Models for prayer
The Lord’s Prayer was presented as a model, for when the disciples asked how to pray, Jesus told them to pray “like this,” and then said the prayer. We know the disciples did not think that he meant that the only praying they could ever do was to used these words, because we have an example of another prayer said by the disciples, in Acts 4:24-30. You can learn the concepts in the Lord’s prayer more deeply in several ways, and these ways will then influence the way you pray. You can read it in many different translations. You can capsulate the thought of each sentence in your own words. You can ponder the effect of each sentence for your own life and action.
Paul. The Bible includes four prayers written by the apostle Paul. I have found these to be useful in praying for myself and others, because of the rich content. For example, where Paul writes “I pray that you will be strengthened inwardly by the Spirit,” I use that as my prayer: “Dear Lord, please strengthen me inwardly by your Spirit.” I also pray for others by saying, “Dear God, please strengthen (the person’s name) by your Spirit. I recommend that you use the four prayers as your pray for yourself and others. The locations are Ephesians 1:15-21, Ephesians 3:14-19, Colossians 1:9-14, and 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12.
Psalms. The Psalms have been used for over 2000 years by God’s people, first in the synagogue and continuing in the church. When we pray a Psalm that seems to fit our current feeling, we know we are using inspired words to express those deep feelings of our hearts. One of the main things I have learned form the Psalms is that when there are expression of praise God, they often either are praises to God for something that he is, or for something that he does. I then try to say similar things in my praising. By reading through the Psalms regularly, we are exposed to a large scope of different kinds of prayers, which then show us how God would have us pray in these kinds of situations.
Personalizing. I have a small book called 31 Days of Praise by Ruth Myers. I find them to be wonderful models for how to take a scripture verse and put it into a prayer. For example, the Bible tells us God will never forsake us, so this becomes the prayer “Lord, I thank you that you will never forsake me.” These sentences then become professions of faith. I try to pray in a similar way.