How to Pray the UNcomplicated Way

God can’t wait to have a relationship with us…prayer is the starting point for that relationship. Connecting with our Creator through prayer doesn't have to be complicated. Here's a simple guide for anyone who's struggled with knowing how to pray. | Prayer Guide | Inspiration and Faith | Christian Living | Spiritual Growth

Why do humans complicate things so?

Take babies, for example. They truly are the simplest of creatures.

Eat. Sleep. Poop. REPEAT.

That’s all they do!

Yet I’ll never forget all the “must-have” gadgets cluttering my exceedingly small nursery when my first child arrived.

Boppies, Diaper Pails, Bouncers, 1,286 Onesies, Baby Shoes (why?), a Bumbo Seat…

Not to mention the 15 how-to books lining the shelf right next to the glider. You know, so I could get some light reading in during my middle of the night feedings?

Haha…

Yes, we humans like to complicate things.

I think we do it because we’re scared.

We don’t want to fail.

So we surround ourselves with lots of things that make us feel prepared.

But a decade of parenting has taught me that there’s simply no way to prepare for it.

Parenting is a lot like swimming.

You can read lots of books about swimming. Buy all the best swimming gear. Watch every how-to video you can get your hands on.

But you’re never going to learn how to swim until you jump in the water.

The same could be said about prayer.

The only way to learn how to pray is to jump in and practice until you discover what it takes to keep you head above water.

God can’t wait to have a relationship with us…prayer is the starting point for that relationship. Connecting with our Creator through prayer doesn't have to be complicated. Here's a simple guide for anyone who's struggled with knowing how to pray. | Prayer Guide | Inspiration and Faith | Christian Living | Spiritual Growth

Why do we complicate prayer?

I can’t answer for anyone else, but I often complicate things when I am scared or insecure.

Another example.

I am terrified of my children’s teachers. I cannot explain it, really. They truly are the sweetest people. But it’s always been this way.

It’s almost as if I’m waiting for them to tell me how big of a failure I am as a mom.

Or maybe it’s because I am terrified they are going to pull me aside and tell me that my kid said the f-word at recess.

Can we pause for a moment here? Because I’ve got a confession to make.

My kid totally said the f-word at recess a few weeks ago.

{{I’ve never even said that word before!}}

Low and behold, her teacher pulls me aside after school and informs me of the “incident.”

I’m mortified.

All my worst nightmares collide and it’s confirmed—Sarah Koontz is the worst parent ever.

Do you want to know how I responded?

I laughed. Out loud. This nervous, awkward, squeaky laugh.

I mean, how would you react if you found out your 8-year-old girl just tainted the entire 2nd grade class (at her Christian school) with her fowl language?

After a little investigating, I discovered she was tricked into saying it by one of her classmates (who spelled it backwards then told her not to say it out-loud).

She fell for it, hook, line, and sinker!

Baby girl was devastated.

And I was just so happy that it wasn’t my fault. Does that make me a bad mom too?

Anyway, back to our topic of prayer.

If I get nervous about talking to my kid’s teacher—how do you think I’m going to feel about talking to the Creator of the universe?

I’m going to over-complicate it, stress out about it, and then do everything in my power to AVOID it.

Because I hate feeling exposed, unprepared, vulnerable.

I may not have it all together, but I sure like pretending I have it all together!

In the same way that I fear the worst with my kid’s teachers, I’m scared to open up lines of communication with God because I’m just sure it will expose all my shortcomings.

Has fear of failure, or the urge to over-prepare, hindered your prayer life as it has mine?

God can’t wait to have a relationship with us…prayer is the starting point for that relationship. Connecting with our Creator through prayer doesn't have to be complicated. Here's a simple guide for anyone who's struggled with knowing how to pray. | Prayer Guide | Inspiration and Faith | Christian Living | Spiritual Growth
This Article Contains Amazon Affiliate Links. Read my Full Disclosure for more information. I received an advanced copy of “Talking With God” in exchange for my honest review.

How to pray—the UNcomplicated way.

I recently got my hands on a copy of a new book by Adam Weber called, “Talking With God: What to say when you don’t know how to pray.

I know Adam is a pastor, so I prepared myself for a book full of Scripture references, diagrams, and theology.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

This book is unlike any book on prayer I’ve ever read.

It’s humble. Authentic. Appealing. Funny.

And above all, it’s UNcomplicated.

His conversational tone pulled me in and his stories kept me turning the pages.

Adam breaks the book into four sections and fills the pages with real stories and examples from his own life.

By the time I was done reading, I felt so at ease (comfortable even) with the idea of talking with God.

Here are some of my favorite take-aways from each section of the book:

God can’t wait to have a relationship with us…prayer is the starting point for that relationship. Connecting with our Creator through prayer doesn't have to be complicated. Here's a simple guide for anyone who's struggled with knowing how to pray. | Prayer Guide | Inspiration and Faith | Christian Living | Spiritual Growth

The God We Talk With

In this section, Adam shares his personal testimony of how God went from being “the man upstairs” to being something much more tender and approachable—a friend.

The first step in establishing an UNcomplicated prayer life is truly understand who we are talking with!

In Adam’s words, “Not only are we able to talk with God, but he wants to talk with us. Not only are we able to be his friend, but he wants to be ours.”

He goes on to say, “God can’t wait to have a relationship with us…prayer is the starting point for that relationship.”

This fresh perspective totally transformed Adam’s prayer life, and gave him the confidence to pray the prayer of salvation in his teens.

The Way We Pray

I love how Adam starts this section of the book by sharing examples of the way his 4 kids under the age of 10 pray.

They are funny prayers. Endearing.

Help my butt to feel better.
Thank you for mac-n-cheese
Help me not dream about monsters.

“They say what they feel, and they feel what they say. Short. Simple. Honest.”

And that is the way we should pray too!

Prayer is not complicated. It’s simple. It’s just talking with a friend. Sharing your heart with God in the midst of your crazytown life.

If little kids can do it, so can we.

God can’t wait to have a relationship with us…prayer is the starting point for that relationship. Connecting with our Creator through prayer doesn't have to be complicated. Here's a simple guide for anyone who's struggled with knowing how to pray. | Prayer Guide | Inspiration and Faith | Christian Living | Spiritual Growth


How To Pray When…

The purpose of this section is to help us understand that it’s OK to be honest in our prayers. No matter what we are going through, God wants to talk with us.

Adam sums it up so well when he says, “If you struggle to pray, do you know how to yell? Can you scream? Have you ever cried out to God? Shouted at the sky? Shaken your fist in the air? Maybe you’ve been praying for years and didn’t know it.”

He bravely tackles a multitude of real-life situations and shows us how we can pray through them all.

How to pray when we are in the storm.
How to pray when we are stuck in the mud.
How to pray when we need an anchor.

I don’t know about you, but I find such comfort knowing that God hears me when I pray.

Even when I’m mad. Even when I don’t know what to say.

God can’t wait to have a relationship with us…prayer is the starting point for that relationship. Connecting with our Creator through prayer doesn't have to be complicated. Here's a simple guide for anyone who's struggled with knowing how to pray. | Prayer Guide | Inspiration and Faith | Christian Living | Spiritual Growth

A Few Final Words

In the closing chapters, Adam reminds us connecting with our Creator through prayer isn’t complicated.

Moments with God are possible, even in the midst of our hectic lives.

Talking with God shouldn’t be scary, or intimidating, or complicated.

All it takes are a few simple words…

Jesus, I want to know you
Jesus, I want to be with you.
Jesus, I want to talk with you for the rest of my life.
Jesus, I love you.

P.S. Have you ever struggled with knowing how to pray? Let’s chat about it in the comments! And I highly recommend Adam’s book, “Talking With God.” It’s such an easy and enlightening read.

This article has been shared at my favorite Faith & Family Linkups.

Sarah Koontz

About Sarah Koontz

  Sarah Koontz invites Christians of all ages to explore the beauty of God’s design. She is a passionate storyteller who enjoys using illustrations to communicate deep spiritual truths. Sarah lives on 13-acres in South Dakota with her husband, two daughters and a rowdy flock of 30 chickens. She revels in their simple, uncluttered life. Follow Sarah on FacebookInstagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Read Sarah's full Bio Here.

45 thoughts on “How to Pray the UNcomplicated Way

  1. Bwahahaha 😀 Love your daughter’s story, so stinkin’ hilarious! Wonderful THAT GOD brought that book your way, right? Love how that happens….He knew you needed it <3 Sending blessings your way.

  2. Great article! I’m going to have to grab that book! When I hear a child pray, it’s music to my ears. Simple. Sweet. Purely untainted. I can only imagine the music our prayers make to the Father when we return to child-like prayer.

  3. Looks like a great resource, Sarah! I love your transparency and I’m laughing at how painfully true it is that we complicate everything! Even the simplest things in my life can become such an ordeal! But prayer, prayer is meant to be an uncomplicated communication with our Father. Thank you for that reminder today 🙂

  4. This is something the Lord has been impressing on my heart a lot lately too. I’m realizing more and more that prayer doesn’t need to be elaborate — it just needs to be heartfelt. Great post and that book looks great too!

  5. I laughed about your parenting story. ; ) I can relate. This book sounds like one I would love to read. Prayer, for me, feels more natural and less intimidating when it’s more of a running dialogue I have throughout the day with God. When a thought pops into my head, I pray right then, even if it’s only a few words.

    1. I laughed too, once it was all said and done. I was honestly in shock, and my first thought was “it must have been from youtube.” My kids love youtube, and their choices are always innocent, but you’re always just one click away from “less-innocent” content. After talking with the other mom, we discovered that the culprit was likely one of their neighbor boys. I don’t think her little guy knew what he was saying either. Poor sweeties.

      I like praying throughout the day too, just a running conversation.

  6. I just spent the weekend speaking on prayer at a women’s retreat and I will echo your statements that prayer begins with relationship. Simple and honest. Great post Sarah. Visiting from #momentsofhope today 🙂

    1. Oh, what a beautiful topic for a women’s retreat! Knowing who we are talking with is foundational; everything else about our prayer life builds upon the character of God.

  7. I really want to read this book as I have been hindered in my prayer life. For me, I can’t quite put my finger on why but I definitely sense a reluctance to pray which is crazy, right? I know I often feel inadequate when praying aloud with others. I know we’re told to come to God as we are, I have no idea why I struggle – I’m glad I’m not the only one! Thank you so much for sharing and for recommending the book.

    1. I think the “I cant quite put a finger on it” is a fairly normal struggle with people and prayer. Reluctance to pray is something I’ve felt on and off throughout my life, and the only way I’ve been able to work through it is to spend more time doing it. Sort of like practicing swimming. The only way to get better is to get in the water and do it. I think you will really enjoy this book, it’s not overwhelming or intimidating at all. And Adam paints a beautiful picture of prayer for us.

  8. Hi Sarah! This book sounds wonderful. I’m adding it to my list. Thank you! I chuckled at the story of your daughter. How mortifying those experiences can be! You’re a great mom. Keep up the great work! Bless you! Following you at Holly’s today.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Julie. Isn’t it funny how insecure we can get about our parenting? I’m going to save this book for when my girls are in High School. It’s simple and engaging, yet packed with so much truth about prayer. Such a great read for emerging adults!

  9. THANK YOU so much for this post! Adults complicate everything… I love the simplicity of this idea. And your daughter’s story was hilarious… I dread the day I get stopped by the teacher, but I am sure it will happen!

    Cheers,
    Lisa at Dreams and Caffeine

    1. Oh my, the stories my mom tells me about the times she got calls from the school are so painful. I think every kid has to mess up a few times, it’s just part of learning. I threw a rock at a boy’s head when I was her age, boy did I get in trouble for that! Thanks for stopping by. You are right, there is something about Adam’s simple approach to prayer that is so soothing.

  10. Sounds like a great book. And alas my daughter dropped the f-bomb when she was about five years old (now 28). When my husband asked her where she heard that word, her response was clear, “Mom.” I’m not proud of it, but I’ve struggled with serious potty mouth especially under extreme stress. No excuses, but just sayin’. As for prayer, I love praying and was influenced by my prayer warrior grandmother, but I’ve also been a member of a MomsInPrayer.org group for over 20 years, and this ministry taught me to focus my prayers when I would wander all over. Love it! Visiting from God-Sized Dreams.

    1. Oh my goodness! Poor mama. We’ve all got our bad habits to deal with. Mine isn’t language, it’s worse…pride, selfishness, and did I mention selfishness? I’ve never heard of that prayer organization, I’m going to look it up. Sounds great! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Sarah,
    Bless your baby girl’s heart. It happens. I’ll have to look into this book. I don’t have too much trouble talking to the Lord, somedays really getting angry with him lol, but I sure wish I could connect and feel that closeness that some people describe. I just keep going and hope that one day I have that moment where I feel like he and I have connected and I’m feel his presence in my heart and my circumstances.

    1. Oh, Deanna, I am right there with you! I joined a prayer group (totally out of my comfort zone!) a little more than a year ago and all the women in the group are double my age. Praying with them has given me a glimpse into the richness of a vibrant prayer life. Saying a prayer that you would sense God’s presence in your life more and more as you continue to seek him.

      1. Thanks. Pastor and I pray together every Tuesday. I’ve been a believer since I was five and I used to have so much hope and faith. But life was always really hard and one string of heartbreak followed another. By age 11, I spent most of my time asking why God had left me, because I couldn’t see or hear or feel him no matter how much I tried. Even so, prayer is always worth the effort.

        1. How wonderful to establish a habit of prayer! I hear you with the difficulty feeling God or seeing God. I’ve always had to cling to the truth of scripture (and make sure I know the truth of scripture) to help me survive the spiritual droughts and famines. I cling to the hope that God is who He says He is whether I feel it or not.

  12. I too struggle with prayer. I have a hard time communicating with the Lord. I always think I seen to be repeating myself because I just don’t know what to say. I feel he has better things to to than listen to me. I’ll try the book too.

    1. Ginger, I think we’ve all been where you are at one time or another in our prayer journey. That is why I love how Adam starts with explaining who God is (that he is a friend). He wants to talk with us. But we’ve got to really dig deep and work to accept that fact if we want to have freedom and openness in our prayer life. I really think you would enjoy reading this book. It is so practical and encouraging.

    2. Ginger, hang in there. I have some prayers that I have been praying for over 20 years. I feel like a stalker. Accepting the not yet or the flat no’s is difficult too but I just keep hoping he’ll reveal his reasons soon , preferably very soon lol

  13. What a great post, Sarah! I don’t know why it is we adults make things so complicated at times. God hears us when we pray, and when we don’t know what to say, He knows and we can be silent before Him. Or we can breathe a one word prayer or a cry for help or just to express praise to Him. It really is simple, isn’t it? 🙂 I’m so thankful He is patient with us and loves and forgives.

    Blessings to you! I’m your neighbor at #TellHisStory.

  14. We do overcomplicate prayer, don’t we? And as a result, it’s dry, boring and lifeless. I found a wonderful book in the basement called Experiencing God in the Daily Rhythms of Life that really helped. It;s and older book, but wonderfully practical. Changed how I think, just like this one did for you. thanks for sharing. going to look it up on Amazon!

  15. Wonderful post, Sarah. It’s so true that we do complicate prayer. I had seen this book but now want to add it to my list to read. Thank you! And as an aside, I am so grateful that we raise our children by the grace of God. He is so faithful! Blessings!

  16. Oh Sarah! I literally laughed out loud at the story of your precious one! I had the same experience when my oldest daughter was around the same age. She was in 2nd grade to be exact. The only difference was, no one tricked her or persuaded her, oh how I wish that would have been the case. I just ordered the book. I’ve seen it come across my path a few times recently, so I’m pretty sure I need to read it. I’m sorry this comment is late, but I have to use Saturday morning as my “catch up” time.

    1. Oh, it’s so nice to know I’m not the only one. My goodness! Kids keep us on our toes, don’t they? So happy you decided to order the book, such a perfect summer read.

  17. ❤ this! And I love how he used the examples of how his kids pray – those simple, just say whatever is on your heart prayers!

    I’m still in the process of learning this – but prayer really doesn’t have to be complicated!

    1. That was one of my favorite chapters, Alisha. There were lots more examples of how kids pray and they were so stinkin’ precious. I think we are all still learning about prayer, and I think that’s how it is supposed to be. Day-by-day, step-by-step, drawing closer to Jesus.

  18. I do believe that we often times make things more difficult because we feel we have say just the right words.
    When I read in Isaiah 38:1-3 (ESV) In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover.” Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord,
    and said, “Please, O Lord, remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

    The Lord showed me that day that prayer didn’t need to be complicated. Hezekiah was going to die, he wasn’t ready and wanted an extension on life, He asked God to spare His life, and God said Yes!

    I believe when we come to the God recognizing that He wants us to be dependent on Him for everything especially day to day life. It makes it easier to have uncomplicated constant communication with the one that loves us the most.

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