the morning so you can start your day in prayer. Or perhaps if you have little ones at home, use 10min of time before they wake up.
Finding time to be quiet in your day with God can be the first step to effective prayer.
Jesus gave us the ultimate guide when he shared the Lord's prayer. The reason why this is a perfect guide is that it covers all areas for which Jesus says we ought to pray:
Following the perfect example of Jesus is an easy thing to do.
"Our Father in Heaven" Relationship: God is our father, and we begin our prayer by claiming our place as a child of God and an heir of heaven.
"Hallowed be your name" - Worship: Glorify the name of God.
"Your kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven" - Surrender: We give God our lives and surrender our will to Him.
"Give us this day our daily bread" - Provision: We ask God to meet our daily needs.
"Forgive us our sins, and we forgive those who sin against us" - Confession: we ask for forgiveness of our sins.
"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" - Protection: We ask that God shelter us from the tests of the devil and remove us from the path of evil.
For those that are just starting or beginning to explore prayer, The Lord's Prayer is the perfect place to start.
Begin your prayer time in a quiet space where you can quiet your mind and open your heart to God. Then, recite the words of the prayer while paying particular attention to the meaning and importance of each line. Remember, prayer isn't simply about saying the right words at the right time, but in the opening of your heart to honor God, meditate on the meanings of the verse, and, most importantly, invite God into your heart to speak to you during your dedicated time of prayer.
After you feel comfortable, use the framework above, the one modeled in The Lord's Prayer, and create your verse to communicate Relationship, Worship, Surrender, Provision, Confession, and Protection in your conversation with God.
Still unsure if you are being effective with your prayer?
The good news is that if you don't feel comfortable articulating your own prayer, several guides can help you.
Frameworks help quiet your mind and open your heart, so you don't have to worry about how to have a conversation with your creator.
Keeping a time where you can be focused in prayer every day is not unlike working out the muscles in your body; whether in the gym or prayer helps one grow stronger in their efforts.
All you have to do is START. First, find a quiet time where you can be focused on your conversation with God. Next, use the guidelines of prayer that Jesus taught us when he showed us how to pray. Finally, remember that effective prayer is not a "one and done" thing. Continue to strengthen each day by dedicating time and intentionality to growing your relationship with God.