And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Psalm 103.1
As we continue thinking about ways to pray, particularly focusing on patterns that we can use to pray, I would like to turn to a more "biblical" model. Biblical is used in quotes because it is not more holy or Scriptural than the other models we have used, but because the outline comes directly from the Bible itself. This pattern can be found in the first several verses of Psalm 103. You might want to open your Bible to that chapter as we go through this outline. This will be a brief introduction to praying the Bible, or using the Psalms in your prayer.
- Bless the Lord (Psalm 103.1). We can always begin our prayers by praising the Lord. Here we tell God how much we love him and how important his Son is to us. This is maybe the most awkward part of prayer, but it also can be the thing that provides the most blessing.
- Forget not his benefits (Psalm 103.2). We should never neglect to thank God for all the blessings that we have received. I like this pattern because it puts thanksgiving so close to praise. They are complementary. Praise him for who he is and thank him for what he has done.
- Pray for forgiveness (Psalm 103.3). Never forget to repent of your sins and ask God's forgiveness. He is willing to forgive anything and everything. Our problem is that too often we think that our sins are too great, or that we are too far gone. As you pray for forgiveness, you should also be sure to ask God for help in receiving his forgiveness and forgiving yourself.
- Pray for healing (Psalm 103.3). There is never anything wrong with asking God for physical help. Throughout the Gospels Jesus heals all kinds of diseases for all sorts of people. I believe that God's will is for his people to be healthy.
- Pray for redemption (Psalm 103.4). It is God who saves us and redeems our lives. He has paid for us. It is appropriate for us to seek his redemption. There are many situations in which we struggle with anxiety, difficulty and depression. God offers redemption so that we can begin to minimize, and ultimately eliminate, such situations.
- Pray for lovingkindness (Psalm 103.4). The gifts that God gives include things like peace, joy and lovingkindness. We should ask God to fill us with those things so that; 1) Our lives can be more fulfilled; and 2) We can share them with others.
- Pray for renewal (Psalm 103.5). Our spiritual lives are of great concern to God, and should be to us as well. Pray that God will keep us close to him. Pray that you will always follow him closely. And pray that you will be encouraged to always be faithful.
Prayer: Lord God, continue to teach me to pray. Help me to find a way, a pattern, a discipline that suits me. Teach me how I can be blessed by you, how I can be a blessing to you, and how I can bless others through my prayers and my life. Amen.