Looking for quick advice on how to pray to Jesus? I hope this short guide with be useful to you – especially if you’re just beginning in your faith in Christ!
First off, I want to assure all new believers that there isn’t only one proper ‘right’ way to pray to Jesus. Prayer life isn’t meant to be a closed ‘system’. God made each of us unique. Thus, how He sovereignly chooses to relate with us individually can also vary.
However, the Bible does give us several points to aid all believers (new and old) in their prayer life. I’ve summarized a few of these into 5 quick tips for you.
5 Quick Tips on How to Pray to Jesus
1. First off, who do we address our prayers to? Our heavenly Father, or Jesus?
Many new and long-time Christians have raised this question: “Do we pray to Jesus? Or to our heavenly Father?”. That’s a great question!
Based on the Bible, the short answer is: in most cases, we direct our prayers to our heavenly Father (Matthew 6:6), praying in the name of Jesus (John 14:13-14; John 16:23-24; 1 Timothy 2:5) by the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells in us (Ephesians 6:18; Romans 8:26,27).
Indeed, throughout the Bible, you’ll notice most people addressing their prayers to our heavenly Father. This includes the New Testament.
Moreover, Jesus himself instructs us to direct our prayers to the Father.
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”Matthew 6:6
However, this does not mean we can’t give our prayers to Jesus at all.
Directly calling on the powerful name of Jesus isn’t wrong either. In fact, the Bible supports this.
For example, there are times where members of the early Church – including Paul the Apostle and Stephen – speak their prayers to our Lord Jesus Christ (see Acts 7:59; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 12:8; Revelation 22:20).
To put it simply, in general, you should pray to our heavenly Father, as Jesus himself commands.
However, as the Bible also supports, it is good to call upon Jesus in prayer. This makes sense when you remember how Jesus rightly declares “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30). When you seek Jesus, you also seek the Father.
So yes, pray to Jesus or our heavenly Father. Or, if you want to remove all uncertainty, simply address your prayers to God!
Should we pray directly to the Holy Spirit? Opinions vary. Some authors say that because the Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity that makes up God, it is perfectly okay to pray to him. Others say otherwise, claiming there are no clear Biblical examples to suggest we should address our prayers to the Spirit over the Father or Jesus. I’ll leave this discussion for another time, since this post is more centered on how to pray to Jesus / our heavenly Father.
Looking for more devotionals? Check out our growing list of devotional topics here!
2. Pray from your heart.
Here’s a second tip for anyone wondering how to pray to Jesus or our heavenly Father:
Always aim to pray from your heart!
It doesn’t matter if you’re feeling joy or sorrow, seeking help or just wanting to thank God for His unfailing love. Just pray with honesty.
For starters, God isn’t keen on outward ‘religious performances’ that, on the inside, lack sincerity (see Matthew 6:5; Matthew 23).
Instead, He desires for us to freely choose to share our truest hearts with Him.
My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways,Proverbs 23:26
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.Jeremiah 29:13
God already knows who you are inside out – better than yourself (Matthew 6:8; Psalm 139:1-6; 1 Samuel 16:7). He created you, after all!
So, really, don’t waste your prayer time trying to hide your real thoughts and feelings. Instead, just be 100% yourself with Him, warts and all.
In addition, you don’t have to be afraid to talk to Him about your mistakes, your fears, and so on. After all, it is better to first humble our hearts with true confessions, so that He can then show us a better way to live.
Why is honest prayer important? Well, among other things, giving your heart to God indicates your willingness to trust Him completely. By sharing your deepest secrets, joys, worries, desires, etc., you show your faith in Him. You act on your hope to have a real relationship with your Creator (see Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 37:4-5; Matthew 22:37). And, as you long to be close to Him, He desires just as much to be close to you (James 4:8).
3. Listen as you speak.
God wants to hear our prayers! He also wishes for us to boldly approach Him with our heartfelt requests (Philippians 4:6-7).
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.Hebrews 4:16
At the same time, many Christians often treat prayers as a one-way conversation – a time where they exclusively tell God about their wants, wishes, and more.
However, fewer people pause to wait for His response! In other words, they talk to God, but not always with Him. Prayer becomes a monologue.
A great way to overcome this one-way prayer street is to practice ‘listening prayers’.
[A] listening prayer centers around a clear request for God’s guidance … We wait on God in a time of silence, giving the Lord opportunity to speak to us. We focus our time of prayer on intentional, purposeful listening and let God do the talking.Jim Harrison, Faith Word
Moreover, the Bible consistently teaches us the importance of listening to God’s answers (see Psalm 25:4-5, John 8:47, John 10:27-28, Romans 10:17, Proverbs 2:1-5, Revelation 3:20, among many other verses).
In short, aim to balance your prayers with talking and listening. By trying to patiently hear, we surrender our hearts to God to guide us in leading faith-filled lives, according to His will and timing.
Do you want to hear God better? God still speaks to His believers in many ways, including the Bible, Holy Spirit promptings, authenticated visions, and so on. To learn more, I suggest you check out Jack S. Deere’s Surprised by the Voice of God. An informative read!
Feeling stressed? Read our devotional on anxiety.
4. Make time to pray.
Life is full of big commitments that pull us in so many different directions. Work, family, friends, and so on.
As such, it can be really hard to make time to sit down and pray!
However, Jesus himself reminds us to always prioritize our heavenly Father in our lives.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.Matthew 6:33
Other parts of the Bible say the same, asking us to keep praying as we seek God first (see 1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Chronicles 16:11).
In short, God wants us to “be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12).
For us, this means taking the initiative to give time for prayer – not simply pushing it to a ‘low priority’ thing among other everyday tasks.
This discipline can take on different, very pragmatic forms. You don’t have to run off to a cave (unless God asks you to, of course!)
For example, you can try practicing Christian meditation, setting aside a daily or weekly timeslot to sit quietly with God at home. Or, if you’re especially busy on some days, making time to pray in between your tasks to stay connected with Him regularly.
Praying often does not mean abandoning everything / everyone else!
Instead, leading a prayerful life means willingly spending more time in conversation with God, allowing Him to teach us how to live more fulfilling work lives, relationships, and so on – as He wills.
As we pray and read our Bibles more, we also grow to love God more – and learn to love others better in all that we do (John 15:12-13; Matthew 22:36-40).
Put simply, we begin to shine with His light for others to see!
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.Matthew 5:14-16
Check out our devotional on how to be a friend of God!
5. Seek forgiveness for sin.
Even as believers of Christ, we – by our human nature – commit sin.
For example, we might feel prideful towards someone else, lie (even if it’s a ‘small’ one), lust, be selfish, and so on.
That’s why praying for God’s forgiveness is just as important as receiving His grace.
In contrast to false hyper-grace teachings, repentance is a big part of the Bible – both Old and New Testaments.
Or do you presume on the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?Romans 2:4
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
Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.Matthew 3:8
(See also Acts 17:30, Acts 20:21, Mark 6:12, 2 Peter 3:9, Revelation 3:3, among other Bible verses. Also, the Lord’s Prayer involves seeking God’s forgiveness.)
Thus, as we pray regularly, we must let the Holy Spirit bring to light any transgressions we might make, repenting for them.
This keeps us constantly humble to God’s grace and love, never taking it for granted. At the same time, our sincere repentance is also part of our journey in finding true freedom and peace in Christ, not of the world (John 14:27).
Check out our list of favorite Bible verses based on different topics!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these 5 tips on how to pray for beginners. May God bless you! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.