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Prayers: Why Some Christians Don't Pray Pre-written, Printed Ones

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Fervent and continual prayers along with the in-depth study of God's Word for the purpose of obeying it is the "life blood" of the Christian walk. Nevertheless, these two vital things are often misunderstood and/or neglected. One question that arises from time to time, particularly in conversation between Catholics and Protestants, relates to reasons why some believers reject praying pre-written prayers.

Every individual that does the will of God is heard by the Lord when he lifts up prayers. There may be times when someone can benefit from pre-written prayers if it expresses what he wants to say to God. Such a believer could be a baby Christian who is a little awkward at prayer, or he may be going through a particularly stressful and tumultuous time during which he may consider pre-written, printed prayers, helpful.

Nevertheless, there are biblical reasons why some choose to reject prayers that aren't formulated in what they would call a natural and free way. Scripture is given for the believer to know how to live righteously in every area of life (KJV, 2 Timothy 3:16). Of course this includes his vital prayer life; consequently, the Christian must know what the Bible says about the kind of prayer life God wants him to lead.

One of the first things that should be observed is that when the apostles asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. The Lord responded with what is known as the "Our Father" prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). Why is there only one "pre-written" prayer given for the believer to pray instead of one being given to cover the many different situations and troubles that occur in life on earth? Again, the Bible answers this question through the examples of the prayer lives of the renown servants of God and through direct commandment and teaching.

How did king David, Job, Elijah, and so many others who pleased God, pray? What do the scriptures teach about prayer? The Psalms may be considered extensive coverage on the prayers of king David. In Psalm 59:1, he prays, "deliver me from mine enemies, O my God. Defend me from them that rise up against me." In Psalm 63:1, he prays, "O God, thou art my God. Early will I seek thee. My soul thirsteth for thee. My flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land...."

It should be evident that David is speaking to God in his own words. In his own words he praises God, he cries out in time of great need and danger, and he asks for forgiveness the rare occasions on which he committed sin. He knows how to honor and reverence the Lord in great fear while maintaining and growing a genuine relationship with him.

Some have chosen to view David's prayers as a "God-send" upon which to build pre-written prayers for believers of today. However, if this were the case, why is not even one of the servants of God in the New Testament seen praying pre-formulated prayers based on those of king David and other servants and prophets of old? They also could have chosen to view David's prayers as patterns upon which to write more prayers--but they didn't. Why? If prefabricated prayer wasn't practiced in the Old Testament, why should it be embraced under a new and better covenant of grace? The New Testament is a ministry of the Spirit of grace and not of the letter (the law) (2 Corinthians 3:6). This vital truth strongly affects the believer's prayer life--as it should because under grace, all prayer should take place in the Spirit. The New Testament apostle Paul explains this truth. He teaches that the believer's prayer is to be governed by the will of the Spirit of God who inspires his servants regarding what matters should be lifted to him. Likewise, he inspires prayer for individuals, including prayer for oneself. The apostle Paul even spoke of prayer in the spirit involving "groanings" which can't be uttered on one's own. The Spirit inspires and the obedient believer then responds as he is moved by the Spirit. How can one be freely moved by the Spirit and also by a printed prayer?

Paul taught, "likewise, the Spirit (of God) also helpeth our infirmities, for we know not what we should pray for as we ought. But, the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he (God)that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God" (Romans 8:26-27).

Prayers in the spirit which don't follow any of man's pre-written formulas, is so important that through it the believer dresses in the armor of God, and by no other means will he be able to dress for spiritual warfare.
©2008


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