How You Should NOT Pray

How You Should NOT Pray - we will explore three common pitfalls that can hinder our prayers, accompanied by short prayers to help us navigate the right path.

by M. Karshna

Prayer is a powerful tool that helps individuals connect with God and find solace in times of need. It serves as a means of communication with God and offers an opportunity for reflection and guidance. However, as with any practice, it's important to approach prayer with sincerity, humility, and a clear intention. In this article, we will explore three common pitfalls that can hinder our prayers, accompanied by short prayers to help us navigate the right path. Let us embark on this journey of self-discovery and learn how you should NOT pray.

Lets Pray

Dear Lord, guide us as we seek to deepen our understanding of prayer. Grant us the wisdom to recognize our shortcomings and the strength to overcome them. May our hearts be open, and our intentions pure as we embark on this journey. Amen.

How You Should NOT Pray

Pitfall 1: Mechanical Recitation

  • Praying without true engagement and reciting words like a script can create a sense of detachment and insincerity. God wants us to come to Him with all of our emotions, passions, and requests; this is how we build a relationship with Him.
  • Prayer should be a heartfelt conversation, allowing us to express our deepest emotions, hopes, and fears. God wants us to come to Him like this!
  • Let us strive to bring authenticity and genuine emotion to our prayers, cultivating a deep connection with God. 
  • Matthew 6:7-8: “‘And when you pray, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. So do not be like them [praying as they do]; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him’” (AMP).

Gracious Creator, help us break free from the shackles of mechanical recitation. Infuse our prayers with heartfelt passion and genuine emotion, so they may reach your divine presence. Amen.

Pitfall 2: Selfish Desires

  • Praying solely for personal gain and desires can limit our spiritual growth and hinder our connection with God. Selfishness and greed are two of the most dangerous sins, and when  our prayers are focused with those sins, we simply cannot connect with God.
  • Prayer is an opportunity to seek guidance, strength, and the will to align our desires with the greater good and with God.
  • Let us approach prayer with humility, acknowledging that our desires should be balanced with selflessness and an understanding of the universal plan that God has.
  • Matthew 6:5: “‘Also, when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to pray [publicly] standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets so that they may be seen by men. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, they [already] have their reward in full’” (AMP).

Dear Lord, teach us to let go of our selfish desires in prayer. Grant us the wisdom to align our will with yours, that our intentions may reflect the harmony of the greater good. Amen.

Pitfall 3: Lack of Patience and Gratitude

  • Impatience and a lack of gratitude can lead to frustration and disappointment in our prayer practice. God does not always answer right away but that does not mean that He isn’t working for our good; let us not turn bitter about this and fall into ingratitude.
  • Prayer should not be seen as a quick fix or a means to obtain immediate results, but rather a journey of growth and acceptance.
  • Let us cultivate patience, trusting in the divine timing, and express gratitude for the blessings we have received along the way.
  • Matthew 6:6: “‘But when you pray, go into your most private room, close the door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees [what is done] in secret will reward you’” (AMP).

Eternal Provider, instill in us patience and gratitude in our prayerful journey. Help us understand that your timing is perfect and that every step we take brings us closer to our purpose. Amen.

Prayer is a sacred practice that offers solace, guidance, and connection to God. As we navigate the path of prayer, it's essential to avoid certain pitfalls that can hinder our progress. By cultivating genuine emotion, selflessness, patience, and gratitude, we can enhance our spiritual journey and deepen our connection with God as Jesus outlines in Matthew chapter 6. Let us remember that prayer is not about asking for things but about opening our hearts to divine wisdom and aligning our will with the greater good. May we continue to grow and evolve in our prayer practice, drawing closer to the eternal presence of God that surrounds us.


Matthew Karshna is a contributor for A Warrior’s Mission and a partner with the ACCBF. Matthew graduated from the University of Georgia in 2023 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and resides in North Carolina, where he is also a Community Engagement Director for a local martial arts school. “I am proud to produce content for an organization that is focused on the welfare of others!” ~Matthew

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