Prayer is essential to sustain the life of a believer. A true follower of Jesus cannot go on a day without uttering a simple prayer of thanks, confession or petition. It is an act by which a believer positions himself or herself to receive not just the Lord’s spiritual empowerment but also His spiritual satisfaction. Someone said that: “Prayer moves the hands that move the world”. While prayer edifies the souls and empowers the will, it also moves the world in ways that believers cannot imagine.
The most familiar prayer that believers practice is the oral prayer or a prayer that is audible. It is not always a public prayer because believers still tend to pray audibly even in their private moments with God. The Bible is filled with audible prayers that are prayed in public and offered unto God. One of the most epic moments in the Bible where a public prayer was uttered can be found in 1 Kings 18:36.
36 And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”
Elijah uttered a public prayer with a strong expectation that God would answer and show his power to the priests of Baal. And God came through for Elijah and consumed the bull and the wood drenched in four jars of water with fire. Public prayers have a place just as private and intimate prayers do.
Praying a meaningful and engaging prayer is not about the words, dynamics, tone or volume of one’s voice. Rather, it is about the condition and position of one’s heart towards God. When a believer’s heart is in good condition, that person will naturally utter meaningful prayers even though he or she uses simple words. Sometimes the most eloquent prayers are empty of power. Now when a believer’s heart is at the right position, that is having the right posture, it will seek to engage itself in the noble act of prayer in an increasing frequency.
Now the question is, how can written prayers be both meaningful and engaging? Do written prayers have a place in faith-building activities? Is it biblical to write one’s prayers?
Written Prayer through Biblical History
Whether you would write your prayers for personal use or journaling or you would use it for public speaking, it is important that your prayers are both meaningful and engaging. Jesus warned people from praying prayers that are filled with words and brimming with time but lack in sincerity of the spirit.
The Biblical history is marked with prayers that have been written and are now the authoritative Word of God. There is no command that enforces Christians to write their prayers, but the fact that the Bible is a written material where you can find written prayers, it shows us that God has designed writing in such a way that it would bring spiritual benefits to the souls of believers.
There are numerous Bible characters that made written prayers and some of them are Abraham, Moses, Solomon and the prophets. The Book of Psalms is actually a written compilation of songs and prayers. It expressed a very wide variety of emotions as the writer wrote prayers of love for God, sorrow in sin, trust in times of fear and confusion and gratitude in all circumstances. These written prayers are offered to God in public worship.
The book of Nehemiah is another evidence that written prayers have a role to play in daily matters of God’s people. This book starts in Nehemiah’s prayer (Nehemiah 1:4-11) and ends in his prayer of remembrance.
How to Write and Pray a Meaningful Prayer?
A truly engaging prayer puts the soul in a condition where it is captivated by a glorious encounter with God. Written prayers serve like a hot iron that deepens the mark of God’s love in a believer’s life. When the act of writing and prayer are combined, God’s truth is pressed tenderly in the heart of a believer.
In our desire to write meaningful and engaging prayers, Jesus also has a warning. In Matthew 6, Jesus gives the instructions on how not to pray. While this is not a direct teaching about written prayers, it is a clear teaching about prayer and is also applicable in writing one’s prayers. It is possible to write long prayers to show off one’s fake spiritual condition. It is possible to write prayers that are filled with prayers but also filled with sinful intentions like pagans.
If a believer would write a prayer, he or she must make sure that they are saturated by the Glory of God, works of God and concerns with the people of God. Written prayers do not have to be lengthy but when the soul cannot get enough of God’s presence and communion, papers are a blessing for the saint as he or she records God’s faithfulness.
Jesus’ Most Engaging Prayers
The Bible does not say whether Jesus wrote prayers or not. What we are told is that Jesus is a prayerful man. No one knows what Jesus’ prayers contain whenever He would go alone with God the Father but we know this: Jesus prayed the most meaningful and engaging prayers in the most difficult times.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prays, while His sweat turns into blood, “Lord let Your Will be done.” At the cross, close to his death, He prayed: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” It was in these moments that we see that our Lord and Savior himself uttered meaningful and engaging prayers during the worst of times.
After his resurrection and ascension, the question remains: Does Jesus pray meaningful and engaging prayers? The answer is a resounding “yes!” and we can see that in the letter of Hebrews:
Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
Jesus may not have written His prayers but He uttered them in such a way that it is worth writing about.
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