Hughes Oliphant Old wrote, “For many generations American Protestants have prized spontaneity in public prayer. One has to admit, however, that the spontaneous prayer one often hears in public worship is an embarrassment to the tradition. It all too often lacks content. It may be sincere, but sometimes it is not very profound.”
In his latest book Dumbfounded Praying, Harold Best wrote, “I believe more than ever that the age-old craft of writing prayers should be re-visited by all of us, for it accomplishes three things. First, the writer is literally forced into levels of thought, scriptural usage, and architectural cogency that are not possible in the kind of spontaneous praying that one usually does in private, and sad to say, is often found in the typical pastoral prayers in corporate worship. Second, even though writing prayers takes time, time is the very thing we need and must take to bring prayer into a greater sweep and cogency. But third, what goes around comes around: the more we tackle and work through the really tough issues and the more we force these into thought-out and written form, the more skilled we can become in extemporaneous prayer.”
My friend and ministry colleague, Dr. Georges Boujakly is particularly adept at scripted praying. Georges writes a prayer each week that is widely distributed through a Cyber prayer site. He has set a goal to write a morning and evening prayer for every day of the month and is convinced that this rhythm of prayer is wholesome and needed. He wrote, “To go to bed with the language of God on our minds, and to awake with the language of God on our lips are excellent ways to end and start our days.”
Below is Georges’ profound prayer offering for this week:
James 1:2-8; Matthew 7:7-8
Wisdom, mercy and holiness belong to our Maker. Our image is Yours and Yours is ours. In Your wisdom You numbered our days. Make us true sons and daughters of the Wise, Holy, and Merciful One. Blessed be Your Name.
How of little wisdom, how short of mercy, how unholy am I? Yet how blessed that Jesus is mine and the foretaste of glory divine is mine! In Your mercy You see how little of Your wisdom I know, in Your wisdom You see how unholy I am. Yet unwilling for me to remain in my state, You delivered me, and daily are remaking me after Your will. Bless You Father Most Holy, Most Wise, and Most Merciful for the faint throb of my heart to partake of Your divine nature.
My sin has not stopped You from desiring my fellowship today. Have mercy, I pray.
My willful distance is no hindrance to Your pursuit of me. Draw near me, I pray.
The hound of heaven dogs my steps on the path of peace. I rest in Your peace.
I resign my will yet again and submit it to Yours.
How may I come before such a Holy and Merciful God? With humble heart and chastened will. I may come as a redeemed son by the blood of the Lamb.
My Jesus, dispel my anxious thoughts, tonight! Purify my desires. Take away my jealousy and envy with which the world lures me. Give me health and long life so to praise You all the days of my life. Heal my sin-broken heart and give me the hope of the eternal cleansing that awaits all the faithful. Make my heart ache for godly beauty. In Your beauty I delight and from Your gracious hand I will receive the desires of my heart.
Where shall I find my peace except in my Father’s will?
Where shall I find my rest except in my Father’s love?
Where shall I find my joy lest I find it in serving my Father?
I remember tonight friends and foes. For _________ and ___________ and _________ I pray for blessings from above.
For those lamenting the tragedies of life, I pray your constant presence.
For those with heavy burdens, I pray for the easy yoke of Christ to keep them close.
For those who are reaching unreached people groups in the uttermost parts of the world, I pray for the arrival of the kingdom of God in their midst in repentance and trust.
Father, be near me tonight. Watch me and delight in me as your beloved son/daughter. Be pleased Abba. Hear my prayers in Jesus’ name. Amen.
1. As you ponder the wisdom, mercy and holiness of God, what have these truths meant to you thus far in your journey with Christ?
2. What friend of yours may benefit from hearing of the mercy of God in your life? How will you go about sharing such mercy? Ask the Teacher to show you and to whom.
3. What will you hide in your heart from this prayer?
1. The mercy, wisdom and holiness of God belong not only to individuals but also to the church as a whole. Before God, confess any absence of these truths from your church’s life.
2. Confession is humbling but refreshing and comes with the desire for change. Ask God to change you and your church to be more of his image to your community.
3. Name some of your friends and foes upon whom you wish to pray God’s blessing. Collectively, join with others in praying the blessings of wisdom, holiness, and mercy of God into their lives.
 Hughes Oliphant Old, Leading in Prayer: A Workbook for Worship (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1995), 5.
 Harold M. Best, Dumbfounded Praying (Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2011), xix.