I need help praying. We all do. And our heavenly Father knows that. So he's placed his Spirit into our hearts and his word into our hands. The Good Book, and the Book of Psalms in particular, is the prayer book of God's people. It's part of how our Father helps us to pray. So I've tried writing prayers based on several of the psalms. In my church history classes, we begin class by reading a psalm and then praying—actually praying!—one of these prayers.
Heavenly Father, in your tender concern for your people, not only have you given us in the Book of Psalms a wealth of examples of the ways in which your children may approach you—not only have you given us these models, but through them, through everything the psalmists wrestle with, you issue to us an open invitation to speak our hearts to you. Still, we are easily tempted to decline your invitation, and so you move us to prayer also with astounding promises of blessing. You placed here at the beginning of the Book of Psalms, the beginning of the church’s prayer book, the promise that you yourself will surely in your richness bless, and in your jealous and almighty love watch over the righteous man, the man who delights to obey and meditate on your word. Dear Father, make us to be this righteous man, that we may share in your blessing and protection! And have mercy upon us, Father, that even with such an invitation and such promises before us, we still play the wicked man. We are so easily deceived, and we so easily deceive ourselves, into thinking that some other way than yours will somehow bear sweet fruit instead of bitter disappointment. And when we play the wicked man, Father, and begin wickedly to doubt the sincerity of your invitations to call upon you and the certainty of your promises to bless us, would you in those seasons of doubt graciously remind us that, not ultimately we, but Jesus Christ is that righteous man in Psalm 1 and also our perfect righteousness. Remind us that, not in ourselves, but in him, we will most surely flourish in life, and, at death, we will most surely stand in the judgment. This, Father, we pray, with gratitude and joy, in the incomparable name of Jesus. Amen.