Jesus rebuked prayers fuelled by hypocrisy (Matt 6:5) and filled with meaningless words (Matt 6:7). Instead, the privilege of addressing our heavenly Father is to be fuelled by true worship (Matt 6:9-10) and filled with genuine petition (Matt 6:11-13).

The entire collection of the Psalms demonstrate how it would perhaps be wise to compose our prayers very carefully! Although our public prayers (like the Psalms) are perhaps better arranged than our private prayers, our private prayers are still the true measure of our hearts (Matt 6:6) and therefore need the same sincerity and purpose.

Take therefore some of the prayers of the saints that the Lord has recorded for our benefit, and craft a prayerful expression of true worship to the Lord from it. We might be very familiar with the “praise and petition” structure of the Lord’s Prayer, but all the other recorded prayers in the Scripture have something to teach us too.

Here are some other prayers to open your Bible to as a guide to your own heart on how to remove all hypocritical emptiness from your prayers and filled them instead with purposeful meaning.

  • Daniel 9:3-19
  • Ephesians 1:16-23
  • 1 Kings 8:22-53 (very long, but a clear repetition of the primary purpose of that prayer)
  • Psalm 139
  • John 17:20-26

By way of getting started, take one of the above prayers, identify the item of prayer in each verse or section, and compose your own equivalent of it for your prayer. Write out your prayer for the sake of clarity and precision, and then bring it to the Lord in direct address to Him.

“And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matt 6:6, 18).