Read: Romans 8:26-27 and Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
There are times when we simply do not know what to pray. We have no idea how to even begin to approach God with our burdens. At times like that it is good to know that the Holy Spirit helps us.
One way that the Holy Spirit can help is by guiding us as we write prayers. Those of us who have followed the prayer guide for any length of time have noticed that there are two daily prayers with which we begin every morning, and then closing prayer (or space to write our own). Many of the closing prayers are recurring.
The majority of our written prayers come from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church. These prayers have been carefully written, with much prayer put into the work. Imagine praying about how to pray! But that is the wonderful thing about writing prayers. It allows us to make sure we are not praying the wrong things. It allows us time and space to hear the Holy Spirit as he guides our words. It allows us to go back later and make use of prayers we have used previously.
Some say that writing prayers or praying written prayers is not good because we fall into a rut. But this is the wrong way to look at it. We are all creatures of habit. Think about how you pray normally. You probably have certain words, phrases, and ideas that you use every time you pray, and you probably say them in about the same order. Which of course raises the question, how is this any different than a written prayer? The difference is that prayers spoken “in the moment” often are not really thought out. And as humans we can be quite shallow. Written prayers, on the other hand, allow us to think through, with the help of the Holy Spirit, what we wish to say to God. It gives us time and space to craft a prayer that has depth to it, that asks for grace to live a Godly life. It allows us to remember all the things we want to mention in our prayers, so that we pray for all that is on our hearts and not just the things that are on our minds.
Furthermore, Jesus himself gave us a written prayer, which we call the Lord’s Prayer. It makes sense that we would follow his example.
Take some time to pray about this. Then, write your own prayer.