Aspirations: As we begin to pursue prayer as a spiritual discipline , we often come with high aspirations to create spontaneous and meaningful prayers – even grandiose prayers like the one offered by Daniel . When that does not happen, however, we can get discouraged and confused, which can lead us to stop praying altogether. Thus, we must learn to pray so that we persevere in it. For although we thought about unanswered prayers on Tuesday , “The greatest tragedy in life is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer” .
Guides: Thankfully, in the Bible itself, God has given us more than 650 prayers to use and enjoy. The Psalmist delighted to go to God through the Word: “In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways … Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law … My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times … Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors” . Today, we can rejoice in the Word even more than the Psalmist. For we know that it points to the Word Made Flesh – that is, Jesus Christ.
Scriptures: In Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Repeating God’s own words after him, we begin to pray to him. We ought to speak to God and he wants to hear us, not in the false and confused speech of our own heart, but in the clear and pure speech which God has spoken to us in Jesus Christ. God’s speech in Jesus Christ meets us in the Holy Scriptures. If we wish to pray with confidence and gladness, then the words of Holy Scripture will have to be the solid basis of our prayer. For here we know that Jesus Christ, the Word of God, teaches us to pray. The words which come from God become, then, the steps on which we find our way to God” .
Prayer: Lord, Teach us to pray according to your Word. Teach us the difference between the things that our hearts produce by themselves – wishes, hopes, sighs, laments, rejoicings – and prayer, which is produced only by the cross of Christ and the work of the Spirit. Cause our hearts to delight in your Word so that we find our way to you. Amen.
(Optional) Post-Reflection Prayers: We have created a one-page sample set of morning prayers (here) and a one-page illustrative list of prayers in the Bible (here). If helpful, use these to pursue an intentional prayer life and let us know what you think.
 843 Acres, “Spiritual Disciplines for the Goal of Godliness.” 22 October 2012. |  843 Acres, “Prayer as Discipline: Kingdom-Centered for the City.” 24 October 2012. |  843 Acres, “Prayer as Discipline: Unanswered Prayers.” 23 October 2012. |  F.B. Meyer (wiki) |  Psalm 119:14-15, 18, 24 ESV |  Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible (Kindle Location 34-35). Kindle Edition.