Personal and corporate prayer is an area that I always want to be growing in. I hope the same is true for you.
Over the years I have encountered a few good resources that have helped me move in this direction. I’ve encountered many others that were not so good. For me, anyway.
I’ve suggested previously that one of the best ways to grow in prayer is simply by praying. The more time we spend in prayer the easier and more natural it becomes.
This is not only true of private prayer. It is also true of praying with others. The more we pray together the more natural it becomes.
I especially enjoy praying with others who have been walking with the Lord longer than I have and who I know have spent a lot of time in prayer themselves. I am encouraged to hear what they pray about. Often, the content of their prayers causes me to grow. Usually the Lord has put some different things on their heart and mind than He has put on mine. When we pray together our perspective is increased.
In addition to praying alone and praying together I wanted to recommend three resources that have been a great blessing and encouragement to me with the hopes that they will be an encouragement to you in your prayer life. I would also like to invite you to let me know any resources that have blessed you in the area of prayer.
1. I love studying the prayer lives of biblical figures. In particular, I have been enriched by studying the prayer lives of those people who God Himself regarded as amazing pray-ers. Some of the most amazing pray-ers are:
Of course, there are more. These are a great start.
Jesus is (hopefully) an obvious example.
Moses and Samuel were mentioned by name by God to Jeremiah (Jer. 15:1) as two exemplary intercessors: God says He wouldn’t relent of His coming judgment even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before Him, indicating that even His best intercessors wouldn’t be able to pray this disaster away! While judgment couldn’t be averted in Jeremiah’s context it is beneficial to study what made Moses and Samuel such great intercessors before the Lord.
Elijah is mentioned in the New Testament as the example of faithful, believing, effective prayer in James 5:16-18. You can read more about Elijah’s prayer in 1 Kings 16-18.
God singled out three men (Noah, Daniel, and Job) as examples of righteous living to the prophet Ezekiel (Ezek. 14:14-20). Of these three men, Daniel serves as a gleaming example of a man dedicated to prayer regardless of the cost. His regular routine included praying on his knees three times a day (see Dan. 6:10). Daniel believed the Word of God and prayed in accordance with what God had revealed (Dan. 9:2-23).
2. Any and all of the apostles prayers could and should be studied. I am thankful for the excellent book A Call To Spiritual Reformation: Priorities From Paul and His Prayers by D.A. Carson. It is a great read. We can all learn a lot by prioritizing our prayers the way Paul did.
3. Finally, I want to recommend a collection of Puritan prayers: The Valley of Vision. I don’t believe there is much value in simply praying prayers written by others. There is value in being stretched by praying with those who take prayer seriously.
When I read the prayers in this book I see how shallow and narrow some of my own prayers can be. I love the depth and breadth of the prayers they recorded. Every time I read them I am stimulated to pray more deeply and boldly.
These have been the major influences in my prayer life. I wanted to share them with you in the hopes that we can grow together in prayer.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.”