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Leaning into the practice of prayer.



I'm a writer, author, and online educator who loves helping others build intentional lives through the power of habit and meaningful routines.







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I am so honored to have my friend Tory Vore pouring into my readers today. Tory is a force for the Gospel and someone who really walks out all the things she writes about.

Tory Vore is a writer and communicator based in Atlanta where she lives with her husband and (soon to be) two kids. Tory has a passion for sharing the simplicity of the gospel with people of all ages. In her free time, Tory loves to read, cook, and sing too loud to old Broadway musicals. You can read more words from Tory over on her site.

On January 18 of this year, I spent 4 hours in an ER waiting room with a threatened miscarriage. I was barely 10 weeks pregnant and terrified. The worst-case scenario turned out to be the best it could be, and the baby was fine.

Two weeks later, on February 8, my dad, after battling cancer for nearly 2 and a half years, passed away.

You could say that I had a pretty crappy month. Yet, through the grief, pain, and confusion, I was okay. And I attribute that completely to prayer.

When I went to the ER, I was at a work event. I received a text from my team that they were on their knees praying for me and the baby. I sent a text to my closest girlfriends, and my husband to his closest guy friends, and they were praying.

When my Dad passed away, we received hundreds of messages, comments, and letters, letting us know that people were praying for us. For us to be comforted, and feel near to God. We still receive letters from the intercessory ministry at my Dad’s church, telling us that they are in fact, interceding for us.

And you know why I was able to make it through that month? Because I took people at their word. If they said they were praying, I believed them. If they were praying for my comfort or the baby’s safety, I echoed their prayers. Even if my soul was crying out on my behalf in some moments, I was agreeing in faith with them.

Somewhere along the way, I started to take my words of prayer seriously. Not like I was suddenly very somber and serious in the way that I prayed, but I started to believe the things that I was saying to God.

For so long, prayer was this heady concept. This spiritual discipline that I thought I might understand by the time I was later on in life. My understanding of prayer growing up was repeating the apostles’ creed, and occasionally asking God to bless my food before I ate it. I always wanted my “prayer life” to improve, but didn’t take the steps to get there.

In the years since becoming a Jesus follower, I’ve seen my prayer life improve and flow and change, and overall become the very root of my relationship with my Father. I’ve become the person that I always went to, “Hey I know that you pray a lot, would you pray for ____ “ Someone even said, jokingly, that I had a direct line to God. This is flattering, but so much of what I have learned, just even in the past year, about prayer, is still evolving.

But here’s the main thing that I’ve learned: it doesn’t have to feel like a discipline that you one day just have to master. It’s an everyday ever-evolving aspect of communion with the Holy Spirit.

Here are a few more things I’ve learned along the way:

There’s no “right” way.

For years, even in my personal, quiet prayers, I worried that I was saying something wrong. LIke that the Holy Spirit was some too-strict teacher that was judging every piece of syntax and phrase and word. But the reality is, prayer is just another way to connect with a loving and gracious Father. Losing my Dad has taught me this in a big way. Was my earthly father perfect? No. But did he always want to hear from me, and offer me advice, and listen to my fears, and dreams, and hopes. Absolutely. In the gap of his presence over the past several months, I have realized that our perfect Heavenly Father wants all of those things and more. So, I’ve just started talking to Him. Taking to him every fear, celebration, anxiety, thought, and hope. Just, casual conversation. Everything from “God, I am anxious about what traffic will be like this afternoon.” to “God, I don’t know how to help her, but you do, give me the words to say, or the direction to point her in.” This brings me to my next point…

Just be real.

God already knows our every thought, our every move, our every intention, so why do we feel like we have to hide behind some perfect image when we pray? Why do we feel like we have to say all the right things, and not ask for too much, or not be totally honest? When in reality, all is laid bare before him anyway. If there is a safe place to be vulnerable, it’s in the presence of your Father. So be real. I’ve prayed angry prayers. I’ve prayed confused and anxious and scary prayers. I am REAL with God about what I am struggling with, even if I don’t know what I am asking for in return. Or even if I am asking for nothing in return. When you start to take Jesus at His word that when you cast your cares onto Him, He will sustain you, you find that He becomes less of an adjudicating master, and more like a best friend.

The veil was torn so you can be Jesus’ friend.

The Old Testament offers so much to be thankful for by way of Jesus’ atonement. By His sacrifice once and for all, and for “tearing the veil” we no longer have to rely on someone else to speak to God on our behalf. We no longer have to atone for our sin by the slaughter of animals. We have access to the God of the universe. Every moment, we have access to his ear, to be in his presence. We can be friends with Jesus. An idea that was so foreign to the ancestors of our faith. Jesus can and should be someone that you talk with more than you talk to your friends. Some of my most convicting moments have been when I have taken my burdens and concerns to others before I have taken them to Jesus. His Holy Spirit always gently corrects me and reminds me that He is the best friend I’ll ever have. He’s a safe space to land, to process. Not to say that I don’t have incredible friends who help me carry my burdens and are a soft place to fall. Those friends are a gift from Jesus. But he was my friend first and desires to be in a deeper, more intimate relationship with me. That only comes over time and commitment and conversation.

Shut up as much as you report up.

The thought of prayer needing to include silence and listening made me uncomfortable for a long time. In the pace of the world, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to just sit and listen, but that is written into our DNA as followers of Jesus, to be guided by our “helper” the Holy Spirit. To be able to hear what he’s trying to tell us, and follow. Now, do I hear from the Lord in clear, explicit terms every time I pause to listen? No. But has the practice shaped me? Yes. Sometimes His words come in crystal clear answers, sometimes it comes in the form of nudges, and sometimes there is nothing tangible. But by being in rest and selah with the Holy Spirit, and invested in His word, the silence becomes a vital part of our relationship.

Ask for the bold, expect faith on the other side

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was awakened to the idea of bold, specific prayers. The Word tells us to “not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” So, I started presenting my requests to God about my son’s impending birth. Asking for small things like, going into labor at home, not hitting traffic on our way to the hospital, that our nurses would be divinely chosen, that I would heal quickly. I prayed these things in accordance with His will, knowing full well that if my son’s birth had not gone the way that I prayed, then it was not His will. A month before he was born, I felt so clearly that God was telling me my son would be born on the 15th. Felt it so deeply. The 15th came and went and he wasn’t born until 12 days later. Did it alter my faith? No! It increased it all the more because I was presenting my requests and petitions before Him, knowing that His way was better than mine. That has not stopped me from praying and believing for bold, unimaginable things, with the full heart commitment that His will be done.

Prayer isn’t magic, but it changes things.

Prayer isn’t like a vending machine. I don’t pray for something and it comes true. I don’t ask for things and they are dropped out of the chute of heaven into my lap. Does God keep his promises? Absolutely. But more than prayer always changing my circumstances, it changes my response to them. It increases my faith and bends my heart a little closer toward the heart of God. It allows me to commune with my Father, regardless of the outcome. Prayer changes me more than it changes my circumstances. More than anything, prayer is a practical way to wear the armor of God, as protection against the flaming arrows of our enemy. The enemy wants nothing more than for us to NOT pray. To feel distant, neglected, alone. But when we stay connected to the vine, we can bear the fruit to give us a full life, not the empty life that the enemy thinks we deserve.

So where can I start?

  • Just talk to him. Throughout your day, cast your worries and anxieties on him. Thank him for the moments that you witness him come through (this will help you to see them all the more clearly) Ask him your questions, tell him your fears. Prayer does not always have to occur in some secret place or prayer closet, though incredible things happen when we dedicate time to those environments. You can pray in your car, in the shower, on your lunch break, during a phone call, tell him about your day… God knows you intimately, so sharing your life with Him only brings you closer.

  • Practice with other people’s prayers. The Book of Common Prayer is a great place to start if you don’t know how or what to do. The Psalms are God’s own words – speak them back to him. There’s a psalm for every occasion – for hurt and happiness alike.

  • Journal them. I do not write every prayer I ever say. But there is miracle power in seeing God come through in a tangible, recorded way. Journaling also helps me to hear from God. Allowing the silence and listening to flow from my fingers onto the page is an altar of remembrance.

  • Practice it until it becomes a habit. I practice Lectio Divina every day. It has become such a habit that I can feel the emptiness throughout the day if I haven’t had a chance to pray. I use Lectio 365 most days to start my day.

My prayer is that we would stop being afraid of doing it wrong, or feeling like we’re behind, and take a step toward communion. Toward intimacy and the fulfilling discipline, we can create when we commune with our Father, Creator, and Lord. When we lean closer to Him and share our lives, and in turn, he makes them all the richer for it.


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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!


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