Prayer is one of those things a new Christian often learns by osmosis. My first attempts at conversing with God would have sounded much like what everyone else in my youth group were praying at the time: trite and clichéd.
It takes a lot of effort for me to break out of this mould. Even today, my prayers often take mental shortcuts and follow a very formulaic pattern: “Dear Heavenly Father… thank you for a, b, c, … I pray that we would have a, b, c, in Jesus’s name, amen.”
One thing I’ve noticed when reading the prayers of Christians from earlier generations is that they’re so rich and full of variety.
I keep reminding myself that the best way to learn how to pray is to do it more. But I’ve also recently found a few resources and tools could help me broaden and improve this spiritual discipline:
- Matthew Henry’s “A Method of Prayer”, free. From the website: “Reading and re-reading through it will train the Christian in the use of biblical truth and language in prayer.” Includes a helpful section on The Lord’s Prayer.
- God’s Prayer Book by Ben Patterson – His big idea is that you can read any passage of Scripture and practise the following: Rejoice, Repent, Request.
- Bryan Chapell’s “Praying Backwards” – he challenges readers to begin their prayers with Jesus’s name, instead of it becoming little more than a cue to open one’s eyes
- The ACTS model – a simple model where you work through Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication.
- Prayer sermon series – I listened through Peter Somervell (my pastor)’s series on prayer and found it helpful and practical.
Any tips from prayer warriors out there? How do you keep your prayers fresh on an ongoing basis?
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thess. 5:16-18