It happens to all of us: You settle in for prayer time, eyes closed and hands clasped, and the words just won't come. No matter how many Dear God's or Lord, I pray's you start with, the flow is but a trickle.
You may have heard that one solution to stunted prayer time is to pray Scripture. But what Scripture should you pray?
The answer is quite simple. The Bible is littered with prayers from our ancestors in the faith, who occupied time and space with God's glorious presence. There's great power in these prayers, just as there was when they were first uttered, and it's well worth our mental space to memorize and pray them on a regular basis.
Here are 5 powerful prayers from the Bible to incorporate into your time with God. (All verses are the ESV translation.)
1. EXODUS 33:13 – MOSES ASKS FOR GOD'S FAVOR
"Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight."
After God nearly destroyed the Israelites for worshiping the golden calf, Moses talks with God about his position of leadership. He seeks to confirm his favor in God's sight, a treasure for any believer.
2. PHILIPPIANS 1:9–11 – PAUL PRAYS FOR BELIEVERS
"And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."
This is a beautiful guide for when praying for other believers, that "their love may abound more and more" and the rest.
3. PSALMS 51:1–8 – DAVID PRAYS FOR GUIDANCE
"O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
will enter your house.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
in the fear of you.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
because of my enemies;
make your way straight before me."
This may take some work to memorize, but it's a power-packed prayer that proclaims how God's character, holiness and righteousness pave a straight path for us.
4. JONAH 2:2–9 – JONAH PRAYS THANKSGIVING AND COMMITMENT
"When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the Lord,
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
Those who pay regard to vain idols
forsake their hope of steadfast love.
But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation belongs to the Lord!"
Jonah remembers God's saving love and confirms his commitment to serve Him.
5. MATTHEW 6:9–13 – JESUS TEACHES HOW TO PRAY
"Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil."
Obvious! you say. Everyone knows this!
Well, while it's completely possible to leave Jesus' timeless instruction on how to to pray off a "top prayers" list, I wouldn't dare.