Praying Like a Christian

When you are not sure how to pray for someone or not sure how to pray for yourself, I highly recommend thumbing through Psalm 119. This is a psalm I go back to often. The psalmist knew how to pray. Consider these inspired prayers and adopt them as your own. I won’t list every single prayer here, because, as you know, Psalm 119 is very long. But here is a small sample for you, just to get you started.

Notice how these prayers begin with strong verbs: teach, deal, open, revive, strengthen, remove, grant, incline, turn, establish, give, help, hold,  direct, make, hear, consider, plead, deliver. These are prayers of action! They are not vague, wishy-washy prayers, but prayers calling to Almighty God to rise up! If we want to be faithful women, women of prayer, we can learn by taking instruction from this psalm. God loves to answer the prayers of His people. So we ought to ask Him for far more than we do, reminding Him of His Word, speaking His language back to Him, and asking in faith for Him to intervene on our behalf.

Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! (vs. 10)

Teach me Your statutes. (vs. 12,26, 33, 124)

Deal bountifully with Your servant that I may live and keep Your word. (vs. 17)

Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law. (vs. 18)

Revive me according to Your word (vs. 25, 107) according to Your loving kindness (vs. 88, 159) according to Your justice (149) according to Your judgments (156).

Strengthen me according to Your word. (vs. 28)

Remove from me the way of lying, and grant me Your law graciously. (vs.  29)

Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness. (vs. 36)

Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way. (vs. 37)

Establish Your word to Your servant. (vs. 38)

Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments. (vs. 73, 144)

Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to Your word to Your servant. Let your tender mercies come to me, that I may live. (vs. 76-77)

Help me! (vs. 86)

Hold me up, and I shall be safe. (vs. 117)

Direct my steps by Your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me. (133)

Make Your face shine upon Your servant, and teach me Your statutes. (135)

Hear me, O Lord! (145)

Consider my affliction and deliver me. (153)

Plead my cause and redeem me. (154)

Deliver me according to Your word. (170)

Let Your hand become my help. (173)

Now hit the pause button and look  at a few examples of what the supplicant claims for himself:

With my whole heart I have sought You. (vs. 10)

With my lips I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. (14)

My soul breaks with longing for Your judgments at all times. (vs. 20)

My soul clings to the dust. (vs. 25)

My soul melts with heaviness. (vs. 28)

I have chosen the way of truth. (30)

I cling to your testimonies. (31)

For I trust in Your Word. (42)

I will delight myself in Your commandments, which I love. (47)

I remember Your name in the night, O Lord, and I keep Your law. (55)

I am a companion of all those who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts. (63)

God wants us to remind Him (and ourselves) of our complete dependence on Him. But we should also recount to Him our love of His commands, His Word, His gospel, His Son, and His law, as well as our great need for His help and deliverance.

If we want to pray like Christians, we must imitate these prayers He has given us in His Word. Can you imagine what would   happen if we started praying like this? A revival would break out! So let’s get started. Let it begin with us first.

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11 thoughts on “Praying Like a Christian

  1. Thank you for this post!! I love how you listed the verbs of action. I need to tuck that list into my Bible for prayer time. 🙂

  2. Thank you, Nancy. I read these scriptures, and they inspire, comfort, bring peace to my spirit. The Holy Spirit uses them to draw me closer – where I need to be.

    So thankful for your faithfulness to God’s Word, and then your encouragement to us to do the same.

    I’m praying!

  3. Just a question, I’m in a period of trying to pray over my fertility (or lack thereof), and I find that I really don’t know how to pray. The situation right now is hopeful, as my new thyroid medication kicks in I could well see a spontaneous return of fertility, but I feel like I have a hard time praying hopefully. My prayers become a mismash of somewhat wistful petitions, acknowledgements that I’m really not sure what kind of mom I’d make, and trying to pray through being hopeful while realizing that sometimes God says no. It feels a little confusing. Any advice?

  4. Natalie, I would suggest loud and bold banging on the front door, letting God know you are serious about what you want, and not being surprised if He decides to give you your hearts desire through the back door, which you may discover had been open all along. He delights in answering our prayers, and I believe He delights in doing it in such a way that leaves us in speechless wonder.

  5. Natalie,
    I call it “tugging on the Lord’s sleeve” when you remind Him of His promises and present your requests. I would sandwich your requests in between thanksgiving and praise. I think we are wise to think about our prayers, keep them fairly organized and to the point. Structured and yet expressing all we feel.
    At the same time, while praying fervently and regularly, I suggest you concentrate on the gifts you have and using them, the blessings you have received and stewarding them. Cultivate contentment and be patient. This is not to change the subject, but rather to fit you for praying with faith.
    Blessings to you,

  6. Thanks. I appreciate the advice. From what you’re saying it sounds like my life is on the right track (developing/using my gifts and being content) but my prayers are a little off kilter. Oh well, another day another lesson.

  7. Great words. I always think of the great hymn, what a friend we have in Jesus…”Oh what peace we often forfiet, oh what needless pain we bare, all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer.”
    Reminding Him of His promises is great help.

  8. I really appreciated this Nancy, thank you! It is so helpful to be reminded of how we can (and should) pray. The Psalms are packed with gems for all of life!

  9. This is was an especially encouraging article. It’s really easy to get caught up in the worries and try to pray for knowledge rather than thanking the Lord and praising Him. In thanking the Lord and praising Him I can focus on His goodness and remind myself of his graciousness in my everyday life.

  10. Natalie, when I was going through infertility, I also struggled with praying… it felt pointless since God wasn’t answering my deepest longing (I knew that was bad theology at the time, but it’s still how it felt). I read Prayer by O. Hallesby, and though I didn’t agree with every little thing in the book, I found it to be helpful and encouraging. Praying vs. 76-77 for you from the post!

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