The Bible is full of beautiful prayers we still use today – but what three stand out above the rest and why?
Pope Francis once said: “Our prayer cannot be reduced to an hour on Sundays. It is important to have a daily relationship with the Lord.”
There are many scriptures in the Bible speaking the importance of prayer, such as “In every place, then, I want the men to lift their hands up reverently in prayer, with no anger or argument.” – 1 Timothy 2:8
Prayer is one of the most important ways we communicate with God. Anyone who has experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit knows for a fact that prayer changes things – even the environment around you.
So how can we encounter God when we pray?
According to Christian Today, there are three ancient Biblical prayers to help us commune with Him.
The first is known as “The Jesus Prayer.”
This prayer is based on the way Jesus taught his disciples to pray, which can be found in Mark 10:47, Luke 18:13 and Matthew 16:16.
As it comes from several sources joined into one, the wording varies but the focus is simply, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Many Catholics understand the Jesus Prayer, which is also called the “prayer of the heart,” but how many people focus on the words and truly mean them when they pray?
Spiritual author Billy Kangas wrote: “More than just a prayer; when done in accordance with the teachings of the Church Fathers it becomes a way of life, and a vehicle for the Holy Spirit.
“It is a little phrase that becomes a catalyst to change the one who undertakes it to the very core, this is why it is so powerful. It has the ability to change a human being into a servant of God.”
The second ancient prayer is “A Prayer of Saint Augustine.”
St. Augustine often preached the importance of prayer. He spent much of his life, after converting, dedicated to preaching and praying with great fervor.
He also became a famous Catholic writer. The following prayer is an excellent way to communicate with the Lord on His love and perfect goodness:
Look upon us, O Lord,
and let all the darkness of our souls
vanish before the beams of thy brightness.
Fill us with holy love,
and open to us the treasures of thy wisdom.
All our desire is known unto thee,
therefore perfect what thou has begun,
and what thy Spirit has awakened us to ask in prayer.
We seek thy face,
turn thy face unto us and show us thy glory.
Then shall our longing be satisfied,
and our peace shall be perfect.
Finally, one of the most important prayers of ancient propriety and contemporary relevance is “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Author Sheridan Voysey presented a twist on the prayer inspired by Matthew 6:9-13:
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is is heaven.
Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.
(For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.)
Voysey asks we take three steps to read the prayer to get a deeper inspiration, meaning and feeling from it.
First: Read the prayer silently, feeling and directing the meaning to the Lord. Try praying it out loud next, to give more power to it.
Second: Read the prayer again, personalizing it by saying, “My Father in heaven…Give me today the food I need…”
Take your time to pray The Lord’s Prayer from the heart in a personal manner.
Third: Linger on each line while reading the prayer once more. Invite God to bring specific people, situations and responses to mind as you pray so you can pray separately for them afterward.
Give these three prayers and prayer techniques a try. If it seems silly at first, don’t be discouraged! Keep praying and God will come. Let us know how it goes in the comments below.