1. I am thankful for prayers of thankfulness.
“Count your blessings one by one” is a cliche, but lately I have been, sort of, doing that, praying prayers of thanks for the people, places, and things in my life each day before I pray anything else. In addition to giving praise to God and therefore a good idea all by itself, it is also a marvelous action to keep things in perspective. Living in an imperfect world means that usually when I go to pray something is distressing me, but after giving thanks for everything that is good in my life whatever is distressing me usually seems quite small indeed, even before I’ve actually started praying about it specifically.
2. The Lord’s Prayer is always appropriate and never quite the same.
We all pray the Lord’s Prayer all the time, so there is always a danger of it becoming a meaningless repetition of words. But if we, if I, can stay focused, it says just about everything I could possibly want to say – not always in the same way. I’ve noticed my thoughts, when praying the different phrases, will vary depending on whatever is on my mind that day. Sometimes “give us this day our daily bread” means “help me to do my job well”, sometimes it becomes a prayer for people in the world who really do just need some bread, sometimes I think something spiritual by “daily bread”. When life is difficult, “your kingdom come” is a prayer of passion, but after a good conversation with a non-Christian friend I think I whisper “but not yet!” afterwards. 🙂
3. There’s an app for that!
I remember my wife saying that one of the activities she did with her, I think, youth group in high school was to visit downtown Chicago and ask people if they had any prayer requests. Kind of an odd thing, I think – I don’t generally share prayer requests with strangers – but from her telling, some people were quite grateful for the opportunity. When playing with our new Android phone, I came across perhaps the ultimate example of this anonymous sharing in an app called Prayers to Share! You can post prayer requests for other app-users to see, and then, just as Facebook has a “like” button, this app has a “pray” button, so you can let people know you have prayed for their request! You can also leave a comment. I haven’t used the app – like I said, I don’t generally share requests anonymously – but I think it is a neat, if strange, idea.