The Lord saved me 30 years ago. Prayer has been an important part of my life ever since. Yet, like many Christians, a consistent prayer life has, at times, been elusive. Prayer is easy for some Christians. Prayer is hard for me. To say I’ve tried everything to change that is likely an overstatement. However, safe to say, I’ve tried many different things to improve my prayer life. Something that has truly helped me is “prayer writing.”
What is “Prayer Writing?”
What I refer to as “Prayer Writing” is something about which I have written on a number of occasions. Simply put, “Prayer Writing” is writing out your prayers. Whatever you would say with your lips or think in your mind as you pray, you write down. Allow me to provide you with an example. But first, I need to explain what you should not take from this article.
What You Should NOT Take from This Article
While I believe “Prayer Writing” will help some, maybe many, I cannot offer a guarantee that it will help you. Needless to say, prayer is more than a physical activity; it is primarily a spiritual one. Physical distractions and spiritual issues, namely sin, can and often do interfere with the Christian’s prayer life.
While I will provide some suggestions for writing prayers, this is not a “how to” article. The written prayer you are about to read is only an example of my “Prayer Writing.” It is not submitted as an example of how you should pray.
An Example of Prayer Writing
The following prayer was not written for this article. I purposely chose a written prayer from several days ago. I didn’t want to spend time in prayer with the thought of sharing the prayer with you, the reader. This prayer is reprinted in this article as it appears in my prayer journal.
January 31, 2018
0951 — “The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever” (Psalm 121:5-9).
O great God in highest heaven, how majestic is your name in all the earth. You alone are awesome in all you are and in all you do. There is no other God besides you. You alone are God and you are Triune. Blessed be your most holy name.
Lord Jesus, you are my King. You are the Sovereign. You rule; you reign. You were with the Father in creation. Everything that has and will be made was and is made by you, through you, and for you. You own the cattle on a thousand hills. You own all that you have made.
Holy Spirit of God–no less God than Father or Son. You, the Helper sent from God the Son, have convicted me of sin, righteousness, and judgment. You have led me to all truth. When God gave me my new heart, you entered me. You opened my eyes and ears. You activated the God-given gifts of repentance and faith in my heart and mind. You enabled me to repent and believe the gospel.
O Father, I am saved–not on the basis of anything I have done in righteousness, but by your grace, mercy, and love. Father, you chose me before the foundation of the world. Lord Jesus, you lived a life I cannot live and died the death I deserve to die. You forever defeated sin and death when you rose from the grave. You are my forever Advocate before the Father, and I am now and forever justified, with your righteousness imputed to me–a sinner. Holy Spirit, you breathed new life in me and are my constant intercessor before the Father. You pray for me and on my behalf, with groaning too deep for words. And you testify, you bear witness with my spirit that I am now, and forever shall be, a child of God.
O Lord God, what an unworthy sinner I am! Thank you for such an indescribable gift–the gift of eternal life–by your grace alone, through faith alone, in Your Son Jesus Christ alone. Glory be to God most high! Blessed be your holy name.
Father in heaven, you know my mind and heart perfectly, and infinitely better than I know myself. You know how weak and tainted by sin I am. You know that on my very best day I fall woefully short of your glory. I lack purity in my plans and my motives. You know that no matter how hard I try I love myself and the praises of men far, far too much. Too often, my Lord, I am selfish. Too often, dear Lord, I am not as concerned as I should be of even the possibility, even for a moment, of robbing you of your glory. O Father, please forgive me for all my sin–certainly my sins of commission and omission in this area of my life.
Father, please allow me to glorify you today, by serving you by means and in ways that are most pleasing to you. Father in heaven, O God Most High, I am not and I can never be worthy to serve as one of your ambassadors or one of your heralds. Yet that is what I will set out to do today. If I preach, help me to preach for your glory. If I distribute gospel tracts, help me to do so for your glory. If I engage people in gospel conversations, help me to do so for your glory. Whatever I do in thought or speech, help me to do it for your glory.
Almighty God, please save sinners today, here, in Iowa City. And Father, may I be so bold to ask that you allow me to see you work in the hearts and minds of your elect people. Lord, please allow, please cause someone to ask me, “What must I do to be saved?”
Father in heaven, show me your glory? I know what I am asking and, at the same time, I have no idea what I am asking. Be that as it may, my Lord, please, show me your glory. Whether it is through the work you accomplish today in my own life, or if it is work you accomplish in the lives of others, O Lord, show me your glory.
This is yet another day you have made, Lord. I will be glad and rejoice in it. In order to do so, Father, I ask the Holy Spirit to help me to pray without ceasing; to fill my heart and my mouth with worship; to not lead me into temptation, but rather deliver me from every form of evil, including any evil that may rise up and wage war in my sinful flesh.
You, O Lord, are my keeper. In you alone, I put my trust. You are my protector, my shield. You’re my glory and the lifter of my head. Please, Father, guard my going out and coming in. You are the keeper and guardian of my soul. You are my salvation. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. — 1051
Some Things Helpful to Me
Again, the above prayer was not written for your benefit. It is my personal, written communication to/with the Lord. At the same time, I do hope the above prayer is of benefit to you. I hope you became prayerful as you read it. I hope it encouraged you. I hope you came away from the prayer saying two things: 1) “Amen;” 2) “I can do this.”
Allow me to share some things that are helpful to me when I engage in “Prayer Writing.”
I note the time before I begin “Prayer Writing,” and again when I finish praying. I don’t set out to pray for a certain amount of time. What’s important to me is the content and depth of my prayer, and how closely I commune with God as I pray. However, it is encouraging to me to note the amount of time I spend in prayer.
I always begin my written prayers with a verse or passage of Scripture. Praying Scripture (you may have noticed a number of unspecified references to Scripture throughout my prayer) helps me to stay focused. It gives me direction and it gives me confidence that I am praying according to God’s will.
I highly recommend the book “Praying the Bible,” by Donald S. Whitney, for wonderful teaching regarding the practice of praying Scripture.
I prefer to handwrite my prayers, as opposed to typing them on the computer. Again, it’s a personal preference. Handwriting my prayers helps me to focus and slow down. I also prefer writing in a journal because, unlike my computer, I can take my pen and prayer journal with me anywhere. This allows me to write my prayers whenever a desire to pray comes to my heart and mind.
I don’t concern myself with penmanship, grammar, or spelling. I don’t write my prayers to be read by others. After the Lord takes me home my family will find dozens of journals, an unknown number of notebooks, and countless pieces of paper throughout the house. They will likely read at least some of them. But I’m truly nobody from nowhere. A hundred years from now, should the Lord tarry, no one will be reading my journals or prayers. So, I don’t concern myself with how my written prayers look or read. The Lord knows what I am going to pray, what I am going to write, before I pray or write it.
Other Helpful Resources Regarding Prayer
Two of my favorite books on prayer are:
Recently I listened to a wonderful sermon preached by Nathan Rages. The text for the sermon was John 17.