Prayer can often be boring. Tiresome even. Why? Because we pray the same old things in the same old way, says Donald Whitney in his Spiritual Disciplines book.
He’s right you know.
Most prayers are about someone being sick, someone needing to know Jesus, someone needing money, someone needing comfort. They start to sound the same after a while.
Whitney’s way of fixing this issue is to pray through the Psalms. Here’s how it works:
- Pick one of the Psalms of the day. (There are 5 for each day. One is the current date–today is February 13–so Psalm 13. Then add 30 to the date four times, and you get your 5 Psalms of the day. Psalm 13, 43, 73, 103, 133.
- Read the Psalm.
- Use the Psalm to spur your thoughts in prayer. For example, Psalm 13:1a says “How long oh Lord? Will You forget me forever?” This Psalm might spur your thoughts in this way: “Lord, my wife and I have been praying about Your direction in life for what seems like forever. We know You are in control, and yes, we trust You. But would you be gracious in answering our prayer?”
- For this exercise, don’t worry about correctly interpreting the Psalm. Yes, I said that, and so does Whitney. We know later on in Psalm 13, David reveals that he is asking God to answer him about his enemies, not about whether or not God wants him to take a job at the Post Office (God probably doesn’t want you to do that, BTW–just kidding). The purpose of this is not to interpret the Psalm and correctly apply it. The purpose is to help us pray about the same issues that are on our hearts, but in a more interesting, different way. You’re not leading a Bible study, and you’re not studying the Bible at this time either, so it’s OK to not nail interpretation during these prayers.
My spiritual disciplines class at Cofer’s talked about this and practiced it this past Wednesday night. We ended up praying for about 20 minutes straight. It really changes the way you pray, and in a good way. I highly recommend it. For a more detailed explanation, check out Whitney’s book.