Friday, January 15, 2016

Pre-Prayed Prayers

Feeling like you need a boost these days?   

What do you do when you feel like you have nothing left?

Here's what I did yesterday.

I pulled out my marked up scriptures and found the pre-prayed prayers I love and began to pray them again. 

See, I go through seasons in my prayer life.  I've just come out of one where I was spending longer amounts of time in prayer than usual and it left me feeling strong and capable of handling anything thrown my way.  Until I was hit from behind without any warning.  

It started the weekend before Thanksgiving with a weekend in the hospital revealing diverticulitis. I'm still recovering from that and trying to figure out what I can eat without pain.  To avoid debilitating pain for my big Christmas concert, I stopped eating what I normally eat.  I had been choosing a better life-style of eating very healthy - fruits, veggies, protein, good carbs, etc., and then this happened and I had to live on soft, bland foods, like yogurt, cottage cheese, mashed potatoes and bananas. I began to get weak and it was hard to exercise, which started affecting my creativity and energy level.

Then my husband had to have a serious surgery on his hand, from which he is still recovering, followed by a procedure where they dilated my esophagus to break up a ring that has been growing at the base and has made it difficult to swallow food with any kind of substance (without chewing into next week).  

More weakness = less exercise = less creativity and motivation.

Throw in the normal busy Christmas stuff and in the past couple of weeks, I have found myself feeling completely out of sorts. My prayer life has suffered and because of that, I can tell that ALL of me is suffering.

I sit down to pray but feel like I have nothing to say. So I thought I'd be honest and share that with you here, because I know we all have these times.

So here's what I did yesterday and I found it so refreshing that I'm passing it on to you in case you could use a boost too.  Sometimes all we need is a gentle reminder.

The scriptures have beautiful prayers that are already pre-prayed and all you have to do is read them aloud and make them your own. They breathe life into any tired soul. 

Here it goes: (and this is only one of several)

Ephesians 3:14-21 The Message (MSG)

14-19 My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
20-21 God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!

In my own words, I might pray this way:

Father, here I am today, down on my knees (and yes, I get down on my knees) before you.  You are a magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth.  I need a little bit of that parcel today. 

I ask you to come and strengthen me by your Spirit.  I have nothing left these days. I'm tired. I'm not even sure why, but I feel like I desperately need strength - on the inside of me. Not a physical...go to the gym and lift weights kind of strength...but the kind that makes me able to face life today - the inside kind.  

Jesus, live in me today.

I open the door to you - again, as I do so many days. Please, come in. Help both of my feet to be planted firmly on love - help me to be able to take in your love and all the extravagant dimensions of it.  I don't think I really know your love like I could.  Please, reveal your love to me in greater ways....

...and do that for all my friends too.

I reach out to you, today.  Help me experience all the angles of your love - how deep, how wide, how full it can be.  I'm so shallow when it comes to love. I need to go deep.  I can only go deep by knowing your love, so bring it on! Wash me in it. Cover me with it.  Let it bubble up from the inside and flow outward.

Thank you, Father, that you can do anything - far more than anything I could ever imagine or conjure up (and sometimes I think I can be pretty imaginative) - but you don't seem to do it by my own might or power - you do it by a gentle work of your Spirit - slowly working in me every day....deeply.  I can't do the work, that's for sure. I just give you permission. Please, You take it from here.

It doesn't take long and you can feel that inner strength oozing into your soul. I'll need to do this pretty regularly for a while until I get back on my feet and into my usual prayer life. But for now, it feels great to just sit and read prayers that someone else has prayed.  

Here are some references for other prayers that are helpful too:

Ephesians 1:15-23
Philippians 1:9-11
Colossians 1:9-14
Colossians 4:2--4
I Thessalonians 5:23-24
II Thessalonians 3:5

So go ahead, look these up and make them your own. It doesn't hurt to use pre-prayed prayers at times like this.