Thursday, February 21, 2008

What Should We Pray?

Prayer is an important aspect of our Christian faith. That's probably why there are hundreds - or thousands! - of books and articles on the subject of prayer. Many of them address the issue of HOW to pray without covering WHAT to pray... what to say when you pray.

As a pastor, it's sad to say that my own prayers bore me at times. My lack of imagination causes me to pray the same things over and over...

"Lord... meet their needs. Draw them to you. Forgive them. Open their eyes. Heal them. Touch them."

While the desire is to see God work - and that's a good thing - there are times when I yearn for more creative, original thoughts when praying.

Here are three things that I've "borrowed" from others whose prayers have touched my heart and reached into my soul. Perhaps they'll help you as much as they've helped me.

• Pray the Scriptures.

There are many beautiful passages in the Scriptures that truly draw our hearts toward God. The Psalms, being poetry and songs, especially seem to invite us to let the words become our own.

Psalm 100 has always been a favorite of mine, perhaps because it was one of the few I memorized as a child. But Psalm 51, Psalm 37 and Psalm 24 have also meant a lot to me in times of need and I have prayed them often.

When looking for other passages, the books of Isaiah, Joshua and John come to mind as offering a number of sample prayers. Then there's the well-known "Prayer of Jabez" (1 Chronicles 4:9-10) and of course, Psalm 23 and the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-12) which are classics.

• Pray a song.

There are many wonderful hymns that are actually prayers. Select your favorites and sing or recite them to the Lord. But don't neglect newer numbers. Many contemporary songs offer amazing, creative approaches for communing with God.

Bob Carlisle, best known for his hit, "Butterfly Kisses," has recorded several songs that I've personally used as prayers many times. His songs "Use Me" and "Chance I Have to Take" from his debut album had more to do with me accepting God's call to full-time ministry than anything else in my life at the time. The lyrics of these two songs became, literally, the cries of my heart. And God heard those cries and called me to full-time service for Him.

Be careful what you pray for.

• Read the prayers of others.

Books of Christian poetry often contain prayers. Or you can visit some wonderful Websites with prayers and poems to help you creatively draw near the Father.

While I'm not a member of the Roman Catholic church, I thoroughly enjoy the idea of praying the Apostles' Creed as many Catholics do. Then there is always the "Serenity Prayer." You can also search Google or Yahoo for websites with "sample prayers" for many other options.

There are many other options for praying, including memorized prayers, silent meditations and simple conversations with God. While prayer doesn't have to contain flowery phrases or uniquely imaginative words, it does help us to put some thought into our prayers so they don't become simply "sounding brass" or "clanging cymbals" in the ears of our Lord.

Article copyright © by Darlene Bishop. All rights reserved worldwide.

Darlene "Dee" Bishop is a writer and creative designer with decades on online experience and the owner of Bishop's Corner, an online/catalog shop offering hundreds of quality gifts, home decor items, toys, housewares, furniture and more with nearly 1,000 products under $20. Visit her today at


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