Because it’s my job, I can’t refuse to pray during worship or when someone in tears pleads for private prayer. Thankfully, I’m required to practice praying out loud.
I’ve found it helpful to read the Psalms, which show me that prayer can be an expression of awe for God and the wonders of the earth, confusion about injustice in the world, cries for help and healing or even anger at God, when God seems to have forgotten to be as present as is promised.
I’ve also found it helpful to memorize some of the beautiful prayers that almost always touch people’s hearts. Words like: “Now I lay me down to sleep,” “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,” “God grant me the serenity” and “Our Father, who art in heaven.” Recently, I’ve enjoyed using hymns and spirituals as prayers and find that they touch my heart in a particularly moving way. Some of my favorites to sing are: “Jesus loves me this I know,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”