More from Christian Coon

by Upper Room Editorial on Sunday, March 19, 2017

I think one of the reasons I was drawn to today’s topic of whether there’s a “right” way to pray is because I’ve been writing a lot about failure in recent months. I’m one of the co-founders of a new United Methodist Church in Chicago called Urban Village Church. We began worshiping in March 2010 and today we have four campuses throughout the city. I was approached a couple years ago to write a book about the experience of planting this new church. There are a lot of books out there that give recipes for church growth, but I’ve been more interested in how individuals or churches bounce back when things don’t always go as planned. My idea, then, was to write a book about failure as a springboard to ministry health. Failing Boldly: How Falling Down in Ministry Can Be the Start of Rising Up is the fruit of my labors and will be released by Wesleyan Church Planting Resources in early June.

We often say that folks come to us because they’ve been bored or burned by religion in the past, and prayer and reading the Bible are two of the spiritual practices that really intimidate them. Some think they’ll “fail” at praying so they don’t even attempt it. I try to assure them that what God really wants is relationship and what matters most is saying what’s on your heart and mind and then listening to see if something (an image or a word or a phrase) comes to mind. There is often a look of relief when I tell them that even a simple prayer like, “Dear Jesus, Thank you. Amen.” is music to God’s ears.

I try to put up a weekly devotional on my Tumblr page,, and I also email this devotion out and would be happy to add anyone to that email list (email and they can put you in touch with me). In addition, if any of you are interested in receiving daily guided meditation podcasts during Lent, my church has been offering those. You can find them at

- Christian Coon

Pictured above, top to bottom: Christian with his family and their dog while hiking in the Indiana Dunes State Park, Christian in Oxford, England


Comment by Edd of Ocala, FL

Christian, it seems your thoughts are to keep it simple and say what your desires are, because God is listening for us to begin building that relationship with Him. So true. God is Love for All!!!

Posted March 19, 2017 at 04:49AM CDT
Comment by Judy of Yalaha, FL

Great quietly helpful devotional. I see you were in Oxford - Oxford Roundtable Participant? My husband was privileged to be a part of it about 10 years ago. Wonderful experience and I was in awe of the city.

Posted March 19, 2017 at 06:01AM CDT
Comment by Matt

Christian, wonderful prayer advice for any Christian (believer). If He knows the number of hairs on my head then He knows my thoughts & heart, so I just talk to Him about everything or nothing at all (like sitting with a friend quietly). Mom taught me to simply pray, when I need to & don't know what to pray, just pray, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus" ...... PTL

Posted March 19, 2017 at 06:14AM CDT
Comment by James of Fayetteville, GA

Thanks Christian for your candor. I too think it is important to remind those new to the faith that older Christians pray out of their experience and what they have been taught over the years and God understands them too. However it's done, pray expecting an answer. Ask, seek and knock, then listen. We must be persistent in our prayer discipline. Keep prayer as simple as it needs to be to maintain your relationship with God at the level you have attained. Know that The Holy Spirit prays for and with us us in groans to deep for us to understand, but at level that God understands.

Posted March 19, 2017 at 09:09AM CDT
Comment by Bonnie of Wilmington, DE

One of my favorite books on prayer is "Help, Thanks, Wow" by Anne Lamott. I've found those 3 prayers are all I need! She definitely gives readers a unique look being authentic in your prayers!

Posted March 19, 2017 at 09:45AM CDT
Comment by Linawati

Beautiful photo, Christian :)
Thank you for the devotional.
You gave us good teaching for prayer..
Hope your book will be successful.
God bless you.

Posted March 19, 2017 at 08:43PM CDT
Comment by patricia of laurelton, NY

Thank you Christian. Nice pictures.

Posted March 20, 2017 at 08:13AM CDT