During the tougher times of my cancer journey, many prayers were simply, “Lord, have mercy.” I didn’t have energy to say more. Perhaps simple word prayers throughout the day pleases Him best: “Thanks!” – “Help me.” – “Praise God!” In fact, His Word warns against the vain babbling of endless words. But when the words won’t come at all, there is another source of inspiration for prayer: Scripture.
“Read the Psalms, praise God once; pray them, praise God twice; sing them, praise God three times over!” There’s no value in repeated rote prayers just to say them out of tradition. But if they reflect the desires of your heart, let them become your heart-felt prayers.
Find solace in praying the 23rd Psalm. Substitute your name for ‘me’ and ‘my’:
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff–they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
I’ve had many occasions to pray David’s shorter prayer (Psalm 51:10-12) throughout my life: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.” It has been a heartfelt prayer to draw closer to my Creator and to live in accordance with His will, especially after I’ve messed up.
You might pray as Moses did: “Teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” (Exodus 33:13,15)
You can personalize “The Lord’s Prayer” with words from your own heart. Tell him you want His name to be honored and respected in your life activities and ambitions. Describe your daily bread (needs). Confess specific sins. Forgive others by name. Ask God to help you live today with forever in mind.
We should pray trusting in the Lord, “In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.” (Psalm 25:1)
Consider praying for others this way: “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ.” (Philippians 1:9-10)
Or this way: “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 4:14-19)
Let the powerful prayers of the bible speak your heart.