In charismatic Christian circles (those who accept and practice the gifts of the Spirit), we’ve been guilty of criticizing the Orthodox and Catholic churches for practicing liturgy and rehearsed prayers.
From the Charismatic’s perspective, life and power are found most often in the “now” word of the Holy Spirit. And rehearsed prayers and rituals fall under the “dead and boring” category.
But it’s not the nature of being pre-recorded that makes a prayer dull, lifeless, and boring. It’s the heart, faith, and attitude of the person praying.
How do I know? From personal experience, for one. It was the summer of 2009. I’d hit a major ditch in my life. Depressed, frustrated, and overwhelmed. There were mindsets I didn’t know how I’d ever overcome. Belief systems deep as ruts that seemed to railroad me down an undesired life path.
Then, rather quickly, things began changing. I found myself feeling more encouraged. More honest with myself. More aware of deception in my own thoughts. It was like turning a corner in life, and I had no idea how it happened. Not at first.
I shared the changes going on inside me with my wife, and she smiled. She looked pleased, but not totally surprised. She told me that she’d been committed to praying for me every day for the past month or two. And stranger yet, she was praying prayers out of a book!
She had this little booklet called The Power of a Praying Wife, written by Stormie Omartian. I think she used the Study Guide version, but regardless, she prayed a prayer each day over me from that book, and I lived the results.
I was so impacted by the changes in my life and the simple choices Heather had made that I quickly drove up to Mardel and bought two companion books: The Power of a Praying Husband and The Power of a Praying Parent.
I keep these books with me at all times so that I will always have them available when I feel led or concerned.
Why not just pray your own prayer?
I still do express my concerns to God in my own words, but there’s often less of a sense of closure to them. It’s like talking to a friend. I’m not always confident that He’s going to do anything about my more casually expressed prayers. It’s a personal issue of faith (or the lack of). But when I pray someone else’s prayer who has seen results, either straight from the Bible or a prayer book like these, I feel more certainty. “The power of agreement” is what I would call it. I am not alone in my prayer. I am praying something good that other people are praying and we are standing on Scriptural promises as well (listed in the book with each prayer).
Whether it’s the prayer of agreement or the literal re-prayer of something prayed in Scripture, I have more faith to believe that God will hear, approve, and answer my prayers. Test it out for yourself. But be careful. Don’t just read prayers like you’re reading a story.
Here’s how I do it
I read them aloud (I have more faith when my prayers are spoken). As I read each word, I make the conscious effort to understand what’s being said and to ensure that I agree with it. As I read it aloud in total agreement, I am connecting to what some Orthodox or Catholic believers might call the communion of the saints. God has chosen to grant power and resolution to prayers of agreement.
Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
While I can’t fully explain the dynamic of the prayer of agreement, God’s Word says it gets answers. So I’m going to seek agreement with Scripture and other believers when I pray for really important things like family, health, provision, safety, community, etc. As much as possible, I want to walk away from a prayer feeling solid… like I know something was just accomplished.