Is there really a ‘proper’ way to pray?

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Abdul Maleque takes part in a Friday afternoon prayer service at the Pacific Community Center for one last noon prayer service before the official start of Ramadan at sunset Aug. 21. This week we ask our In Theory panel on the proper ways, if any, to pray. (Alex Collins/Valley Sun)

Pastor Daniel Henderson, a Christian pastor in Atlanta, believes that many faithful still don’t know how to pray effectively. This week on In Theory, we ask of our panel about the “proper” ways to pray.

Sure, we know of the traditional way of praying by getting down on our knees and clasping our hands, but is that really an effective and the only way to pray.

Here is a sample of what our panel had to say:

Amy Pringle: “Pray effectively? I don’t think there’s such a thing as ineffective prayer, nor do I believe there’s such a thing as “the proper way to pray.” All prayer is good, even laundry list and “foxhole” prayers. But I share the hope that our repertoire for prayer might not end there, that we’ll pray in other ways as well.”

Bryan Griem: Many of us came to faith without any religious oversight, and even after attending various churches, there was no guarantee that we would learn immediately how to do what should be fairly basic stuff. It’s often presumed to be common knowledge, but it’s not.

Skip Lindeman: While I’m sure God is glad to hear from us any time, those are not good reasons to pray. I saw a movie some years ago called “Shadowlands”, starring Anthony Hopkins as the Oxford don C. S. Lewis. In that movie Lewis makes this great statement: “Prayer doesn’t change God; prayer changes me.” I love that assertion because I believe the objective of prayer is to get my mind and heart in synch with God’s will.

Read this week’s edition of the Valley Sun for more responses. And to comment on this week’s In Theory question or to view In Theory archives, visit and post your take.


Written by Michael J. Arvizu

November 4, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Posted in Religion

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