Where Is The Prayer Book?

May 5, 2014

Where is The Prayer Book?

            If you are dependent on your prayer book to be able to communicate with God, you better take good care of it.  Inevitably the time will come when you will be in desperate need of communion with God.  Perhaps some say, “But I pray in my own words.”  I’m glad you do, but if so, why do you need a prayer book?  What function does it have?

There are hundreds of thousands of people in this world who, in their childhood and youth, were accustomed to hearing prayers read from a prayer book.  Most likely they were given an ornately bound prayer book as a Christmas or birthday present.  Now, however, that prayer book has been put away, perhaps in a trunk in the attic.  Why?  It is because they have found a more direct and personal way of communicating with God.

The change took place when they learned that they could, and should have a personal relationship with God.  Perhaps it began as a result of reading John 1:12 which says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”  God invites us to come to him with our needs.  Philippians 4:6 says, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

You may search in vain in a prayer book to find a portion that says what you want to say to God.  It is a cold, mechanical approach to God.  Since we are children of God, we go to him as our Heavenly Father.  In three different verses in the New Testament the term “Abba” is used.  Romans 8:15 is one of them.  It says, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”  We are told that  Abba is a term of endearment.  It is like a child that calls his father “daddy.” I have heard Christian young people address God in prayer as daddy.  To me, that is on the border of a lack of reverence.  The other extreme is to read to God out of a book

Some justify written prayers by citing the Lord’s prayer in Luke 11:1-4.  He said to his disciples “When you pray, say….”  It is quite generally believed that this is a model prayer.  In Matthew 6:9, where the Lord’s prayer is found again, he said “After this manner therefore pray ye….

Once while we were missionaries in Argentina, I was called on to have part in a funeral for a man who was shot in cold blood in front of his wife at the little fruit and vegetable store she managed. The funeral was held in the front yard at their house.  There wasn’t room in their little house to have it inside.  They don’t do funerals in a formal way there like they are done in the States.  What they do is more like what is called a viewing here.  A host of friends, neighbors, and relatives gathered in front of the house and in the street waiting for the funeral car to come with the body.  When it arrived the casket was opened in the yard.  Another car arrived with the flowers.  Some lit candles alongside the casket.  The service began when the priest stepped up, opened his prayer book, and read a portion from it.  Then the family asked me to pray.  I can’t remember the exact words of my prayer, but I’m sure I prayed by name for that grieving mother and widow and her children.  No doubt, I asked God to give them an abundant measure of grace based on the promise of II Corinthians 9:8.  “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”

I felt sorry for that priest who had so little to offer that poor grieving widow.  Numerous times after the funeral that lady thanked my wife and I for being such a help and consolation to her at that time of great need.

If you are a genuine child of God it doesn’t matter if you have misplaced your prayer book.  You don’t need one.  You can pour your heart out to God in your own words.  Tell God how you feel and what your needs are.  Praise and thank him for his goodness.  When Peter stepped out of the boat and started walking on the water to go to Jesus, suddenly he realized that he was sinking.  He didn’t have a prayer book in his hands.  Matthew 14:30 says he cried out “Lord save me.” In the Bible we never read of Servants of God or disciples of Jesus praying by means of a prayer book.  A prayer book is an invention of men.  It is used by professing Christians who have a distant relationship with God.  Romans 8:26-27 says, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.    And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net





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