Prayers You Can Use
Many verses in the Bible, the Lord’s Prayer, the Prayer of Jabez, The Benediction, and the Prayer for Peace all provide models of prayers that can be used in our conversations with God.
The Holy Spirit speaks for us in harmony with the infinite purpose and plans of God! He provides constant, continuous, unvarying access and fellowship with Himself, the Creator of the Universe, available to every believer all the time. When you don’t have the words, rely on the Holy Spirit to be praying for you!There are also ways that you can use the words of others to help you as you pray.
Here are some thoughts and ideas:
You can always pray Scripture! Praying the Scriptures directly not only will give you the words you need, it will encourage and bless you as well! Use the Psalms to praise God. Even if you don’t know them well, just open up your Bible to that book. It won’t take you long to find a praise or petition passage. You may find this spiritual discipline so helpful that you will start to use it on a regular basis!
You simply don’t have the right words for God.
You can also use other passages of Scripture in this way. Choose a passage of scripture and insert your own name (or a pronoun) or the name of a family member or friend into the passage in the appropriate places. You can simply do this as you read or write it into your personal notebook or journal.
Here is how this works using Colossians 1:9-13 (from the NIV translation … but you can do this exercise using any translation of the Bible!).
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified youto share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.”
Here is an adaptation of this passage using a friend named Mary:
“For this reason, since the day I heard about Mary, I have not stopped praying for her. I continually ask You, God, to fill Mary with the knowledge of Your will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so the she may live a life worthy of You and please You in every way: bearing fruit in every good work growing the knowledge of You, being strengthened with all power according to Your glorious might so that she may have great endurance and patience, giving joyful thanks to You who has qualified her to share in the inheritance of Your holy people in the kingdom of light. For You, God, have rescued both of us from the dominion of darkness and brought us all into the kingdom of Your Son!
Here is a prayer using the key words and phrases from the same Colossians passage:
“Lord, fill my friend Mary with the knowledge of Your will.
Give her spiritual wisdom and understanding that comes from the Holy Spirit.
Lord, help her live a daily life worthy of You.
Give her a desire to please You in every way.
Make her fruitful in all that she does.
Give her the strength and power that only comes from You.
May she experience the incredible endurance and patience that only comes from You.
Help her understand how to be filled continuously with your Holy Spirit.
Strengthen her with your glorious power—the power that raised Christ from the dead!
Reveal to her that real joy has its source in knowing your incredible love.
I pray she will understand that You rescued her from her life of sin in order to bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.Here are some other verses that you can use in the same way:
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11, NIV)
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13, NIV)
“I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.” (Ephesians 1:16-18, NLT)
Have you ever used the words of the Bible in your prayers? How might this benefit you as you talk to God?
The Lord’s Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer is one of the best loved and most spoken prayers on the planet. It is used in church services, schools, in small groups, and in many individual private times with God. The traditional Lord’s Prayer is based on the King James versions of the Bible of the 1600s. All the versions base the text on Matthew 6:9-11.
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Where have you heard The Lord’s Prayer?
When has it been most meaningful to you?
The Prayer of Jabez
1 Chronicles 4:10 is a remarkable example of a prayer that God answered!
“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.” (NIV)
What were his five requests?
Pastor Bruce Wilkenson wrote a book on this passage that sold millions of copies! It is a prayer you can pray for yourself, asking God to enlarge your “territory”–whatever they may be!
Is there anything about this prayer that seems frightening to you?
Why do you think Bruce Wilkenson’s book was so appealing to so many people?
As you think about God answering your prayer for blessing, how do you feel? Do you think He will really answer you? Why or why not?
In Numbers 6 the Lord instructed Moses to have Aaron and his sons bless the children of Israel with this special prayer. This blessing is also known as “The Benediction.” This prayer is often said at the close of a church service to pronounce a blessing upon the congregation, or in a wedding ceremony to bless the bride and groom. You can use it to bless anyone in your life!
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.
Have you heard this prayer before? Where?
What words in this blessing encourage you?
Prayer for Peace
(by St. Francis of Assisi [1181-1226])
There are many prayers that have been written and passed down. The Prayer for Peace was first used primarily in catholic traditions, but has become widely known. It is a great example of a prayer that you can use word for word as you talk to God.
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
You will be blessed in special ways by using scripture and the words of prayers written and shared by others to communicate with God. Use your own words and enhance your conversation with God with the words of others!
The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson
Choose one of the prayers/scripture passages included in this lesson and pray it for the next week.