Prayerlessness is the great enemy of true happiness. If we give up on prayer, or refuse to pray, we surrender our seat at the very source of the highest and fullest joy. “You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2).
But even those of us who do pray can find ourselves in danger of forfeiting prayer’s fullness as we fall into stale ruts of familiar words and repeated requests. We wake up each day, say the same prayers, and wonder why it doesn’t feel more real and life-changing.
As we walk through the valley of the shadow of rut, many of us just put our heads down and hope for better days. But the Bible speaks too often and too highly of prayer for us to stay here long. Yes, we may know the Lord’s Prayer by heart, but those five verses are not the only guide we have to help us pray. God has given us all kinds of routes out of daily ruts in prayer. Take Psalm 86, for example. Here are seven simple daily prayers drawn from David’s prayer.
1. Listen to my prayer.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. (Psalm 86:6)
David wrote an entire book of divinely inspired song-prayers to God, so you would think he might know that God hears all our prayers. But over and over again, he still pleads with God to listen (Psalm 4:1, Psalm 17.6″ data-version=”esv” data-purpose=”bible-reference”>17:6, Psalm 27.7″ data-version=”esv” data-purpose=”bible-reference”>27:7, Psalm 28.2″ data-version=”esv” data-purpose=”bible-reference”>28:2, Psalm 30.10″ data-version=”esv” data-purpose=”bible-reference”>30:10 and more). Do you ever ask God to hear your prayer—or do you just assume he will?
The ever-present help of God can make us prone to take him for granted. We hear, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you,” and quietly, even subconsciously, we begin to presume that God exists to meet our needs. That kind of entitlement, though, robs God’s promise of its power and empties our prayer-life of its wonder.
God Almighty, the sovereign and infinite Maker of heaven and earth, hears your prayers. Don’t ever, ever take God’s ear for granted. Know his holiness, and your sin, well enough not to presume he will listen, but for Jesus’ sake. Ask him to hear one more prayer.
2. Save me, and keep me.
Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day. (Psalm 86:2–3)
In the face of all his enemies, David looked to our God for protection and deliverance. He was often surrounded on every side, threatened in every way imaginable. But he found hope and confidence in his sovereign, unchanging Father in heaven (Psalm 18:2).