In times of uncertainty, it is often hard to know how to pray. Does prayer even make a difference? And if so, how do I know God is listening?
For direction, I look to Jesus, who often went off alone by himself to pray. If Jesus thought prayer was important, then I should probably make prayer a priority too. As to whether God is actually listening, Scripture says that he is. The Psalms, in particular, are full of promises that God hears us when we pray. Following are ten prayers, taken from the Psalms that assures us God is listening:
- The prayer of the repentant, “Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love,” Psalm 51:1.
- The prayer of the sincere, “The Lord is close to all who call upon him, yes, to all who call upon him in truth,” Psalm 145:18.
- The prayer of the humble, “Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble,” Psalm 138:6.
- The prayer of the ignorant, “Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow,” Psalm 35:4.
- The prayer of the poor, “He listens to the prayers of the destitute, He will not reject their pleas,” Psalm 102:17.
- The prayer of the helpless, “Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless, surely you will hear their cries and comfort them,” Psalm 10:17.
- The prayer of the hungry, “He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry,” Psalm 146:7.
- The prayer of the sick, “O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health,” Psalm 30:2.
- The Prayer of the broken in spirit, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit,” Psalm 34:18.
- The prayer of the righteous, “The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to rescue him each time,” Psalm 34:17.
Not sure how to pray? First, ask God to lead you. Then use, any of the Psalms above – or another that comforts you – and personalize it by replacing a pronoun with your own name or the name of someone you love.
For the first verse, I might pray, “Lord, be close to me. Help me to call upon you in truth.” Or, for the second, if I was praying for a friend, I might pray, “Have mercy on _____.” Then continue praying for that person as the Lord guides you. Whenever you get stuck, just return to the scripture.
If you have a Bible or look up a particular Psalm on the Internet, you’ll find even more wonderful words to pray. So let us all come together as we pray for our communities and health care workers and leaders and for our world, knowing that God hears and answers prayer.
Meadow Rue Merrill, author of the award-winning memoir, Redeeming Ruth, writes for children and adults from a little house in the big woods of mid-coast Maine. She is also the author of the Lantern Hill Farm children’s picture book series. All personal proceeds from the sales of these books benefit children in the developing world. Connect at www.meadowrue.com