Some of the least recognised, but profoundly impactful, especially over time, ministry of some pastors has been the public prayers during worship services. This reflects a heritage of the importance of public prayers in the lives of believers. The book of Psalms is the Bible’s way of modelling the relevance of public prayers to those who hear (or read, or sing) them. The Puritan Valley of Vision has become a valued part of private worship for the prayers recorded therein by pastors of a by-gone era. A more modern example of the same is the collection of the public prayers of John MacArthur in At the Throne of Grace. What all these aids in worship demonstrate is the timeless value of a Scriptural prayer. The prayers in the Psalms, the Valley of Vision, and At the Throne of Grace were all prayed at one only time by only one person, and yet, inasmuch as they are sprung out of specific Scriptures, they are timeless in their ministry to true worshippers.
Besides learning from the public prayers recorded in these collections and besides learning from the public prayers of your own church’s worship services and prayer meetings, you can worship God through your own prayers in a more mature way by praying the Bible. Read a passage of Scripture, and when you come across a truth about God, turn it into an item of praise. When you read a command, plead for grace to obey it. When you see a rebuke, repent and ask for forgiveness. When you notice an encouragement, thank the Lord.
Here is an example from reading James 1:12-15
Than you God for being a God of blessing. My life is so often filled with trial and temptation, and I desperately need to learn more steadfastness. Thank you therefore that you do not condemn me when weak, but offer blessing instead.
The greatest blessing from you that I long for is the crown of life. You promised it to all who love you, and therefore it is with great confidence that I long for that blessing. Help me therefore to remain steadfast in all the hard times in this life.
God, you are good, and only good, and no evil has ever originated with you. What a wonderful truth that is to me when sin and evil is so common in this world, and God, I confess, is even too common in my own life. May I never ever blame you for my sin, but always confess my sin as coming from my own heart. Keep me sensitive to every desire within me that draws me away from you and that tempts me to sin. Give me the insight into my own heart to kill sin long before it manifests itself in a sinful word or deed.
God I know that sin leads to death and that condemnation for all eternity is the fitting punishment for sin. May that knowledge help me understand sin better, understand the pattern of temptation better, and understand my own expectations of life better. In all this, help me understand the great difference between the fruit of sin, which is death, and the blessing of steadfastness, which is the crown of life.
Thank you that in you there is no evil, and that no temptation of mine comes from you. Instead, from you is only good. Forgive me for my sinful desires and my sinful deeds. Thank you for your abundant blessing awaiting me when the fight against sin is over. Amen.