Help Us To Pray

September 22, 2016
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "He Hideth My Soul"1 (Lyrics)

Romans 12:12 – Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer. (NKJV)

As a pastoral care volunteer at the local Long Term Care Centre, I have on several occasions been asked to be with a person nearing death, who was in the "Comfort Room" with family members present. At some point, they would expect me to pray, or I would want to say a prayer. I found that it was very difficult to pray at a time like that. It was hard to know how to be a comfort to those in attendance and to find the right words to pray as a loved one's life was slipping away. In fact, on different occasions, I first spoke a silent prayer, "Lord, help me to pray," before praying out loud. I must say that quite often, the Spirit did move me to speak the very words which fit the occasion.

Public prayer is difficult for a lot of us. Quite often, I find myself falling into repetition, searching for the right words. Perhaps you, too, can relate to my dilemma.

I think that the disciples also had a problem with public prayer. As they listened to Jesus pray, they could tell that He had a personal relationship with His Father in heaven. He would talk to Him about His problems and offer Him thanks. So they asked Jesus to teach them, and He taught them what we have come to know as the Lord's Prayer.

Luke 11:2-4 – So He said to them, "When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." (NKJV)

It is not a lengthy prayer. It is not a fancy prayer, full of awe-inspiring words. It is a simple, humble prayer, a prayer that even a young child is able to understand, learn, and pray by heart.

So when we pray, whether in private or in public, whatever the circumstance, let us remember that we don't have to use a lot of words, or try to impress anyone. We just have to speak from the heart, as the Spirit leads us, and know that our Father in heaven is listening and waiting to respond. As we do so, I think that we shall find that praying, wherever or whenever, will become much less difficult.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we know that You hear our prayers, and we thank You that we can talk to You about our problems and offer our words of thanks. We offer this prayer in Jesus' name. Amen.

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About the author:

Joel Jongkind <>
Meaford, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you Joel.

    Learning to pray.

    Thanks for the good word Joel.

    Like the idea of a silent prayer first, “Lord, help me to pray”.
    Thanks to Joel for all his contributions.

    Precious words, Joel, so true.
    The Lord’s Prayer is fitting at any occasion. We thank him for it.
    Keep writing.

    Hi Joel
    Thank you for your devotional this morning. It is so true what you say.
    Sometimes when words don’t come easily, perhaps that’s a time to be silent and just to be there.

    Thanks for this devotional; it certainly hit home. I remember the first time I had to lead a prayer during the worship service and I stood in uncomfortable silence for what seemed like an eternity. Then the words just started to flow. Like you said, when you ask God for the words, He will give the, to you.
    I’ve been encouraged by many of your offerings. Please keep them coming.

    As an elder, I have sometimes been asked to do public prayer. I have the same problem with repetition you have. Add to that mumbles, stumbles, meaningless words and great hesitation. This is because I have seldom been able to think on my feet. Hence never ask me to do it without at least a day’s notice. Then I have to think about what the congregation needs and what will please God. Then I have to write it out, then edit it, perhaps several times. I envy people like yourself who can extemporize with just the right words. God has indeed blessed you, and may He continue to do so.

    Dear Joel, many thanks for your devotional. I agree it would be very challenging to pray aloud when someone is dying and loved ones are gathered by their bedside. By our own strength it would be impossible to meet all their needs as the one who is breathing their last breaths still has their hearing right up to the end. You are very wise to ask Our Lord for His Spirit to guide your words. Be confident and tell the Lord that yes indeed Your Spirit WILL guide my words of prayer that ALL will receive Your Comfort Lord. Then TRUST the prayer you speak was from Our Lord, even though you will not know why He chose the specific words.
    God I thank you for continuing to bless Joel’s writing of devotionals and also his life in YOU and YOUR work through Joel. Amen.

    Dear Joel,
    I found your devotional very inspirational and helpful. I value greatly the fact that we can pray for others without leaving our homes. I am comfortable being a prayer warrior in the privacy of my home. However, I was always reluctant to pray in public because I knew that many people are able to pray much “better” than I. I have now come to realize that if we allow the spirit to lead us He will give us the words. As a prayer co-ordinator, I have become much more comfortable praying. I still like to have some ideas jotted down as starters. Also I have found praying with others on the phone can be very comforting. I try to determine when that would be helpful and I just pray as the spirit leads. I know prayer always pleases the Lord as He always likes to hear from us. We are instructed in His word to pray without ceasing as the reference you gave indicated.
    Trust these ideas will encourage you, as you encouraged me when I read your devotion early this morning.

    Hello Joel,
    My father’s health deteriorated very rapidly this week. We were with him in the room when he passed away. Afterwards, we had my mother come back to the hospital.
    When she had arrived, my sister-in-law lead us in the Lord’s Prayer. Your devotional resonated with me in terms of the circumstances you described and how we came to prayer after my father passed away. He was a devoted Christian and I know he is now in Heaven. Thank you for your devotionals and helping me through this difficult time.

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