A daily guide to praying well…

In 2015, I wrote a little post called, 2 Ways to Pray Without Ceasing. It’s my most read post to-date and the one re-pinned on Pinterest more than anything I’ve written.

What does this say? I think it reveals that most of us know prayer is important, and we want to pray well…but we need help.

And when I say *we*, I mean *ME*.

I’m grateful for the Pentecostal tradition I grew up in. And I did learn to pray. The thing is, there are elements of prayer that were not necessarily emphasized. Or, maybe it’s that I took away only portions of the praying model I saw and heard.

I learned to pray loud and long. Is anybody with me? And I learned to pray corporately. Can I get an Amen? To clarify, praying corporately basically meant most were praying and hardly anyone was listening.

The years have taught me to respect other denominations and fellowships. We are, after all, one Church worshiping in different ways and emphasizing the varied, rich traditions of the faith.

We can just pray or learn to pray well. It's a liturgy of prayer that we need. Here's a sample guide for learning to pray well.What has been your tradition of prayer?

Before I go on, please know I do believe there are occasions when we should join our voices together in corporate prayer. That said, I don’t know about you, but I’m still learning to pray well.

While my heritage of faith was not liturgical in its practices of worship and praying, I find I benefit from having a daily guide to my prayers. And that’s what liturgy is >> a guide.

“Liturgy cannot be avoided. Every church that worships and every person who prays has a liturgy – it’s just a matter of whether or not it’s a well-formed liturgy.” – Brian Zahnd

In my post 2 Ways to Pray Without Ceasing I shared the prayer guide I was using at the time. Today, I’m learning to form a liturgy of prayer, so my prayer guide has changed.

The same basic elements are still there but the content is more structured and liturgical. And I love it. If you, too, want to pray well, I encourage you to experiment with incorporating some of these elements into your daily prayer time.

My Daily Prayer Guide

Please note:  The following prayer outline comes from ¹Water to Wine. In teaching me to pray well, this book has wrecked me. The italicized labels {Praise, Acknowledgement, Contemplation, Intercession/Supplication} come from ²Whispers of Hope: 10 Weeks of Devotional Prayer. Follow links to complete readings or learn more.

Opening Address – This is a natural part of most prayers. I begin by addressing God in the same way, daily.

The Gloria Prayer³ – I pray this newer translation: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Hallelujah. Amen.

The Jesus Prayer³ – Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.

PRAISE:  spontaneous praise for His attributes {may flow out of devotional readings}

Confession of Sin³ – Most merciful God, I confess I have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what I have done, and by what I have left undone. I have not loved you with my whole heart; I have not loved my neighbor as myself. I am truly sorry and I humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on me and forgive me; that I may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name.

 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:  spontaneous acknowledgement of His work and power {may flow out of devotional readings}

Apostles’ Creed³

PRAYER FOR FAMILY:  spontaneous prayer over my family

Psalm 103.1-5 – Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy Name…

THE LORD’S PRAYER EXPANDED³ {This link at Goodreads shares the version I pray from Water to Wine. Scroll down to the entry that begins:  My Father, Holy Father, Abba Father, in the heavens…}

CONTEMPLATION (Sitting with Jesus):  {often includes worship music}

INTERCESSION & SUPPLICATION:  {includes my daily prayer emphases for this year}

Prayer to the Crucified Christ³ – Lord Jesus, you stretched out your arms of love upon the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace:  So clothe me in your Spirit that I, reaching forth my hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your name. Amen.

The Beatitudes – Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth…

Prayer for Peace³ – O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near:  Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you; bring the nations into your fold; pour out your Spirit upon all flesh; and hasten the coming of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. {see Prayers for Missions 2. at link}

Prayer of St. Francis³ – Lord, make me an instrument of your 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.

Confession of the Mystery³ – Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.

The Jesus Prayer³ – Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.

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¹Water to Wine: Some of My Story. by Brian Zahnd. Pages 80-89.

²Whispers of Hope: 10 Weeks of Devotional Prayer. by Beth Moore.

³Internet links accurate as of 2/20/2017.

images mine

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