When You Don’t Know What to Pray

When you don’t know what to pray, you can’t go too wrong with this approach:

  • Read a scripture. Not just one verse, but a whole chunk of Bible, like a chapter.
  • Acknowledge the things in your life that are consuming your thoughts.
  • Let the scripture and your concerns stew together in your mind. Mull them over. Try to see similarities, and differences, between the scripture and your concerns (or whatever it is that occupies your thoughts).
  • Be open to new ways of thinking about your beliefs and attitudes (think Acts 10:9-23). Do this without judging others who hold contrary beliefs. The task at hand is prayer – building relationship between yourself and God, which has not much to do with anyone else’s beliefs.
  • Make portions of the scripture your prayer. Apply them to your concerns.

Are you unsure of where to start reading in the Bible? Or do you have trouble reading? Try the Daily Audio Bible (DAB). Each week features a different translation of the Bible. Each day has readings from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. At the end of the readings, Brian Hardin offers some thoughts, which can be helpful for jumpstarting your prayer life.

Monday night, the DAB Old Testament reading began in Nehemiah. My concern currently has been for the Christians in Iraq. I found my prayer changing to “Lord, raise up leaders among the refugees, leaders like Nehemiah, with a passion for their people, full of the Holy Spirit. Let the Holy Spirit give them the right words to say at the proper times, that they might build up the people so they might become spiritually mighty.”

I’m not super-spiritual, but that was a far cry from my prayers of earlier that day.