Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples. Luke 11:1
I note four things from this introductory sentence.
First, many people genuinely want to communicate with God in prayer but really don’t know how to go about it.
Second, we can learn as others model prayer for us to hear.
Third, a more basic question; have you yet learned to pray? Maybe you are stumbling about on the fringes of prayer. You hear others praying but you can hardly put two words together.
Fourth, the big question: are you prepared to give time to learn?
All the prayers quoted here come from the book ‘Great Christian Prayers from two thousand years of Christian Faith’ compiled by Louise and R T Kendall, published in 2000. The book also contains brief biographical notes about each contributor, ranging from John Stott and John Wimber, through Francis Drake (d. 1595), Richard of Chichester (d. 1253) and Francis of Assisi (d. 1296) right back to Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (d. 430)
These are not pious, theoretical or high falutin’ prayers but they express the reality of the life we ourselves experience. Because of their reality I commend them to you, trusting you will find occasions to use them at some time in this coming week.
Don’t be afraid to learn a prayer and then use it! Originality is not necessarily a virtue. The Lord’s Prayer has been used by Christians down the ages.
There has always been a reluctance in our Baptist tradition to use set prayers. Here is small selection of prayers written by other Christians that are well-worth noting. Even if you do not learn them verbatim, note the sentiments expressed and think about using one yourself sometimes.
Heavenly Father, you have told us through your son Jesus Christ that we ought always to pray and not faint; teach me to pray. My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak. Give me grace each day to approach your throne and seek your face; to be concerned as much for your glory as for my own need; and in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving to make requests known to you, until all our lives are gathered up into your presence and every breath is prayer, through Jesus Christ, your son. AMEN
Lord, help me to grow up before I grow old! AMEN
Lord, forgive what I have been, sanctify what I am, and order what I shall be. AMEN
O Lord, support us in patient thankfulness under pain, anxiety or loss, and move us with pity and tenderness for our afflicted neighbours. AMEN