Books of prayers are easily available to us. They are in brick and mortar book stores; they are online. I have other peoples’ prayers on my Kindle.
The authors range from contemporary folk to early church fathers and mothers of the Christian faith. And, let’s not forget the prayers that are found in Scripture itself, both in the Old and New Testaments. Regularly other peoples’ prayers are part of my daily devotional life.
When using other people’s prayers, we are making their words our own. Most of us know that sometimes we aren’t able to adequately say what we are feeling, and others’ prayers can capture our feelings even better than our own words do.
Reading these prayers on a regular basis also has the value of reinforcing the categories and concepts that our prayer should address. Voicing words, and even addressing them to God, don’t guaranteed that we are praying well. When praying, we want both the thoughts and the motives behind those thoughts to be God approved. Prayers by others can aid us in these regards.
Praying amiss is a waste of time, as well as dangerous. Dangerous because verbalizing our thoughts in our prayers has the possibility of creating false expectations, both for us who pray, and for those who may be hearing us pray. So, let’s allow the prayers of others who have journeyed the Christian life be catalysts as we evaluate what we are thinking, saying, and expecting in our personal prayer life.