For some Prayer Books and written prayers are common. I grew up without a category for written prayers. I had never heard of someone writing out prayers until my high school years. I am sure it would have been frowned upon in the circles of my upbringing. When I first heard of people doing it, it made me very uncomfortable.
Some find written prayers a helpful tool for focus. Others find it odd or even less spiritual. So, some of you may wonder why I write prayers. I hope to provide a short answer in this post. I hope it especially helps those who, like me, think best with a pen or keyboard. Here are four reasons that I write prayers.
- Concentration. I have a very short attention span. I have always struggled with concentration. I typically have multiple thoughts going on in my head at once, and I typically can’t concentrate on one for long. On top of internal distractions, there are always those passing cars, singing birds, blowing leaves, unread messages, unorganized papers, and really anything under the sun that can distract my attention.
I know I am not alone in this. I have chatted with many brothers and sisters who have said they are easily distracted in prayer. Prayer is hard work. It is actually a battle. It is a spiritual battle. One of the enemy’s greatest weapons is distraction. Writing prayers enables me to fight against distractions.
- Meditation. I try to pray based on the Scriptures, often from my daily Bible readings. I will spend time meditating on the passages I have read. The way that I meditate is by writing. As I write meditations on the passages I read, my meditations turn to prayers. The prayers cover every form – praise, confession, petition, thanks. The form my prayers take depends on the Bible passage I am reading that day. I take these written prayers and pray for myself, my family, my church family, co-laborers in the Gospel, and the lost.
- Memory. I have a short attention span, and I have a shorter memory. Writing my prayers serves as a journal of sorts. I am able to read and remember for whom and for what I have prayed. I am able to look back on the passages I have read and how God has used them to impact me.
Since my prayers flow from meditation on Bible reading, writing my prayers often aids Scripture memory. I remember much of what I write. Writing is how I learn. So, my best tool for Scripture memory is writing. Writing my prayers helps me remember key verses from my Bible reading, enabling me to meditate on them in the days and weeks ahead.
- Encouraging Instruction. I will send my written prayers to the individuals on my prayer list. As I pray for them, I send them the prayer by text, email, or a link to the blog. I have learned this from a mentor of mine who prays for me daily and sends the prayers to me. This has served as a great encouragement to me. I have also learned how to pray from a mature believer as I have read his prayers.
So, I send individuals the prayers I am praying for their encouragement and instruction. I also do this for accountability. You and I both know how easy it is to agree to pray for someone then not do it. When I write out the prayers and send them, I am being held accountable to do what I promised to do.
The practice of writing and sending prayers is not novel. The Apostle Paul did it often. Two of the richest prayers we have come from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. In Ephesians 1:15-23 and 3:14-21, Paul wrote out the prayers he was praying for these believers. These have encouraged and trained God’s people for centuries. While our prayers are not inspired or inerrant, the practice of writing and sending prayers is helpful. It enables concentration, strengthens mediation, aids memory, and provides encouragement and training for God’s people.
I highly recommend trying this practice of writing your prayers. It may aid in concentration, meditation, and memory, especially if you learn by writing. It can also serve as a tool for encouragement if you use it to communicate how you are praying for others.
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