Old Prayers

Author: Taylor Eising — Host: Natty AndersonPosted on: May 2, 2024

Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
Old Prayers


In the churches I’ve grown up in, prayers were almost always made up on the spot. And these prayers are great! But lately, I’ve also been appreciating pre-written prayers. And I’m not the only one! In the early church, it wasn’t uncommon for Christians to pray the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-4) three times a day. And before that, the Israelites would regularly recite a prayer called the Shema (based on Deuteronomy 6:4-9) and the Ten Commandments (found in Exodus 20:1-17; Deuteronomy 5:6-21) as part of their prayers.

While spontaneous prayer is certainly important, I think these pre-written prayers offer a lot of value as well. They can remind us of the unchanging truth of the gospel, center us (the church) around our mission, and keep us focused on God’s goodness. Plus, sometimes when I’m praying, I don’t have the words to say. These pre-written prayers can give me a place to start, and they can be a jumping-off point—something in these prayers will often remind me of something else I want to talk to God about, thank Him for, or ask Him for.

And, by reciting these prayers, we are joining in with a tradition thousands of years old. We can pray prayers that have been prayed by hundreds of generations of people following God. And they’ll be prayed for years and generations to come. Not only that; we’re also uniting with believers around the world. These prayers have been spoken in thousands of languages by people from hundreds of different cultures. How amazing is that?

By trusting in Jesus, believing in His death and resurrection, we are united with our loving God and with each other. Reciting these prayers alongside our spontaneous prayers, especially with other believers, can be a powerful way to remember these truths. • Taylor Eising

• Consider taking a moment to reread Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Luke 11:1-13. What can these passages tell us about who God is? What can they tell us about who we are?

• As we read prayers from the Bible, we may end up memorizing them, and we can also use them as models for our own spontaneous prayers. Remember, pre-written prayers are great, but we shouldn’t stop making up our own prayers, too! Consider writing down some ideas of ways you could incorporate a prayer from the Bible (there are lots to choose from) into your life. Perhaps you could pray it before a meal, when you wake up, when you go to bed, with friends or family, etc.

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1 (NIV)