Prayer of intercession: Lord, teach us to pray

Child Praying MS ClipartLord, teach us to pray. We really don’t know how.

If we bring you the details of our lives,
The bumped knees and parking spaces,
The lunch menu and what to wear,
We are in danger of trivialising prayer,
Of treating you as our personal fairy godmother.

Even our prayers for the sick,
And, Lord, there are so many we love and care for,
Even those prayers become shopping lists of things we want done:
People to be healed, problems to be sorted,
Lives to be straightened out:
“Here’s a prayer, Lord, now please fix these problems.”

And when our prayers focus on global events:
Zimbabwe’s elections, climate change
And the interminable conflicts of the Middle East;
Or politics, corruption and service delivery failures;
Our prayers become impersonal.
We have nothing to contribute and nothing to do,
Except complain and criticise. And our prayers become:
“God, you sort it out while we get on with our lives.”

Lord, teach us how to talk with you.
Not to bring you our lists, whether global or personal,
But just to talk with you, as we do with each other
When we raise issues that concern us,
Speak passionately about things that trouble us,
And express outrage over injustice and suffering.

Teach us to walk with you, on quiet days and busy days;
When we are blessed and full of peace,
And when we are angry and trembling with rage.
Help us to talk to you about our temptations and our weaknesses,
As well as our strengths and our delights.

And, Lord, as we bring you the cares and joys
Of our lives and of our world,
Help us to listen.
Help us to hear you say, “I care too. I, too, am angry.
I gave my life for this and for these.”

Help us, also, to hear you as you answer our prayers;
Calling us to go out in your Spirit,
To preach, to teach, to heal
And, through it all, wherever we are, to love—above all, to love.

In Jesus’ name,

This (Supplication) and the previous prayer (Adoration) were used to introduce two sections of last week’s worship service. The service was divided into four sections along the lines of the A-C-T-S method of prayer: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication (intercession). I was asked to introduce each section with a prayer, which was followed by songs and hymns. The confession and thanksgiving prayers were communal, extempore prayers.


Filed under Prayers and Meditations

19 responses to “Prayer of intercession: Lord, teach us to pray

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  2. Oh, yes. Hmm. Only this morning I was writing a list in my journal… this is exactly what I needed to read today; a gentle reminder that my Abba wants to spend time with me, not just receive a list of requests. And then when I do just that, how much better I feel. Thank you.


  3. Great way to pray. Thank you for the reminder of what is more important. God Bless brother.


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  6. Judy

    That’s it really!! When prayer becomes a part of who we are and not seeing God as a separate entity but someone who is within us at all times and someone who we commune with as easily as every breath that we take! That is when our completeness becomes real!! God Bless Ian.


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  9. How true, we often bring laundry lists of prayers to God! I am guilty of this but I am reminded that we all love imperfectly and pray imperfectly. So that we do not feel condemned, we have Jesus our intercessor who sits at the right hand of God our Father, and so every one of our imperfect prayer is made perfect in Him. God bless your church with a new revelation of prayer and may everyone be transformed into a praying powerhouse!


    • When prayer becomes real conversation from the heart, then the content is not nearly as important as the process. As Mark Buchanan (The rest of God) says, intimacy is way more precious than rightness.
      Thanks Flor!


  10. Thank you! We flop through many layers of neediness until we arrive at the heart of prayer. We can’t find the core of desire, we don’t know what we want, until we let go. Our name is legion – a thousand wants – until we see the face of the One who stands on the shore. And He cuts through to the heart.


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  12. Wonderful as always, Ian–I’m blessed to say that I now have that kind of relationship, where talking to the Lord comes so naturally; like today, as I was walking to the grocery store–just knowing He listens and really hears is sufficient answer some days. God bless you and your family–love, sis Cj


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