Praying with the Bible
Earlier in this book you read how the Bible is all about God';s interaction with His people. Part of that interaction is the prayers Biblical characters — even Jesus himself — have spoken to the heavenly Father. Probably the most famous of Biblical prayers is what has come to be known as the Lord';s Prayer:
Our Father in heaven,
The Bible contains many other model prayers, and it is a good practice to read, memorize, and even use these prayers in our own devotional lives. Here are some examples:
What many people don';t realize about the Lord';s Prayer is that Jesus didn';t necessarily instruct us to pray this prayer word for word; it was meant as a model for prayer. He gave these instructions in what has come to be known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7), and he began this prayer by saying, “Pray like this … ”
Joshua';s prayer for God';s help (Joshua 7:6–13)
David';s prayer for blessing (2 Samuel 7:18–29)
Solomon prays for wisdom (1 Kings 3:6–15)
a prayer for prosperity (1 Chronicles 4:10)
Jesus';s prayers for himself, for his disciples, and for others who would believe (John 17)
Jesus';s prayers for deliverance and strength (Matthew 26:39, 42, 43)
These are just a few of the hundreds of prayers found in the pages of the Bible. And in addition to the prayers listed here, there are several different kinds of prayers in Psalms. As you read through them, take note of how the psalmists offered prayers of thanksgiving and praise, prayers for various blessings, prayers for forgiveness, and prayers of faith.
When you read an example of a prayer in either the Old Testament or the New Testament, pay close attention to the tone and the wording of the prayer, and also pay attention to the way God responded to those who prayed the prayers. That way you';ll be able to model your prayers after the Biblical ones that were most effective.