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I remember when I was first getting into ministry a mentor of mine told me that the chief responsibility of any minister was first and foremost to teach people how to pray. At the time I thought that was odd. I had always assumed that ministry was more about preaching sermons, organizing worship, meeting with people in need, and studding the Bible.
However, as time has gone on I have realized more and more that there was a lot of truth in that statement. As people learn to pray they are able to encounter God in profoundly personal ways. One who prays does not only know God through the words of the preacher, or the lessons of the teacher, they know God through their own encounters with Him.
Prayer is a central part of the Christian life and helping people to learn how to pray a ministry that all baptized people are called to participate in. In teaching people how to pray we are joining in the ministry of Christ, who taught his disciples to pray bu giving them the "Our Father."
But how DOES one teach others to pray?
There is no single method that works. No two people are alike. My two year old prays quite a bit differently then the High School students I used to teach about prayer, and I pray differently then both. People pray differently at different points in their lives and at different stages of development. Not only that but there are hundreds of methods, and none of them work well with everyone. I know in my own life my prayer methods have changed many many times.
How then are we to teach others to pray?
I don't have the final answer on this one, but I have picked up a few tricks here and there. Here are 10 tips that I have picked up over the years.