To be entirely honest, I have never been taught how to pray. I’d imagine I am not alone, many of us are probably learning as we go. We listen to how others pray and begin to model our own prayers after those whom we esteem. While this often works out well for those big, public moments (praying at meal time, praying before a study, or at a conference), it doesn’t always translate into our every day prayer life.
I tried to make my prayer life more substantial, I would pray the Lord’s Prayer. That was how Jesus taught us to pray. I started prayer journaling, and recording times when the Lord answered my prayers. I even tried praying through the Psalms.
Yet is was still a struggle.
The Lord’s Prayer became repetitive routine, easing through the words because I said them so often. It was easy to rush through them, checking off the to-do list item of prayer, during a hurried day.
Prayer journaling quickly turned into a laundry list of all the things that were wrong in my life that I wanted God to fix. The blessings I wanted. I was praying for the same things, day in and day out.
Praying the Psalms was a struggle at times, because of the text. In many of the Psalms there are prayers about the Lord casting down our enemies. I couldn’t pray that God would do harm to my enemies, especially if they were once friends whom I still cared about. While our relationship was torn, I didn’t wish them harm. I wanted reconciliation or at least for the Lord to bless them during times of difficulty.
I was at a loss. I took a chance and ordered a book that was being mentioned on Twitter by several authors that I follow. The book is Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney. Immediately, I knew that this was the book I was looking for. The very first points that Whitney addresses is the feeling that we are praying about the same old things all the time. This was how I felt. The same old prayers, in the same old way, over… and over… and over again.
I decided that I wasn’t going to fly through this book like I normally would. Instead I really wanted to be intentionally slow. Reading just a few pages per day, I was able to really see that my prayer life could be so much more.
In the book, Donald Whitney approaches prayer directly through the scriptures… all of them. Using the scriptures that we are reading to help inspire our prayers each day. Reading and praying. Reading and praying.
If it convicts you, pray about it.
If it motivates you, pray about it.
If it reminds you of a person or situation in your life, pray about it.
The scriptures were opening up my eyes to all of the countless things that I was NOT praying for. I highly recommend this book, it’s going to rewire how you think about prayer.
In a few days, I’m going to write another post on how this book challenged my personal prayer life. So please, pop back over later on this week.