I have been trying over the past year to learn more and more about prayer. Not just in some intellectual way or in some abstract way, but in a practical way in a way that is touched and enhanced by lived experience. I don’t want prayer to be something I just talk about; I want to know about prayer because I practice it daily in many ways. I want prayer and bible study to be cornerstone spiritual practices in my life. I want to share my findings in hope that may help my reader to have a richer and deeper spiritual life.
You don’t have to be a believer, a follower of God to pray or to understand the value of prayer. You can pray or at the very least have a prayerful attitude. I have heard of agnostics who pray, yet they have no connection or understanding of a personal God. The four prayers that I am about to share with you can be used be each of us and may help us better respond to life.
Prayer of asking
Sometimes we need more of something. Sometimes we feel a deep lack. We ask for peace, love, light, strength, courage, and hope. We ask for a friend, a soul mate, a job, and healing for ourselves and loved ones. Sometime, though I hope not often we ask for things—bicycles, money, or some other object.
O God, Please strengthen my faith in your higher purpose; open my mind to the truth that everything is unfolding according to your plan. Let compassion and love for my brothers and sisters flow from me and may we all be uplifted by your glory. May we go forth loving and serving our brothers and sisters. Amen!
Prayer of gratitude
We should daily offer thanks for the gift and miracle that life is. Anyone can and should see how wondrous and amazing ordinary life is. We don’t need to be big and powerful or mystical and saintly to see how awesome life, daily life truly is. Reasons to be grateful abound, even if it is the hope, our life will be better than it is now.
For each new morning with its light, for rest and shelter of the night, for health and food, for love and friends, for everything Thy goodness sends. Father in heaven, we thank thee.
Prayer of forgiveness
Not a day goes that we don’t stumble or slip that we don’t do something that we need to ask forgiveness for. It can be something small or at times larger, but we can be certain that we are not alone in needing to ask and pray for forgiveness.
God, I recognize that I have not lived my life for You. I have been living for myself and that is wrong. I need You in my life; I want You in my life. I acknowledge the completed work of Your Son Jesus Christ in giving His life for me on the cross, and I long to receive the forgiveness you have made freely available to me through this sacrifice. Come into my life now, Lord. Take up residence in my heart and be my king, my Lord, and my Savior. Amen.
Prayer of joy
Every so often, life compels one to an overflowing, overwhelming response of praise. At times, I have been so engulfed by the love of God that I must stop bow and bend to the enormous joy I feel. At the sight of a sunset, a beautiful girl, a smiling child, a loved one, a line of prose, the kindness of a stranger, the compassion of a friend results in utter exaltation.
O God, You open your hand and lavish good gifts upon us. We give thanks. You create the beauty of the earth and stock it with abundance to sustain life. You give us friends who share the journey of our lives; family who make us laugh with joy and dry our tears of sorrow; strangers who minister to our needs with generous kindness. You knit us into your larger family to encourage us in Your Way. “Thank you” seems insufficient for all your blessings, yet we say it with all we are as an offering of gratitude for our many blessings that we name before you. We praise you for hiding our treasure in Jesus Christ our Lord, whom not even death can destroy. For all your providence with the feast of life that you set before us, we give ourselves to you with all we are in thanks and praise. Amen.
Those are four basic prayers that each of us no matter what our background or personal context and practicing these prayers may not only enhance our personal lives but may make us better to live with and better equipped to handle the good, bad, and ugly in this life. I may write fuller treatments on these prayers. I know I will continue to share my findings on prayer.
Grace and Peace