We know we should pray. We know about many great praying Christians from the past or from our own experience. But we just sit there and wonder if we are doing anything. It is hard and, if we were totally honest, it is boring.
Maybe, it doesn’t need to be this way.
A solution from the Bible
Let’s look at an example of an exciting prayer from the Bible. (Daniel 9
Daniel was an exile in Babylon. He was taken hostage with other upper class Jewish adolescents and trained to work in the Babylonian bureaucracy. He rose to the top of the government. He lived a life of influence. God used him to advise powerful Gentile kings. (Daniel 1-4)
He was called out of retirement through the memory of the queen mother and predicted the fall of Babylon to the Persians. He then served Persian kings. (Daniel 5-6)
He was in his 80s when he realized from his study of the writings of the prophet Jeremiah that the captivity of the Jews was about to end. God had predicted that a man named Cyrus would free the Jews. He had predicted that the Babylonians would be judged. He had predicted that the captivity would last seventy years. All of these signs had occurred and it was time for the Jews to be restored to the Promised Land. (Daniel 9; Jeremiah 25:1-14; Isaiah 44:28; 45:1)
He began by confessing his sin because he did not want personal uncleanness to separate him from God. He then asked God to act according to his promises. He did not ask God to act because people deserve his grace and his mercy. He asked God to act because he is the type of God who acts graciously and mercifully toward undeserving people. (Daniel 9)
Daniel’s prayer was guided by reading and reflection on God’s written word.
A solution to try today
Usually our prayers are lists of requests that we repeat because they are the same concerns and desires we had yesterday and the day before. The list may change and some of the requests are granted but basically it is a list. We are told to boldly make our requests to God but is there something that can be combined with the list to bring greater life to our prayers.
Praying the Bible
Donald S. Whitney’s new book, Praying the Bible, accurately shows us why prayer can be a problem and leads us to a solution. He shows how to link our prayer life to Scripture.
Boredom and sameness in prayer
We pray about the same issues but as we focus on different passages of Scripture each day our perceptions change and we pray differently about the same things.
The psalms are a good place to start. They are inspired prayers that cover the range of human experience and emotion. Whitney has a guide to cover the psalms in a monthly pattern.
Paul’s letters contain prayers that can serve a models and focus our prayers. As we pray with Scripture we will see new life and strength as we seek God’s will in our lives and those we care about.
How often do you find prayer boring or repetitious?
How closely do you link your prayer time and your reading and meditation on the Bible?
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