Prayer can be a hard thing to do for many of us. You may have had the experience of saying, just or Lord every fourth word in prayer at church, and we have all had times where we did not know what to pray or how to pray during our prayer time. I have heard people say, just have a conversation with God, that’s what prayer is, a conversation. While I agree with the sentiment, I do think the casualness of the statement has actually lead to people experiencing difficulty in prayer. Prayer is supposed to be this easy conversation with God, yet people still don’t have the words.
I have recently been going through a book, Spurgeon on Prayer. It has sermons and transcribed prayers that Charles Spurgeon prayed. The prayers are very moving. I noticed that much of his prayers are just him praying Scripture. He reminds God of promises in His Word. When he prays for wisdom, he prays verses on wisdom, he prays verses on salvation, whatever he is praying for, he has a verse for the request.
For all the questions we have on prayer, for all the times we are looking for keys to having a successful prayer life, I think the Scripture is that key. Take, for example, The Model Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. The disciples had asked Jesus to teach them how to pray and he gave them this prayer. Some churches that pray this prayer every week, and as I have been reading some different things on prayer, I realized Christians have been praying The Model Prayer together for centuries. If we do not know what to pray, what better prayer to pray than this one?
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Pray through each line; speak of the holiness of God, and ask that your heart would line up with God’s will, for daily needs, for forgiveness, and forgive others, ask to be delivered from giving in to temptation, 1 Corinthians 10:13 is a good verse for this. When we use this as a guide, every area of our lives will be covered in prayer.
How do we pray Scriptures? We get acquainted with them. Prayer and Bible reading go hand in hand. The more time we spend in Scripture, the more Scripture will fill our prayers. Two books that are very helpful in prayer are Psalms and Proverbs; if you read five Psalms a day and a Proverb a day, you will read through both books once a month. When you have done that for a year, you will become familiar with them and know which verses to incorporate into your prayers. The Apostle Paul also prayed two prayers in Ephesians 1:17-2:18 and Ephesians 3:14-21. Imagine praying for yourself the very same prayer Paul prayed for the Ephesians. Praying that you will have wisdom and understanding in the knowledge of Him, your prayer life is enriching your Bible reading and your Bible reading is enriching your prayer life.
As I have been reading Charles Spurgeon and R. A. Torrey’s teachings on prayer and have read their prayers, they knew what to pray, they were praying the Word back to its author. They are very different from the spontaneous prayers I grew up around. There is a depth to their prayers, which comes from their use of the Scriptures in prayer. I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Psalms and use The Model Prayer as a guide and even pray it word-for-word, you will be surprised at how meaningful it becomes to you. While we can find ourselves searching for keys to a better prayer life, we have actually held the key in our hands the whole time, the Bible. Let the Scriptures guide you in how to pray. Read older books on prayer that orient your prayer life in the Scripture. Jesus said, in this manner, therefore, pray. Begin praying in that manner and you will see a change and an enrichment come to your prayers.