prayer journal

Making a Case for Crafted Prayer

The prayer recorded is the prayer rewarded.

That is a phrase the Lord spoke to me many years ago and I have used it to inscribe the inside front cover of each new prayer journal which I begin. It has been a motivational reminder to me of the power of sealing my prayers in pen and ink so that I can pray them again and again until they are answered.

It is not a novel idea with me. The Bible itself is a prayer journal, with many prayers penned by the likes of Abraham, Moses, David and Solomon, Nehemiah and the prophets Daniel, Isaiah and Jeremiah. Jesus’ unparalleled prayers for his followers are recorded as well along with the many apostolic prayers throughout the New Testament, not the least of which are Paul’s. Each of these prayers have been prayed over and over again for centuries because they carry the inspiration and anointing of the Holy Spirit while embodying the eternal nature and purposes of God.

Since the first century, believers in each generation have also recorded their inspired prayers. Many iconic prayers from famous saints and prayer books compiled by various sects exist today as a result. Along with the biblical models of prayer these anointed prayers serve us like familiar old friends to guide us in prayer when we lack for words or feel like we are groping in the darkness for direction as to how to pray.

Praying these prayers with a humble heart can revive the soul and lend fervency and focus to our prayer life. Because they were obviously penned under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit they also release faith because we know that they express the will of God. That is what the Apostle John is referring to when he writes “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him.” (1 John 5:14-15)

Understanding this basic prayer principle and applying it in our everyday communication with God will vitalize our prayer lives. And not only that, praying scriptures and other God-breathed prayers introduces an eternal quality to our praying that transcends time and space. Such prayer carries a cumulative effect as it is coupled with similar prayers prayed by yourself and others all the way from the past to the present.

And here is an even more provocative thought. Why not record your own inspired, Holy Spirit anointed prayers? In so doing you can pray them again and again, while each time rekindling the same passion and faith you had when you first were energized to pray them. Since in most cases they may have been given at a point of focused need, these prayers are like a precious revelation given by God to aid you in contending for their fulfillment.

This form of prayer can be generated in several ways. One familiar form is termed crafted prayer. Crafted prayer is a deliberate engagement with the Lord though worship, Bible reading and meditation upon appropriate scriptures with the goal in mind of writing out a prayer that expresses the cry of your heart for what you desire. What has been written can then be prayed repeatedly and even shared with others asking them to agree in prayer with you.

The priority of spiritual habits

“And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as was His custom, He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and He stood up to read.” Luke 4:16 (ESV)

“As was His custom” – four simple words that communicate volumes. What does that phrase, applied to your life tell everyone about you?

In many ways our customs define us because they tell us what things we have decided to give priority to in our lives. The ideal is to establish regular practices and habits that impart energy, provide stability and/or add meaning to life. When we think about daily routine – our dietary habits, ways in which we keep informed and engage with media and our exercise routines or the lack thereof all come to mind. But the most important customs to establish in life are the spiritual ones.

Jesus was a creature of habit when it came to His spiritual life. He made a commitment to habitual daily, weekly and even annual practices that nourished His personal relationship with His Heavenly Father. These practices also became the platform from which He launched a good portion of His ministry. Daily prayer, early in the morning or late at night (Mark 1:35 & 6:46), weekly engagement in worship and the Scriptures each Sabbath at the synagogue and regular attendance at the annual feasts in Jerusalem were the benchmarks of His spiritual life.

If Jesus, fully God, yet fully man, made daily communion with God and weekly engagement in worship the priority in His life, how much more should we? Paul, following in Jesus’ footsteps, began each week in the synagogue as well. “As was Paul’s custom, he went to the synagogue service, and for three Sabbaths in a row he used the Scriptures to reason with the people,” (Acts 17:2 NLT)

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