How to Write Personal Prayers
Many of us learn prayers when we're at school, with our parents or via the synagogue, church or mosque and there's no better place to start.
In this hub we're going to look at:
- Learned prayers
- Do they mean what we want them to mean?
- How to write a personal prayer.
More than words.
Sometimes, prayers we've learned by rote can seem distant because they're often in an alien language and we don't fully understand or appreciate them. On the other hand, perhaps at the same time, they can be comforting as the rhythm and cadence of the words sooths us as we repeat them.
Does prayer without thought mean as much to you and to God as prayers that are conversations between you and Him? God knows what's in our hearts and He is worth more than just words.
How to write personal prayers.
Think about a prayer as a conversation between you and the Lord so have that conversation in your own language. Your prayer doesn't need to be formal or poetic, although it can be; it doesn't need to be in Latin or Hebrew, although it can be.
Just think about what you want to say. There will be things you want to give thanks for and things you want to ask for and questions you want to have answered.
My favourite way to start my prayers is with my thank yous (I have a lot to be grateful for!) as I lay my head on the pillow at night or as I'm driving out to work in the morning.
At the end of the day I'm saying thank you for the day that's just ended.
All the little good things that have happened during my day come next, including having good food to eat, clean water to drink and clean air to breathe; for my job, for living in a peaceful country and being surrounded by people who love me.
Living with a conscious gratitude is a good way to stay positive when challenges hit us. Often we focus on what we don't have (the newest TV, a big house, a child, a summer holiday) and not on the things we do.
This makes us instantly richer and more content with the hand God has dealt us.
Ask God the questions that you need answers to. What can I do to help Aunt Betty? How can I find a job I love?
Focus on the questions and be open to and listen for the answers. They may not come instantly (that only happens in the movies!) and they may not be immediately apparent as answers to your prayers, but listen carefully because sometimes God's voice is just a whisper over your shoulder.
We have 2 ears and 1 mouth so we should use them in a 2-1 ratio!
Remembering our sins and shortcomings is a sure-fire way to help us do better tomorrow.
If there are times when we haven't worked as hard as we could have, haven't gone the extra mile or have been a bit greedy when it came to the cookie jar, then asking for forgiveness and resolving to do better will make us more mindful of our future actions.
There is always stuff that we want that is beyond our grasp and it seems that the only way to get it is with God's help. So ask Him for the circumstances that will help you create the life you want.
These things may not land at your feet in an instant or as you'd expect them to be, but if they're part of God's plan and if we're listen carefully and with humility, they will happen.
We've looked at constructing prayers that have elements of giving thanks, of asking questions when we're happy to listen for the answers, of asking for forgiveness and of asking for what we'd like in our lives.
To make our prayerful conversations work we must listen and keep listening for the answers and keep working mindfully - competing with ourselves almost - to improve on what we did yesterday.