Prayer: what is it?


Prayer is at the centre of everything we do and is the way in which we communicate with God; it’s two-way communication.  Prayer can be done out loud or in your head; God will hear both.  It can be as formal or informal as you like.  You can do it alone, as a small group or as part of a larger congregation.  Many of us pray throughout the day as we go about our daily business.  Prayer is as much about listening to God as it is about talking to God – both are fundamentally important to our Christian lives.  If you would like to find out more about different ways of praying, have a look in our Prayer Toolbox.


We have a network of people who pray for requests: send an email to the Church Office if you’d like to be someone who prays or would like to request prayer.  You can also ask for a prayer request to be put into In Touch.


If you would like guidance on daily prayer, have a look at our Benefice Prayer Diary or in our Prayer Toolbox, below.


Prayer Toolbox


There are many different ways of praying and lots of resources to help your prayer life.  Our prayer toolbox contains some suggestions.  Many of these suggestions come via the 24-7 prayer movement, which is ‘an international, interdenominational movement of prayer, mission and justice; a non-stop prayer meeting that has continued for every minute of this century so far, in over half the countries on Earth.’


Prayer Toolbox: Starting to pray


Click the links to access the resources: most links are to 24-7 prayer


Quiet time

Guidance on how to have a quiet time with God.


Becoming more conscious of God

It takes practice to be more aware of God – and so communicate with him – in our daily lives.  Here’s some help with doing this.


Lectio 365

This is an app for your phone which is a daily resource for praying. There are Morning Prayers, Night Prayers and short courses.


Building and keeping a useful prayer list

It’s really useful to have your own prayer list which you keep current and relevant for you.  Here are some ideas on how to do this.


Going on a prayer walk

Walking around our town/village and praying for our communities can be such a good thing to do. 

In addition, you can do a prayer walk around your house to help guide your prayer: Home prayer walk


Praying creatively

Praying doesn’t have to be done in words alone.  A prayer can be an action, or an action can give us the words we’re seeking.  Some people work more by vision or action than by thinking in words.  It can be difficult to think of other ways to pray so this introduction may help you.  Here are some ideas for creative prayer:


Ripples of water

Put some water in a bowl and drop in a stone.  Imagine that you’re the stone and the ripples represent people around you: those ripples close to the stone are those closest to you – your close friends and family; those in the next layer are the work colleagues you see daily or friends and family to whom you’re not so close; these go all the way out to the final ripple which represents everyone in the world who needs our prayers.


Colouring scriptural pictures

As you colour, pray about the scripture you’re colouring: talk to God about what it means to you and listen to what he is saying to you.


Praying your hand

Each finger and thumb gives you pointers for which to pray:



Closest to you

Pray for those closest to us (family and friends)

Index finger

Points the way

Pray for wisdom, guidance and support for those who guide us and point the way: church, schools, people who mentor us, Police, etc.

Second finger

Tallest: leads the way

Pray for wisdom, guidance and support for those who lead us: King Government, local and county councils, etc.

Ring finger

The weakest

Pray that those who are vulnerable will have what they need: children, vulnerable adults, the poor, those who are sick, etc.

Little finger

The smallest

Pray for ourselves and our needs


Paperchain people

Make a paperchain of people.  Write the name of a person for whom you’d like to pray on each one; you could also write a prayer for each one.  Keep your paperchain where you can see it, to remind you to pray




Prayer bracelet

Use a piece of elastic thread and some craft beads.  Each bead you use will represent a person or a situation for which you’d like to pray.  Wear your prayer bracelet to remind you to pray about your chosen people or topics.  When you’re not doing something, you can pray through your bracelet, wherever you are.



Find a picture or pattern to colour: as you colour it, talk to God – and listen! – about what comes into your mind.


Other ways to pray


Click the links to access the resources: all links are to 24-7 prayer resources


Praying the Examen

The Examen is a four-step way of praying using: Replay, Rejoice, Repent, Reboot as a framework for daily prayer


Praying the Lectio Divina

Lection Divina means Divine Word – it’s a way of praying using scripture



This is a way of praying when we feel pain: it’s about bringing our grief to God



Fasting can bring us closer to God through prayer


Prayer journal

Journals can help us keep track of prayers – and their answers!  Some people find it useful to divide their daily prayer book page into quarters:

A = Adoration – praising God for who he is

C = Confession – saying sorry for what we’ve done wrong

T = Thanksgiving – Thanking God

S = Supplication – bringing our needs to God


Silent prayer

This is far more challenging than it first sounds!  Follow the link to see how best to try it


Prayer Toolbox: Praying as a family


Praying with children

There are lots of ideas for how to involve children in prayer.  See our booklet for some suggestions.


Praying as a teen

There are not many teenagers who want to engage in prayer without some structure. See our booklet for some ideas for them.  These ideas can be done by teens on their own or as part of a family time.


Lectio for families

Lectio for families is a free app, available on Android or Apple, which provides a structure for families to pray together.  It is aimed for families with children aged between seven and eleven and lasts for five to ten minutes.  There is a weekly memory verse and daily Bible readings (which you can read or play an audio version), followed by questions to think about and discuss as a family and some ideas for prayer.  There is a simple structure:

              P          Pausing to be still

              R          Rejoicing in and reflecting on God speaking through the scriptures

              A          Asking God for what we need

              Y          Yes: saying, ‘Yes’ to God’s ways

Lectio for families is produced by 24-7 prayer.  Click here for the Android download and here for the Apple download.


Turning parenting into prayer

This is a great resource from 24-7 prayer on how to make prayer part of your parenting life.


Prayer Toolbox: Praying using the Bible


Click the links to access the resources, which are from 24-7 prayer


Praying the Lord’s Prayer

Ideas on how to spend time dwelling on what the Lord’s Prayer actually means.


Praying through the Psalms

There are 150 Psalms and each one helps us to worship God.  The Psalmist experiences - and talks to God about - the emotions which we experience.


Praying the promises of God

Being aware of God’s promises and using them to pray about our needs is a powerful tool in our toolboxes.


Praying the Mercy Prayer

Being aware of our sinfulness and asking for forgiveness is powerful in setting us free from our sin.


Prayer Toolbox: Other ways of praying


Prayer groups


The Benefice has a Prayer Hub.  This meets at Shipham Church on the second Saturday of the month, at 1000 for an hour.  At the Prayer Hub, we sit in a circle and either pray out loud or silently.  There is no pressure on anyone to pray out loud.  There is usually a theme or guidance on what our prayer priorities are, to help you.


Christian Meditation


This group is a contemplative prayer group which uses a format similar to that in the Silent Prayer section, above.  It is based on the teachings of the Desert Fathers from circa 200AD and we use an ancient Christian prayer-word maranatha, 'Come, Lord Jesus'.  This faith based practice is described simply at https://wccm.org/meditate/how-to-meditate/ and, like many forms of prayer, it helps to learn it with others.  The group meets weekly, on Monday afternoons and on Wednesday evenings.  Wednesday evening meetings take place in Axbridge Church or Church Rooms.  See more about the group, on their page, here.


Prayer ministry


The Benefice has a Prayer Chain.  This is a group of people who are contacted by the Co-ordinator via email with urgent prayer requests.  If you would like to be part of this prayer chain or have a request for it, please contact Pam Williams.

We also have a Prayer Diary, which you can get here: this gives us a daily prayer guide across a month, using the following categories: people, local organisations and businesses, Christian concerns, national organisations and businesses, and those who live or work in roads across the benefice. 

Included in In Touch, the Benefice weekly newsletter, are the same prayer categories, along with any current concerns for which we need or want to pray.


Immediately after the service at Shipham at 1000 on the 4th Sunday of the month, there is Prayer for Healing, where members of the congregation can come for prayer around specific needs or situations where healing is needed (not necessarily limited to the health kind!). 


Also at Shipham Church, there is a well-used Prayer Wall where people can post their prayer requests.  Anyone can post a request and it will be included in prayers.


Page updated by HJF 19 January 2024

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