1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (ESV)
While driving to an appointment across town, I was listening to my favourite Christian radio station. The pastor was teaching on the topic of prayer. He caught my attention when he asked the following questions: Are your prayers becoming stale? Do you find yourself praying for the same things in the same words over and over?
If the answer was "Yes", he suggested that we try praying the Scriptures. I wasn't sure that I wanted to listen any more, as that idea had been introduced to me several years before, and after trying it for a week or so, I went back to praying in my own words. Somehow, praying Scripture made me feel that I had lost the intimacy that I feel when talking to God in my own words.
However, the next morning, I decided to give it a try. I did as the pastor had suggested and prayed from the book of Psalms, because, as he said, the whole book of Psalms is a book of praise. I started with Psalm 23 because the words were familiar, and I was comfortable saying them.
After I prayed the first line, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want", I stopped, and in my own words, I praised Jesus for shepherding me through a difficult time. I moved on to the next clauses: "He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul." Then, I thanked Jesus for the necessities of life, especially a home in which to find solace.
With each line of the 23rd Psalm, I found that I could stop and add my own words of praise, thanks, or petition. This was definitely a new way for me to pray. It allowed me to maintain the closeness that I had missed in my previous attempts to pray the Scriptures.
The following morning, I decided to make a long-range plan to pray the Scriptures. Although the topics for praying the Scriptures are endless, I have always been fascinated by the many names given to our Saviour. So, I found a list of His names online with accompanying Scriptures. Now I choose a different name for Jesus each morning and pray the Scriptures attached to the name on the list. I stop and add my own words to maintain the feeling of closeness to God as I pray. What a blessing this has been for me. Now I've said good-bye to stale, repetitive prayers.
If you find that your prayers have become stale and repetitive, perhaps praying the Scriptures would be of help to you, too.
Prayer: Father, we praise You for the beautiful words in the holy Bible, and we thank You for hearing our prayers in whatever words we use when they come from our hearts. In Your Son Jesus' holy name, we pray. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Where Cross The Crowded Ways Of Life" (Lyrics)