Every now and then we all get "hung up" in our prayer life. We are deeply thirsty for intimate communion with our Father, but our words seem like a helpless rehash of yesterday's grocery list. We find ourselves repeating phrases that we have always voiced. We regretfully admit that our prayers are more pitiful than passionate.
One wonderful approach that I've found to renew and assist my prayer life is simply to pray some of the prayers of scripture. Besides the Psalms, there are literally 100s of deeply moving prayers - many of which we know God answered. Perhaps as we attune our hearts to the heart cries of others from scripture, we will find that our prayer lives are changed and our spiritual pump becomes primed once again.
Here are some helpful beginning points from the New Testament:
Ephesians 1.16-18: I have not stopped giving thanks for them, remembering them in my prayers. I keep asking that you, oh God of our Lord Jesus Christ, our glorious Father, may give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that they may know You better. I pray also that the eyes of their hearts may be enlightened in order that they may know the hope to which You have called them, the riches of Your glorious inheritance in the saints,
Philippians 1.9-11: And this is my prayer: that their love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that they may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – for Your glory and praise.
Colossians 1.9-14: Oh God, help me to consistently pray for them without ceasing and to keep asking You to fill them with the knowledge of Your will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And I pray this in order that they may live a life worthy of You and may please You in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in their knowledge of You, being strengthened with all power according to Your glorious might so that they may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to You, for qualifying them to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For You have rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of Your Son that You love, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
John 17.9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
John 17.20-23: My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in You through their message, May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
2 Corinthians 13.7-9: Now I pray that they will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that we will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed…our prayer is for their perfection.
Ephesians 3.16-19: I pray that out of Your glorious riches that You may strengthen them with power through Your Spirit in their inner beings, so that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith. And I pray that they will be rooted and established in love,and will have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that they may be filled to the measure of all of Your fullness.
Colossians 4.3-4: And I pray for me, too, that You would open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ. I pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.
2 Thessalonians 1.11-12: With this in mind, I constantly pray for them, that You, our God, may count them worthy of Your calling, and that by Your power, that You would fulfill every good purpose that they have and every act prompted by their faith. I pray this so that the name of the Lord Jesus may be glorified in them, and them in You, according to Your grace oh God, and that of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 3.1-2: Finally, I pray that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored. And I pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith.
Philemon 1.6 I pray that they would be active in sharing their faith, so that they will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.
Jude 1.20 And I pray that they would build themselves up in their most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.
Try praying one or more of these earnestly for yourself, your church, and the people of God around the world. You may be surprised how praying God's Word will reform your prayer life and refine your spiritual focus.