Last year began as a difficult time for me spiritually. Thankfully God was gracious to me and watered the drought of my soul making the later part of 2012 a rich time for me in Jesus. Part of the way God nourished me was through reading the prayers of other men and through new practices of reading my bible and methods of praying the scriptures.
This year as a way of helping myself stay close to God and thoughtful in the gospel I am trying to type out my prayers to God, basing them around my daily scripture reading. Sometime my reading comes out of a devotional, others out of books of prayer and also from our church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan. I’ve not been as consistent as I like ( there is grace for this ) but I have been more consistent than I thought I’d be, If I’m honest. It has helped me tremendously to have a form for my prayers, just like it has to have a plan in my bible reading.
I thought I would share an example of one of my prayers. Most of them follow this pattern, some don’t. Sometimes they are longer, sometimes shorter. I try and allow God’s word to guide my prayers, being attentive to his leading and focused on his praise. Usually my written prayers are followed by additional praying in which there is a little more intersection for others as well as pleading for known needs. (I keep a list and have particular emphasis for each day of the week) I try very hard not to write like I am teaching (or will be sharing it) but from my heart and directed honestly toward God. I hope you find this helpful in your own prayer life. I’d love to hear the ways of praying that have benefited you as well.
God’s Provision: January 22nd, 2013
And Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. Gen 22:8
God, I am reminded today of your provision, in particular your provision of salvation through Jesus your son. Your word says that you tested Abraham’s faithfulness by calling him to a very difficult task, the sacrifice of his own son. I can’t imagine being asked to give up my boy for anyone. It’s easy to read this story and look at you as a demanding, uncaring God who asks the impossible of his people. I confess I have at times found my heart thinking this way; staring at a task and doubting your goodness and power.
As I read through this text again, I find myself wanting to have a faith like Abraham’s. I want a willingness to do anything you ask. I like to think I have been faithful with what you have called me to; taking risks and living trusting in you, but this faith seems a little out of my league. Would you widen my heart and increase my confidence in who you are. I want to be a man overwhelmed by God and your gospel.
I am sure though there was an element of fear and doubt in Abraham as he took Isaac up that mountain. I imagine it was tough to look Isaac in the eyes that day. Something bigger than the situation compelled him. Who you were Father dominated his obedience. For all Abraham’s faults I have noticed in reading Genesis that it says over and over Abraham acted after each time you spoke. I want to be known as a man who followed faithfully after you in all things, a person not just of powerful words, but of persuaded obedience.
Jesus, I think the thing that stands out to me the most this morning as I read though is the gospel. You ask a lot of us, Lord, but you never ask anything you were unwilling to do yourself and you never ask anything of us that you will not provide for us in the midst of. It’s easy to just look at the difficult test, or the strength of Abraham’s resolve and miss the truth of the text, that you are a good God, a gifting Father and a selfless Son.
Father, you gave your only Son as a sacrifice for my sin. I have not been faithful to love you in all things. I have failed most of the tests set before me and yet I am counted righteous because you provided a lamb in my place. Jesus, you did not have to be coerced up the mountain, you willing went to the Cross. Your love for the Father and your perfect obedience is now counted as mine. Lord you provided what I could not do for myself, even though it came at great cost to you. You not only provided a burnt offering, you delighted in doing so. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Spirit, give me faith to walk when I cannot see ahead. Light my way with the gospel, that I might live confident in God’s provision in all things, and certain of my standing before the Father because of the Son.
Lord, let me be like Abraham, walking with his son, and leading other men on this adventure of faith. Grant that you shine through in my steps and make yourself known in my speech to those around me. Spirit, speak gospel comfort to my friends traveling through tests and trails today. Comfort them with the knowledge of your love and the strength of your sovereign hand. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
A book that benefited me greatly over the last year and that I have modeled my prayers after is Everyday Prayers by Scotty Smith. I highly recommend it as a simple place to start if you are looking to learn to pray.