There’s no one right way to pray. These prayer guides are meant to prompt your conversation with God, but the most important thing is for you to talk and listen, to look at him and let him look at you. The guides are written in first person so you can make the words your own as you speak to God. Try to fill in the blanks with your own ideas, stories, questions, and whatever else you have to say, and don’t be afraid to sit in silence for a while, listening for answers after you ask a question or request God’s help. God usually speaks quietly, and it takes time to learn how to hear him.

Here’s what we recommend to get ready:

  • Find a quiet place to sit, stand, or kneel, where you’re not likely to be interrupted. Turn off your music and take a minute to calm the chatter in your mind. Take a few deep breaths if it helps.
  • Turn to God and tell Him that you want to talk to Him and that you’re ready to listen. Decide how long you’re going to spend in prayer before you start so you’re not tempted to give up on an important conversation if you get bored or neglect the other things you have to do because you’re comfortable praying.
  • Make the sign of the Cross, calling on the Blessed Trinity and reminding yourself that you’re God’s child. Say a short introductory prayer asking for light and grace. This is the one St. Josemaria taught: “My Lord and my God, I firmly believe that you are here, that you see me, that you hear me. I adore you with profound reverence. I ask your pardon for my sins and grace to make this time of prayer fruitful. My immaculate Mother, St. Joseph, my father and lord, my guardian angel: intercede for me.”

And here’s how you can finish when you reach the end of the guide or the time you’ve set for yourself:

  • Thank God for the time you spent together and ask for help to face the challenges ahead of you. This is the prayer St. Josemaria taught to conclude mental prayer: “I thank you, my God, for the good resolutions, affections, and inspirations you have communicated to me in this meditation. I ask your help to put them into effect. My immaculate Mother, St. Joseph, my father and lord, my guardian angel: intercede for me.”
  • Keep praying every day, and try different resources and ways of praying if the ones you have now don’t seem to help. Let God know that you want to spend time with him by persevering in prayer.
  • The touchstone of true prayer is that it changes us and makes us better, but don’t be discouraged if you’re not able to carry your resolutions out right away or you discover new weaknesses. We grow over time and even our falls can help us be humble and grateful to God. What you should notice is more peace and joy throughout the day, because you’re sure God is with you even when the struggle is difficult.