Prewritten Prayers Are Not Less Heartfelt
I mentioned previously that I get some negative comments and emails from time to time. One that I had received was criticizing a post that I had written on how to pray for your unsaved loved ones. I had made an image graphic where you could just plug in a name into prewritten prayers. It’s been pretty popular on Pinterest which is where this particular individual ran across it.
This person claimed to be an atheist and found my image/prayer offensive. Since engaging in debates and arguments like this are not typically very productive, I didn’t respond to their comment. I just deleted it (per my policy). However, there was a statement this person had made about prewritten prayers that I wanted to address here. An accusation like this could cause some people to question whether their prayer is truly genuine. So I’d like to share my two cents on the matter to hopefully alleviate some doubts.
“Prewritten prayers are hardly from the heart.”
This commenter stated “Prewritten prayers are hardly from the heart.” I think that there might be a lot of people who would buy into this theory. I COMPLETELY DISAGREE WITH THIS STATEMENT. Therefore, I would like to address why prewritten prayers are not only okay but often beneficial.
Memorized and recited prayers can indeed be less than heartfelt at times. However, that does not mean that they are automatically or always lacking sincerity. Just because somebody else wrote the words doesn’t mean that I don’t feel the exact same way. Sometimes I can look at a prayer and think, “that describes my thoughts and feelings exactly”.
Prewritten prayers have changed MY life
As a matter of fact, I firmly believe that some of the prewritten prayers that I have used have made a tremendous difference in me, my husband, my marriage and my children. I regularly use prayers that are either directly from the bible, written myself based on scripture, or from books. A few of my favorites:
Another prayer resource that I love is from Rachel Wojnarowski. I subscribe to her blog and she has some wonderful prewritten prayers for various topics. I also have taken some of my prayers directly out of the bible that have empowered me and given me wisdom and insight (Ephesians 1:17-23) and have helped me feel loved (Ephesians 3:16-21).
Some benefits of prewritten prayers
- Prewritten prayers help when you don’t know what to pray
Prewritten prayers can be extremely helpful, especially if/when you don’t know what to pray. Sometimes, in the midst of a situation or battle it’s hard to know how or what to pray. Why not benefit from the study and prewritten prayers of others?
- Prewritten prayers might often say it better than we could
Occasionally, the words somebody else has penned are so good that we can say, “I couldn’t have said it better myself.” It’s kind of like that with wedding vows too. Are prewritten vows any less heartfelt? No. Sometimes what has already been written could not be stated any better.
- Prewritten prayers can still be adapted
They could still be tweaked or customized to fit our situation. Just because it is written a certain way doesn’t mean that we can’t change it, add to it, or improve upon it.
Prewritten prayers in the Bible
There are many prayers written in the bible. If God did not want us to copy them or emulate them, I think He may have just said “so-and-so prayed about…” instead of directly listing the prayer word-for-word. I believe God gave us some prewritten prayers as models and some that we can even recite ourselves. Here are just a few examples…
In 1 Chronicles 4 we can find a list of the descendants of Judah, but there is a brief interruption in the middle. 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 contains a prayer that a man named Jabez prayed followed by a statement that God granted his request. Then it goes right back into the lineage in the following verses.
David prayed a number of prayers on various topics listed throughout the book of Psalms. We can see one of Daniel’s prayers written in Daniel 9:4-19 as he prayed for the forgiveness of his people.
Jesus gave the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). Many people pray this prayer as is. I think Jesus gave this specific prayer as an example for us on how to pray. In John 17, we also see a specific prayer that Jesus prayed for himself, his disciples and all believers.
Many of Paul’s prayers are great examples to recite for ourselves as well as others in our lives. My pastor has often instructed us to specifically pray Ephesians 1:17-23 and Ephesians 3:16-21 over ourselves and our loved ones. Additionally, we can see a couple other prayers that Paul prayed for believers in Philippians 1:9-11 and Colossians 1:9-12.
Take Some Practical Steps To Use Prewritten Prayers:
- First and foremost, don’t let anyone tell you that just because you didn’t author a certain prayer that it must not be from the heart. YOU know what’s in your heart, not them. Your prayer can be earnest and heartfelt, even if you didn’t come up with it yourself. Don’t question or doubt the effectiveness of prayer regardless of the source of the prayer.
“…The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” James 5:16b (NLT)
- Start a list of prewritten prayers. You can do this in a variety of ways. Here are a few ideas to start with:
- Print them or write them out on paper and keep them in a folder or journal.
- Find a book or two containing helpful prayers (check out some of the ones I currently use—see list above)
- Start a “Prayer” Pinterest board. I’ve seen lots of people name their board “War Room Prayers” inspired by the War Room movie (which I HIGHLY recommend by the way! The characters in this movie demonstrate the power of prewritten prayers too!)
- Make them heartfelt. When you pray a pray that already been written out for you, pray from the heart. Find prayers that fit YOUR specific situation. Feel free to adjust or customize the prayers. Remember that “vain repetitions” will not produce results (Matthew 6:7).
- Don’t ONLY pray prewritten prayers. Obviously, you need to pray some original or spontaneous prayers on a regular basis as well. Prewritten prayers are helpful but they should not be your only option.
How have prewritten prayers helped you? Do you need help with how to pray for something? Tell us about it by leaving a comment below.
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