Have you ever met anyone who says prayer always comes naturally to them? Or have you ever met anyone who says they have always been able to pray consistently and fervently since the moment they became a Christian? Me neither.
I have read a lot about prayer over the past few years and every book starts out the same way: I am far from mastering prayer, but here are some ways that have helped me significantly. Well, this post is my attempt at the same thing.
I know that I am not anywhere near where I need to be in my prayer life, and chances are neither are you. But these three simple methods have helped me to pray more consistently and biblically.
1. Pray the Lord’s Prayer
Isn’t it fascinating that out of all the questions the disciples could have asked Jesus, they asked Him how to pray? The response Jesus gave was not a principle on how to pray, but rather an example prayer, which can be found in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4.
Christians for centuries have used the Lord’s Prayer as a model and a springboard for their prayers. The two simplest ways are to pray the prayer verbatim or to pray it one line at a time, adding commentary between each line. I prefer the second method as it can be used for longer periods of prayer. This method can also be used to pray over others. Here’s an example of just the first two lines of what this might look like for a friend:
Our Father in heaven.
“Father, help my friend to see you as the God of all creation, who resides in the heavens. May he see that You are holy, and there is no one like You. Lord, at the same time, help him to know that You are as close to Him as a Father, and that You love him as Your son.”
Hallowed be your name.
“God, I ask that Your name would be glorified through his life. May he live in such a way that brings honor to You, and not shame. May he reflect the holiness of Christ to a broken world who desperately needs healing.”
Then you continue through the prayer one line at a time until you get to the end.
2. Pray the Psalms.
The second method is very similar and comes from author and teacher Donald Whitney. In his book, Praying the Bible, he explains how to pray through a psalm each day. First, you pick out five psalms by using the following formula:
- The first psalm is today’s date (example: November 1st would be Psalm 1).
- For the second psalm, add 30 to the first psalm (example: Psalm 31).
- For the third, fourth and fifth psalms, continue adding 30 each time (example: Psalm 61, 91, 121).
Now you have your five psalms picked out for today: Psalm 1, 31, 61, 91 and 121. Instead of reading each one, you scan all five. Then you simply choose whichever one connects with you that day. Like the previous method, you read a line in the psalm and then pray a response back to God. Go through each line/phrase of the psalm until you get to the end of it or run out of time.
3. Pray Paul’s Prayers.
The final method is just as simple. In Paul’s epistles, he has scattered several prayers throughout (examples: Ephesians 1:17–19; 3:14–19; Philippians 1:9–11; Colossians 1:9–12; 1 Timothy 6:11–12). Like the previous two methods, many of them can be broken down by section and prayed almost verbatim. For example, you can pray 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 for someone without having to alter a word!
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling
and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,
so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you,
and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
All three of the methods described require only three things: a Bible, a willing heart, and time. I pray that these methods might be the beginning of a fruitful and ravishing prayer life for you. Why not take time to pray right now, and try out one of these methods?