How to Pray - Top 5 Types of Prayer for Intentional Spiritual Growth

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How to Pray - Top 5 Types of Prayer for Intentional Spiritual Growth

While there is no one right way to pray, there are specific types of prayer that, when applied, can be helpful in guiding our dialogue with God and ultimately, support intentional spiritual growth...

Tags: how to pray, prayer reuqest, adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, intercession, petition, types of prayer


You may have heard it said that there is no “right” way to pray. This is absolutely true!

However, understanding the types of prayer will help you frame your dialogue with God in more meaningful ways. As such, here is a list and short description of the top 5 prayer types.

Prayer of Adoration

Prayers of adoration are also known as prayers of worship or praise. Just as it appears, these are prayers in which we adore Him, praise Him, and worship Him. We can simply talk to God about His awesomeness, His majesty, His amazing power, and His incredible works. For example, you may find yourself praising God for the beauty and magnificence of an evening sunset over the beach. Or you may find yourself praising God for working in someone’s heart and transforming their life from waywardness.

Many Christian scholars recommend starting your quiet devotional time with prayers of worship.

Prayer of Contrition

Contrition, also known as penitence, is simply asking for forgiveness. This practice has less to do with being down on ourselves for our failures, and much more to do with recognizing our innate, sinful nature. When we routinely reflect on our sinful nature, we automatically put ourselves in a humble posture next to God. We can then count ourselves blessed to even be able to approach our Holy God, and ultimately, deeply grateful for the grace He shows us, continually. The practice of reflecting on our sin also tends to put us mentally in a place where we will work continually against that sin in the future.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Praying to God in appreciation is an important practice. Similar to a parent who gives gifts or opportunities to their children, hearing “Thank You” as an indication of “I don’t really deserve that, but you did it for me anyway”, is honoring to God. While God doesn’t need anything from us, it is a helpful habit to put us in the right mindset to reflect on all the goodness in our lives because our God chooses to provide that goodness.

Prayer of Intercession

Prayers of intercession are those that we pray for others. It is easy to get wrapped up in our own needs during our prayer time. Thus, it is a helpful practice to consciously pray prayers of intercession for others.

There are two blessings that I have noticed come from prayers of intercession. First, you will find yourself thinking about others and truly wanting blessings in their lives. By the simple fact you have prayed for them since the last time you saw them, they are on your mind and you will likely ask them how they are doing in a deeper way. Second, you get more chances to see that God is truly present and working in the details of our lives. When you branch out from only viewing God’s work in your own life, you get the opportunity to see Him working in the stories of all those around you, also.

Prayer of Petition

Prayer of petition may be one of the most popular prayer types. Petition is asking for something. Our God WANTS us to approach Him with our needs. In so doing, we honor Him as our source for our lives and the details in our lives. Speaking for myself, it is very easy to ONLY pray prayers of petition. This is where finding balance with the other prayer types is important! Most would agree that in any healthy relationship, both parties receive AND give.


I hope you found this summary helpful! Please feel free to remember the acronym ACTIP to help you spend your prayer time across all prayer types.

Remember, there is truly no “RIGHT” way to pray. However, praying all of these prayer types will bring you deeper Spiritual growth than paying no attention to them.

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