Over the years it has been my practice, learned from others, to offer up praises and petitions framed by a passage of Scripture. Some of these passages were read in preparation for preaching, others offered material for meditation in daily devotion; still others were plundered specifically for the purpose of finding fresh material for prayer. As I continue to learn how to pray I have shared a few prayers with my family and friends for their use or adaptation. Here is an evening prayer for your encouragement:
"My Father in Heaven, I come this evening with praise.
You are the fountain of all wisdom and the mountain of all strength. If there could be weakness in you, it would still be stronger than my greatest strength. If there could be foolishness in you, it would still be wiser than our greatest wisdom.
Thank you Lord for giving me moments of wisdom today; and thank you for being my strength every day.
My Father in heaven, I also come this evening to confess.
I am not wise or important. I am one of the foolish people of the world, one of the weak, one of the lowly.
Although that is what I am, I confess that I am also one of the boasters of the world. I like people to think I am clever and good. I make a big deal of the little that I know. I argue quickly. I repent slowly. I like to hear my praises. I even praise myself.
Please forgive these sins, and the others that come to my mind. Forgive them all I pray.
My Father in heaven, I also come this evening for help.
This evening I not only repent of sins gone past. I ask that you will help me walk with you in the future.
Help me to boast - but only to boast in you, my lord. Help me to love praise, but to love the praise of your wonderful name. Help me to join those who live for you, instead of living for themselves.
Thank you for showing your wisdom in planning our salvation. Thank you for showing your strength in defeating sin, death, and the devil.
Please teach me to love Jesus Christ. Please teach my whole family to love him too. Help those who face loss, and grief, and disappointment, to find in Jesus enough joy for every day Help my by your Spirit, as I pray this in Jesus's great name. AMEN."
*This is the twelfth prayer in Dr. Van Dixhoorn's series on prayer.
Dr. Chad Van Dixhoorn (PhD, Cambridge University) is a Professor of Church History and the Director of the Craig Center for the Study of the Westminster Standards at Westminster Theological Seminary. He also serves as an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.