(This was originally posted on May 21, 2019)
“If I try to pray for people or events without having the word in front of me guiding my prayers, then several negative things happen. One is that I tend to be very repetitive. . . . I just pray the same things all the time. Another negative thing is that my mind tends to wander.” – Don Whitney in Praying the Bible.
I wonder how many of us sympathize with Dr. Whitney? Do your prayers tend to be repetitive? Do you struggle to keep your mind focused? I know that is my experience at times.
Whitney also wonders, “If our prayers bore us, do they also bore God? Does God really need to hear me say these things again?”
Prayer is not intended to be boring or thoughtlessly repetitious. Yet so many of our prayers could be categorized just that way.
Whitney’s solution is to allow the Bible to shape our prayers. We should turn what we read in the Bible into prayers. The Psalms are particularly easy to do this with.
For example, take Psalm 23:1: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want….
That sentence easily translates into a prayer could be something like,
Father, thank you for providing a shepherd for my soul. Thank you that I don’t have to wander aimlessly throughout this life. Your shepherding care is such that I do not have to worry about being in want. Indeed, you are a good God.
So, read a sentence. Pray a sentence. Just like that.
While I would encourage you to read Whitney's’ book (the Kindle version is only $2.99 right now!), the concept is pretty straightforward:
Read the Bible and then pray about what you just read!
What do you do to help keep your prayers from becoming rote or boring?