Prayer allows us direct communication with God. When we pray, we are basically having a conversation with Him. There is no right or wrong way to pray, nor are there universal phrases or requirements. Prayer is a privilege given by God that allows us to build a relationship with Him.
Worship, on the same token, is revering God. While prayer is a way of speaking with God and giving requests and supplication, worship is a humbling of our spirit to give God glory for what He as done and will do. God deserves praise and desires our praise; just as He loves us, He wants to know that we love Him, and we can do this by worshiping Him.
Both of these are necessities for building our relationship with the Lord, so it is important to understand the concepts and how to pray and worship (James 5:13).
What is Prayer?
Prayer is a form of worshiping God. Our prayer can be a message to Him that we love Him and are thankful for everything He has done for us. Prayer can also a way to ask God about things or for things. This includes asking God for good health for family or friends, courage and resilience in times of stress, and comfort whenever we need His help. God tells us that He gives us what we ask for as long as it is in His name, or within His will. Consider God's promise in John 14:13-14:
13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
Now, this does not mean that we can ask God for ridiculous things. Jesus says here that we can ask for anything in His name, so "that the Father may be glorified in the Son", meaning that He will give us what we ask for if it lines up with what God wants us to have. He grants us these things so that we may glorify His name, not for our human pleasure. But even still, do not be afraid to put requests for the Lord; we're told to tell the Lord what we want by Paul in Philippians 4:6.
Of course, prayer extends beyond just asking God for things. It acts as a way of conversation between yourself and God, in such a way that your relationship with Him and grow. Just as no friendship can truly grow without fellowship, so is it with our relationship with the Lord. Without prayer, we cannot get closer to Him.
What is Worship?
Worship is, in its simplest form, revering God and recognizing all He has done. We worship God because He deserves to be worshiped. When you think about all He has done through His creation and salvation, God is shown to be a very powerful and loving God, and through worship we can show our love and respect to Him. In fact, our existence, our ability to think, even our very ability to worship in the first place comes from Him. Should we not then use those to convey our love to Him?
10Listen, O daughter, Consider and incline your ear; Forget your own people also, and your father’s house; 11So the King will greatly desire your beauty; Because He is your Lord, worship Him.
|~ Psalm 45:10-11||NKJV|
How should I Pray?
Prayer is like having a conversation with God. God wants you to be comfortable with speaking with Him, and inasmuch He can speak back. When you pray to God, you should pray with a revering respect for His glory since He is God. However, you don't need to fret if you think you've made a mistake in your prayer or said something you wish to take back. God knows what is in your heart (Psalm 44:21).
Prayer is not something that needs to be ceremonial. You don't have to bend down on your knees and bow every time you pray. The Bible never mentions putting hands together as a required gesture, though using that symbolism can aid children in distinguishing prayer. In fact, in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we are called to pray continually, or in other words to always be talking with God. God is always there with you and is willing to talk with you at all times.
Below, the Lord's Prayer can be used as a good model for how to pray.
How should I Worship Him?
Anything you do that glorifies God can be considered worship, including the way you live. A few popular, specific ways of worshiping include singing, prayer, reading the Bible, and living like God wants us to. Another way many people worship Him is by going to church. This provides a way for Christians to come together and collectively worship God, while also providing an opportunity for us to learn more about Him and His teachings (Matthew 18:20). The best way to worship Him is by living your life how He wants you to live it, and doing so in His name. This way, others can see the Lord's ways and possibly find salvation. But, it is also important to often take the time to open your heart to the Lord and acknowledge His power, character, and everlasting love.
The Lord's Prayer
As mentioned previously, there is no right or wrong way to pray. If you don't know where to start, you can refer to the "Lord's Prayer", a popular prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13 given to us by Jesus Himself:
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your Name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
This is the most popular universal prayer used today, so here is a line-by-line interpretation of it. Included are some equivalents some people include in their prayer, so if you feel as if you don't know how/what to pray, this is for you:
"Our Father in Heaven,"
|This portion provides a dedication in the prayer, as in, you announce that you are praying to God. Many people begin their prayers with "Dear Lord," or "Heavenly Father,".|
"Hallowed be Your Name."
|This portion is worshiping God and His Name. "Hallowed" means sanctified or consecrated, or more simply put, regarded as holy. This is but one way worship comes up in prayer; many people explicitly thank God for specific instances or aspects that they feel deserve thanks to Him.|
"Your kingdom come,"
|This is another form of worship Matthew and Luke use in the Lord's Prayer. Some people believe this to be an expression of the desire for the end times, when God will be universally honored, while many think that it expresses the willingness of us to accept His Kingdom and His Word.|
"Your will be done, On earth as it is in Heaven."
|This portion is an expression of our yearning for us to do what He wants us to do, so that we may further glorify His name. God's will is enforced exactly as He commands in Heaven, so this is asking for His will to be carried out as thoroughly as possible. In personal prayer, people may sometimes ask in different ways for Him to make them His servant so that they can help carry out God's will.|
"Give us this day our daily bread."
|In this part of the prayer, Matthew and Luke ask Him to fulfill and nourish their bodies daily. While this is an excellent thing to ask for, this is quite symbolic in personal prayer. Not only does it include daily meals, people usually ask for things like courage, comfort, good health, and other things that He may want us to have so that we can better worship Him and be witnesses for Him.|
"And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us."
|Here, Matthew and Luke ask for forgiveness from their sins. God sent Jesus down to earth to die on the cross, so that we would be forgiven, and we should constantly thank Him; continue to realize that we sin, but that we are forgiven. Also included is the asking of our enemies' sins to be forgiven, as He wants us to always forgive our enemies. In fact, the verses immediately after the prayer, Matthew 6:14-15, stresses the importance of forgiving our enemies.|
"And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil."
|This is another plea to God, asking Him to keep us with Him and away from the subjection to negative temptation, be it temptation created from ourselves, from others, or from Satan. While the portion asking for daily bread was more of a request for physical nourishment, some believe that this is a request for spiritual nourishment and protection. This can apply to other verses such as Psalm 23:4.|
"For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen."
|This closing section provides yet more worship in His name. This stresses the importance of our continual worship and thanksgiving toward Him, as He is just that great. This portion is recognizing our need to yield all power and glory to Him. As in most personal prayers, this ends with "Amen," meaning "so be it," or, in Hebrew, "certainly."|
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to pray. Don't let inexperience keep you from connecting with God. It may take some time, but if you let yourself build a relationship with God through prayer, you will find that you trust God enough to put your life in His hands, and in this way, you may find peace in Him. You may even find that He talks back.
6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
|~ Philippians 4:6-7||NKJV|