How long would it take you to learn a foreign language that would allow you to communicate effectively in that country? Even with focused instruction and a few weeks of immersion, an average person with normal responsibilities could do this in maybe 6-8 months at the least.
How much work, how costly, and how long would it take for you to learn a new language of prayer that helps you communicate with God more effectively?
This morning I did just that in 20 minutes. I meditated on King David’s prayer of praise to God in 2 Samuel 22. As I did, I found myself praying more like David—a vast improvement!
Then I was reading a devotional book about prayer, and a section offering an example of praying with thankful heart. The blessings and gifts from God, the character and works of God, the created things and divine opportunities it mentioned took me way beyond my own comprehension—a vast improvement!
Want to improve your prayer life? Add to your own personal prayers from the heart the prayers written by others. Over the course of only a few minutes, as you read and pray them yourself, you will be speaking a new and improved prayer language.
Those with wider experiences, richer imagination, and deeper faith will lead you beyond yourself with their words.
Proverbs 9:9 says, “Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still.” The first and best attribute of wisdom is its humble desire to learn, to grow, to accept instruction.
Search your Bible for prayers spoken by the faithful before us. Tune in attentively when your pastor is leading prayer on Sunday morning and own his words. Find a devotional book or series that offers prayers on a consistent basis (like, well, these CrossWords meditations, prayers always included here, and posted on Facebook @CrossLifePfChurch as memes each day, to share with your friends).
PRAYER: Dear God, teach me to pray. Work in me a humility that seeks instruction and growth in words of prayer offered by others. Thank you for their faith, creativity and expressions of truth that help me communicate more clearly with you. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Martin Luther wrote two short prayers for individuals and families to use in the morning after waking and in the evening before going to sleep. These lovely prayers, taken from Luther’s Small Catechism, can help you begin and end each day with the Lord. Pray them today and this week. What word or phrase in these prayers enriches your prayer life?
LUTHER’S MORNING PRAYER:
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.
LUTHER’S EVENING PRAYER:
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray that You would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.