Prayer aids

I’m feeling the need to grow in my prayer life. What are some things you’ve found helpful?

Here are some that I’m aware of:

  • Prayer books. As Jerry Starling mentioned in a comment the other day, most of us in churches of Christ grew up with a natural aversion to prayers written by other people. That’s hard for me to overcome, but I think it could be helpful. Not all repetition is vain repetition.
  • Fasting. Fasting has been a part of my prayer life for over thirty years, in an on-again off-again sort of way. Sadly, there have been more times when it was “off” than “on.” I want to improve that.
  • Prayer apps. I’ve been trying to use PrayerMate more. It takes two disciplines for me to do so: (1) Maintain the prayer list; (2) Actually pray using the app. Another area I need to work on.

Suggestions? What have you found that helps your prayer life?

5 thoughts on “Prayer aids

  1. Matthew Stidham

    Something I have been working on is being more consistent in prayer. Not just to pray every day, but to have specific time set aside for this just as I do Bible reading. I’m also being more specific about what I’m praying for. I have a few lists (in Logos) that I pray through, and I also track how God is answering them.

  2. Jerry Starling

    Something else I have considered. In Acts 2:42, the ASV, the RV, the RSV, the NASB and the ESV have “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching…and THE prayers.”
    translations follow the KJV, just having “prayer,” omitting the article. However, the article IS in the Greek text. Does this mean that they used set prayers?

    In Matthew 6:9 in the Sermon on the Mount, which most people regard as Jesus’s basic teaching on the kingdom, he said “Pray then like this:….” In Luke 11:2, after the disciples asked him to teach them to pray, he said, “When you pray, say:…” and then said what is essentially the same prayer that he gave in Matthew 6. Once he said “pray like this;” once he said “When you pray, say….” Does Luke’s account mean we are to use the prayer Jesus told his disciples to pray?

    These two questions together make me think we need to give very serious attention to using “set” prayers. The Jews used set prayers, such as the “Shema” as a prayer to God, but which reminded them of their responsibility to love him with all of their being. The church in Acts 2 were Jews and proselytes from all over the world. It is highly likely they would have “prayed the psalms” – or at least those the Jews were accustomed to praying (as well as the Shema). IF that is what they did, why shouldn’t we?

    N.T. Wright, Anglican Bishop, has a little book called “The Lord and His Prayer” in which he discusses the different elements of that prayer. At the end, he goes through the prayer and talks about what he thinks of about as he says each phrase in the prayer. I have found this helpful – when I will practice doing that. However, like you, that is a discipline which I need much to improve.

  3. Tim Archer Post author

    That’s really good, Matthew. Fits the Jewish tradition of “the time of prayer,” though I think that was tied to the morning and afternoon sacrifices.

    Jerry, I wonder if “the prayers” might not refer to those sets time of prayer? We see Peter and John observing the afternoon prayer time in Acts 3; it’s my personal opinion that that’s also what was going on in Acts 2 when Peter says it’s only 9 in the morning (that was the time of morning prayer).

  4. Jerry Starling

    It is quite likely that in Acts 3 Peter and John were going up to the “House of Prayer” to participate in the prayers being offered there. The ‘back story’ of Acts 2 was that there was a large group of disciples gathered in prayer in an upper room. Was this in the temple? In someone’s home? In a public hall? Or somewhere else?

    You may well be right that the apostles/disciples were in the temple for the hour of prayer. I do believe it was the entire group, due to the strong word for ‘all’ in 2:1 and the absence of a 3rd person personal pronoun ‘they’ in the Greek of this text. As I understand it, it should be “…Mathias was numbered with the eleven. When the day of Pentecost was fully come all the entire group was gathered together in one place….”, which would include the 120 who had gathered for prayer.

  5. Tim Archer Post author

    Thanks for catching that, Jerry. I did make it sound like I thought it was just the apostles in Acts 2 that were present. I think all of the Jews that could would go to the temple at 9 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.