Good-bye, Stale Prayers

Friday, March 3, 2017
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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.

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About the author:

Judith Welch <>
Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good thought.

    Good guidance Judith.

    What do you think?

    Names such as …….

    Thanks Judith for the devotional.

    Thanks Judith for explaining the way you pray through a Scripture. Blessings.

    Good one Judith!

    I am a simple man and it is hard for me to find the words to pray. I am going to try this way that you suggested. Thank you for it.

    Thanks for sharing this Judith. I also discovered the benefits of praying the scriptures.
    A good one is Colossians 1:9-14

    Good Morning
    Thank you for reminding me through your devotion today how we need to read and pray
    the scriptures and be thankful for the life’s guidance and love the Lord gives us.

    Good morning.
    Thank you for your approach to praying. It was a reframing of approach that is fresh and refreshing. Blessings for you as you continue to share your insights!

    Thank you for your message today! It truly spoke to me and has given me new inspiration for my prayers.

    Thank you for today’s devotional. It struck a chord with me. Thanks.
    (Ontario, Canada)

    Dear Judith Welch,
    Yes, I think you (and I) are on track when we pray a combination of scriptures and spontaneous prayers.
    I love the prayer Jesus taught us to pray: “Our Father in heaven; hallowed be your name….”
    Thanks for writing. Continue.

    Good Morning, Judith,
    Your devotional is the perfect way for me to start the day. I suspect most of us have “stale” prayers, if not daily, at least some of the time. Your suggestion (or that of the radio pastor) is a great one. Thank you!

    Hi Judith,
    Thank you for your devotional today. I know what you are talking about. My personal prayers are prayers of thanksgiving or concerns from the heart, but with public prayers in church and at Bible related functions I catch myself repeating for sure. I’m going to take your advice and try to make some changes.

    Thank you Judith – I will be trying this during Lent

    Thanks for the reminder Judy. I once went on a retreat to learn how to pray the scriptures and like you I tried and stopped. I will now try again and hopefully find the key as you have! I appreciate your sharing!


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