If we want to read and to pray the prayers of the Bible and especially the Psalms, therefore, we must not ask first what they have to do with us, but what they have to do with Jesus Christ. We must ask how we can understand the Psalms as God’s Word, and then we shall be able to pray them. It does not depend, therefore, on whether the Psalms express adequately that which we feel at a given moment in our heart. If we are to pray aright, perhaps it is quite necessary that we pray contrary to our own heart. Not what we want to pray is important, but what God wants us to pray. If we were dependent entirely on ourselves, we would probably pray only the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer. But God wants it otherwise. The richness of the Word of God ought to determine our prayer, not the poverty of our heart.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Psalms: the Prayerbook of the Bible
In the pinch of the campaign up there, when everybody seemed panic-stricken, and nobody could tell what was going to happen, oppressed by the gravity of our affairs, I went to my room one day, and I locked the door, and got down on my knees before Almighty God, and prayed to Him mightily for victory at Gettysburg. I told Him that this was His war, and our cause His cause, but we couldn’t stand another Fredericksburg or Chancellorsville. And I then and there made a solemn vow to Almighty God, that if He would stand by our boys at Gettysburg, I would stand by Him. And He did stand by your boys, and I will stand by Him. And after that (I don’t know how it was, and I can’t explain it), soon a sweet comfort crept into my soul that God Almighty had taken the whole business into his own hands and that things would go all right at Gettysburg.
Abraham Lincoln, in 1863, when asked about the Battle at Gettysburg
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)
I confess that I have great fear of conflict, hardship, and sacrifice. And this fear has made me less diligent, and it has minimized my worship of you. But through your Spirit you have spoken to me, and reminded me that rather than the absence of those things, it is in the triumph over them where your glory and power shines brightest. Give me a heart of obedience and of worship. Help me never forget to worship and praise you, knowing by faith that when I do, your Spirit and power falls fresh upon me.
In Jesus’ name,
To our loving and heavenly Father,
I am a broken vessel. And there are some parts of my nature that are so sinful, so dark, and so ugly that I don’t deserve to be loved. So I pray that you give me a heart of repentance. Convict my heart to know that when I recognize my need for you, and humble myself before you, you embrace me, and you cloak me in your grace. You make me more perfect, more beautiful, and more deserving of love than I ever thought I could be. In you, I know that I deserve to be loved, because you love me so deeply. Help me to fulfill my need to be loved not by binding myself to the created things of this world, but by seeking first to have an intimate and growing relationship with you,
In Jesus’ name,