Prayer is a vital part of the Christian life. It is our way of communicating with God, sharing our hearts with Him, and seeking His guidance and help.
Prayer is also very personal–it’s you communicating with God. You may sometimes be challenged to know what to pray in certain situations, especially in times of crisis. You may wonder if it is appropriate to use a prayer written by someone else.
So, Is it okay to use written prayers?
It is perfectly appropriate to use a written prayer as you pray to God. Written prayers can help you connect with God and focus on Him and the things you want to say without distractions. Written prayers can help you plan ahead and help you find the right prayers to convey your inner state.
I invite you to continue to read as we discuss perspectives for using written prayers, as well as some reasons why some may not want to use written prayers. We’ll also look at some prayers that you already may be familiar with, and even have prayed aloud.
I encourage you to also look at the article on how often should I pray, or the one about whether I should pray before or after reading the Bible. But most of all, I encourage you to pray to God, now, and each day, however you need or want to!
In Favor Of Using Pre-Written Prayers
There are several reasons in favor of using written prayers. First, written prayers can help us to focus our thoughts and emotions when we pray. When we are feeling overwhelmed or distracted, it can be difficult to know what to say to God.
A written prayer can provide us with a structure to follow, and it can help us to express our thoughts and feelings in a way that is both meaningful and coherent.
Second, written prayers can help us to grow in our knowledge of God. When we pray the words of others, we are exposed to new ways of thinking about God and His character. This can help us to develop a deeper understanding of our relationship with God and His love for us.
In 1 Thessalonians 5.17-18, the Apostle Paul encourages the Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing” and to “give thanks in all circumstances.” This could prove challenging at times when we can’t come up with the words to express what we are feeling.
Third, written prayers can be a source of comfort and encouragement. When we are going through difficult times, it can be helpful to read the prayers of others who have faced similar challenges. These prayers can remind us that we are not alone, and that God is with us in our suffering.
So, while there are some good reasons for how written prayers can aid our prayer journey, there are also valid reasons for understanding why some people may not be comfortable with doing that.
Why Some Don’t Use Written Prayers
There are also some good reasons for not wanting to use written prayers. This issue doesn’t need to get into taking sides or arguing about it, but rather accepting different perspectives with grace and kindness.
First, some people believe that it is not truly a prayer if we are not speaking our own words to God. They might say that prayer is a conversation between us and God, and that it is important for us to be able to express our own thoughts and feelings in our own words. Using words written by others could be seen as just reading out loud, and perhaps not “real” prayer.
In Matthew 6.6-13, Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray. In his teaching he emphasizes the importance of praying from a sincere heart, and He warns against using vain repetitions.
Second, some people worry that using written prayers can become a form of religious ritualism. They would say that we should not become so focused on the words of our prayers that we forget the importance of the attitude of our hearts.
They believe that the most important thing is to pray from a sincere heart, regardless of whether we use our own words or the words of others–the preference being our own words.
With this in mind, let us look at a few examples of some popular prayers that people have used over the years.
Examples Of Useful Written Prayers
I will briefly discuss four prayers that have been written down and are often used by Christians in different prayer scenarios. I’ll also mention a few others that you may want to explore.
1. The Lord’s Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer is the most well-known prayer in Christianity. It is found in the Gospel of Matthew (6:9-13) and the Gospel of Luke (11:2-4). In this prayer, Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray.
Ironically, while Jesus speaks to not praying vainly, or with mindless repetition, this very prayer is prayed millions of times each week in worship services all over the world. Are the people praying it, or merely repeating it without thinking of what they are praying? It is something to consider, isn’t it?
2. The Prayer Of Saint Francis
The Prayer of Saint Francis is a beautiful and inspiring prayer that is often used by Christians, especially in gatherings as we pray about peace. It is attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi, a 12th-century Catholic friar who is known for his love of God and his compassion for the poor.
3. The Serenity Prayer
The Serenity Prayer is a popular prayer that is often used by Christians and people of other faiths. It is also common in addiction recovery groups. It was written by Reinhold Niebuhr, a Protestant theologian and minister. The prayer asks for “the strength to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
4. The Hail Mary
Used exclusively in the Catholic tradition, the Hail Mary is a prayer that is used to honor the Virgin Mary. It is based on the words of the Archangel Gabriel when he greeted Mary with the news that she would conceive and bear the Son of God, as seen in Luke 1.28.
While Protestant Christians don’t typically pray this, it is an example of a written prayer, found in scripture, that some Christians use. These are just a few of the many well-known written prayers that Christians use when praying, whether in public gatherings or in private, personal prayer.
If you wish to use a written prayer in certain situations, then be at peace in doing so. Explore the hundreds of prayers on this site, or find a prayer that speaks to your circumstance. Of course, you can always speak your heart to God anytime, about anything! What matters is that you are turning your heart and mind to God in prayer.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to use written prayers is a personal one. There are valid arguments to be made on both sides of the issue, and it doesn’t need to be something that is divisive, but more of a personal decision.
If you choose to use a written prayer for a certain situation in your life, the most important thing is to find a way to pray that is meaningful and helpful to you.
In Hebrews 4.16 the writer of Hebrews reminds us that we have “confidence to approach the throne of grace” and to “receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Isn’t that encouraging?
Prayer is a gift from God. It is a way for us to communicate with Him, to share our hearts with Him, and to seek His guidance and help. I personally have benefited from praying my heart to God, as well as taking advantage of a written prayer to focus my mind toward God.
As God is infinite and beyond our full understanding, I don’t want to limit my connection to God in prayer. When I have been stuck, I have found a written prayer loosens my heart in a way that trying to think up words to say couldn’t.
Sometimes using a prayer written by someone else enlarges my perspective on a challenging situation, which is helpful and has often brought peace and comfort.
If you are really firmly against using any kind of written prayer in your prayer relationship with God, then I understand and you need not feel any pressure here. You keep walking with Jesus as you are and are led by God!
However, if you are open to making use of a written prayer, then I encourage you to do so. You might want to look at written prayers, like the many found on this website, as useful starting points to move you toward God. A written prayer can be a helpful tool to aid your prayer connection to God, especially when you are at a loss for words.
We welcome your comments and feedback in the comments section below. I hope this article has been helpful to you, as I want you to grow closer to God through prayer, of any kind!