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How To Teach Your Friend To Pray

Most of our friends assume that the purpose of prayer to ask God to “give me my daily bread!”  As we seek to teach our friends to pray, we need to understand the real purpose and meaning of prayer.  So, before you instruct your friend, you should understand what Jesus taught us about prayer.

Secondly, many of our friends are not comfortable praying out loud.  Thus, when we ask them to pray with us or with their spouse, many will have great difficulty doing that.

Finally, we say that “the family that prays together stays together!”  It is impossible to pray together as a family if we are uncomfortable praying out loud.  The following method we have found to be very effective in teaching friends to pray.

  1. Make a habit of regularly ending your time with your friend in prayer.
    • You can do that by asking your friend, “Would you mind if I pray?”
    • Rarely, will a friend decline your offer to pray. We have found even those with no relationship with Christ will accept any “lifeline” offered when they are in crisis.
    • By praying, you are modeling for your friend the meaning and purpose of prayer as Jesus shows us in teaching on the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6 and Luke 11.
  2. When it seems appropriate, ask your friend if he or she would like to pray before you close in prayer.
    • As you ask your friend if they would like to pray, perhaps you could share the story of how Dr. Kenworthy threw up after he was put in a position to pray out loud before he was comfortable praying in front of others.
    • Realizing that praying out loud can be uncomfortable for some, advise your friend they can pass.
  3. If your friend has consistently “passed” when you ask if they would like to pray with you, you could try the following:
    • Ask “if you were to pray today, what might you say?”
    • If they have any difficulty knowing what to say, help jot down some ideas of what they might pray.
    • When they have finished making their list, ask them to read it back to you.
    • When they finish reading say “Amen” and congratulate them for praying out loud!
  4. Repeat the steps defined in step 3 until your friend has become comfortable praying out loud.
  5. At some point in the process of teaching you friend to pray, you should direct them to reading the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6 or Luke 11 so they can see what our Savior says about prayer. You might direct them to the following pdfs containing several of Dr. Kenworthy’s messages on the Lord’s prayer.
    Our Father
    Hallowed Be Thy Name
    Thy Kingdom Come
    Thy Will Be Done
    Give Us Our Daily Bread