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I converted to Christianity about 3 years ago and since then it's a "work in progress". I do pray once a day for a short time. I feel like I'm not devoted enough.

When I was Muslim there were rules for praying; 5 times a day at specific hours and with specific prayers. with Christianity no such rules exist as far as I know.

I want to pray more and I don't know how or what to say, please guide me.

pray for me

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    You're right, there aren't any rules like that. If you want to pray more, you can! Is there a specific difficulty you feel with that?
    – curiousdannii
    May 8, 2023 at 13:50
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    @curiousdannii Yes, It may sound stupid but I don't know what to say when praying! May 8, 2023 at 13:56
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    I suggest you look at the Psalms, of which there are 150, many by David. Many of these psalms are in the form of prayers to God. There is an example of praying times in the bible (Daniel prayed three times a day) but it is voluntary to follow that example. Jesus was often seen to pray, once a great while before day and once he spent all night in prayer to God.
    – Nigel J
    May 8, 2023 at 14:15
  • I'm fairly new to stack exchange, but shouldn't a question like this specify a particular branch of Christianity to ask about, or for an overview of various major Christian denominations, as per the rules described in the FAQ? Otherwise, it's falling prey to the "can't I just say one thing?" temptation. christianity.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3409/… christianity.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1588/…
    – Lige
    May 8, 2023 at 21:00

6 Answers 6

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  1. The Lord's Prayer. Always a good place to start. This is the traditional form, as recorded in the 1662 AD version of the Book of Common Prayer.

        Our Father, 
        which art in heaven, 
        Hallowed be thy Name. 
        Thy Kingdom come. 
        Thy will be done in earth, 
        As it is in heaven. 
        Give us this day our daily bread. 
        And forgive us our trespasses, 
        As we forgive them that trespass against us. 
        And lead us not into temptation, 
        But deliver us from evil. 
        For thine is the kingdom, 
        The power, and the glory, 
        For ever and ever. Amen.
    
  2. The Book of Common Prayer.

    I am not Anglican, but my Baptist church occasionally includes prayers from The Book of Common Prayer. It is a good place to turn for all sorts of prayers, many used for centuries in the church.

  3. ACTS Model. Many new believers are taught this model of prayer.

    • A = Adoration. Tell God how much you love and respect Him.

    • C = Confession. Admit your faults to Him and request forgiveness.

    • T = Thanksgiving. Praise God for the Good he has done for you, your family, your friends, your church.

    • S = Supplication. Petition God for your needs.

    The main idea of ACTS is to become less selfish in praying. That is why you put your needs last in prayer.

  4. Proverbs. There are thirty-one chapters in Proverbs and thirty-one days in the longest months. Some people read from Proverbs every day to gain wisdom. I find that reading a few Proverbs and asking God in prayer to make me into the kind of wise person who can live by those ethics and pursue those noble goals is productive.

  5. Habits. If you make a habit of always praying when certain common things happen around you, it will stimulate frequent prayer. Every time I hear an ambulance or police siren, I pray for the officer, the people they are going to help (or arrest), and the safety of anyone caught up in the middle. When I see a dead animal on the road, I pray for God's mercy upon his creatures. When I go for a walk in my neighborhood, I try to pray silently for every neighbor I pass, every dog walker and their pet, and every car that drives by. Since these things happen so often, I am roused to pray often.

    From a book about a Christian revival, I learned about what to do when you whack your head on a pipe, close a car door on your thumb, cut yourself or do some other painful thing. When such things happen, I have trained myself to always pray, "Lord have mercy". This keeps me from cursing and calls blessing and not damnation or corruption into my life.

    Since you were trained in the habits of Muslim prayer, there is no law saying you cannot continue to pray at the standard five times a day that they respect, substituting different prayers now. You can then harness old habits to pursue new goals.

  6. Christian Music. I have long Spotify playlists with songs (and instrumental pieces) that foster meditation.

  7. Prayer Journal. Some people keep a prayer journal. When a prayer is answered, they write down the day and circumstance. God does not answer "Yes" to all our prayers, but when you see the accumulated results over the years in your journal, it will remind you of God's goodness and faithfulness and spur you to further prayer.

  8. The Jesus Prayer. The Eastern Orthodox Churches teach this simple prayer, which has helped millions:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

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  • Good answers all around. I’d also recommend looking at the Catholic Churches many, many prayers.
    – Luke Hill
    May 8, 2023 at 23:38
  • Indeed. I just added "The Jesus Prayer", which comes from the Eastern Orthodox Church. May 9, 2023 at 15:12
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I suggest you look at the Psalms, of which there are 150, many by David. Many of these psalms are in the form of prayers to God.

There is an example of praying times in the bible (Daniel prayed three times a day) but it is voluntary to follow that example, Daniel 6:10.

Jesus was often seen to pray, once a great while before day, Mark 1:35, and once he spent all night in prayer to God, Luke 6:12.

Jesus instructed his disciples not to make long prayers. (They think they shall be heard for their much speaking, Matthew 6:7.) And he also enjoined upon them not to 'sound a trumpet before you' when going to prayer, but to pray in secret to the Father, Matthew 6:2.

Jesus gave an example of prayer (called 'The Lord's Prayer'). It is very brief and concise and takes less than one minute to repeat it, Matthew 6:9-13.


Psalm 51 (To the Chief Musician : a Psalm of David)

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

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I'm going to give a far simpler and small answer to this question.

There is a big difference between reciting and praying, this makes a little more sense in Spanish (my origin language), but basically, you just need to talk with God.

Accordingly to the Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of pray is:

to speak to a god either privately or in a religious ceremony in order to express love, admiration, or thanks or in order to ask for something

Actually in Luke 18:1 you can read this:

"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;"

We should pray always. You can do this by talking to God at every moment: when you are driving your car, when you wake up, when you are at the table, whenever you can. You should speak with the Lord since we have a relationship with Him, so we should talk to Him, He is your father, He is your friend, He is your God, so with reverence speak to Him, tell Him how's been your day, thank Him for everything He does on your life, praise the Lord for all the good things, and the bad things, sing to him, worship him, and be grateful because He can hear every word you say.

If you feel like you need to do it in a more structured way, you can do it. Just don't fall into the repeating behaviour and do it because you love to talk with God! and go much farther than you would by setting a specific time for it!

Blessings!

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It depends on what church you are in, I think. For the Roman Catholic Church, we have a lot of prayer-forms. Maybe closest to the Muslim prayer is the Divine Office, or the Liturgy of the Hours (Liturgia Horarum). This is a daily set of prayers, on given hours, and with a cycle of Psalms, and other readings/prayers. You can find the details on the Internet, there are good websites where you can join these prayers.

For lay people the Divine Office is a free choice, for the clergy and members of monastic orders, it is a duty. This duty has some differentiations, for monastic orders it depends on the order. And for deacons who have a family and work outside the church, there can be less hours to pray.

Even if you are not Roman Catholic, but are looking for a form of prayer close to what you are used to as a former Moslem, I would recommend looking into the Divine Office.

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I've been Catholic my whole life, but always envied those people who could really rock extemporaneous prayer; but that's probably the least useful method of prayer. If you hear a Christian pray in public, a minister or whoever, they usally use a form. Greeting, supplication and petition.

Greeting:

Hail Mary, full of grace

Supplication:

The Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus

Petition:

Holy Mary, Mother of God pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.


However, in the Christian life there are three main forms of prayer: vocal, meditative and contemplative.

  • Vocal prayer, might be repetitive prayers that you know or learn, from a book or something.

  • Meditative prayer is a conversation in the mind with God prompted by some external stimuli. The Bible is the best input for this but there are alot of other spiritual writers who are good too. It's not using the Bible or the Psalms for prayer, it's meditating on the events contained in there. You may only need to read 2 or 3 sentences (this is Lectio Divina). Alternatively, you may not even need the Bible at all, just recollect a scene from the life of Christ - pictures are good for this.

  • Contemplative is hard to describe. It's God talking to you (whatever form that takes); it's what one strives for in prayer.


As for the five hours in Islam, there are several traditions within Christianity that have "hours". The Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours is a good example of this. There are 7 hours in the Divine Office:

In English (Because the Latin may not be helpful in this context)

  • Office of Readings (early in the morning)
  • Morning Prayer
  • Mid-Morning Prayer
  • Midday Prayer
  • Mid-Afternoon Prayer
  • Evening Prayer
  • Night Prayer

Each prayer hour is directed toward a different aspect in the life of Christ.

Now, this is a pretty Catholic answer, and you may take it with a grain of salt if you're not Catholic, but I think the hours in Islam reflects a common tradition in Judaism that is also picked up in the Catholic Church and should be pretty familiar.

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    The details will differ, but at least some "high church" Protestant denominations have similar liturgies.
    – Matthew
    May 8, 2023 at 19:22
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    If the divine office is too large, the little office of the blessed Virgin Mary is also good.
    – Luke Hill
    May 8, 2023 at 23:39
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As others have noted, Christians are not required to pray at specific times.

However, there is nothing stopping you from praying at specific times.

If you are feeling the need for more structure, a very easy formula to follow is to pray upon waking, before and/or after meals, and before sleeping. Many Christian traditions have specific prayers for these purposes, such as this list of "table" prayers.

If you follow Catholicism, I would expect their catechism to suggest specific prayers, or, as noted, there is the Liturgy of the Hours. Otherwise, I would recommend looking at the catechism(s) for Anglicans, Lutherans, or another "high church" Protestant denomination. Note that the formal liturgies are quite involved and can take about a half hour to complete (and would ideally be done as part of a church body), but there are also shorter prayers that take no more than a minute or so.

Many churches also offer devotional aids such as daily readings and/or daily prayers.

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