Recently some friends and I had a good conversation about prayer. They felt inhibited to pray publicly out loud. Grew up that way.
Learning to pray in public is a good thing. God invites the conversation, it builds faith and encourages others.
An easy and biblical way to form your prayers is to make a “prayer sandwich.”
I first heard this recipe taught by Bob Webber. (See all of Robert Webber’s Books.) It’s an approach modeled in many of the Psalms (see 103) and other places in scripture such as Jehoshaphat’s prayer in 2 Chronicles 20.
To make a prayer sandwich, Praise, Ask, and Thank.
1. Praise (or bless). You praise God for His character and/or attributes. In your own words, say something that declares truth. Agree with the reality of who God is. Proclaim your beliefÂ in His ability to do His will.
“Father I praise you that you are ________ .Â ( Examples: Almighty, creator of the universe, the God who redeems and heals, etc … )
2. Ask (or petition). Then make your request. Petition (or supplication) can be personal or intercessory.
Devotional prayer is asking God to help you grow in your capacity to know and love Him, asking for wisdom, guidance, healing or some kind of intervention.
Lord, help me with __________.Â (Examples: test, illness, difficulty, etc …. )
Intercessory prayer is intervening for the needs of others. You ask for God’s promises to be fulfilled, for his kingdom purposes to be accomplished.
Lord, help _______ (name of person/s)Â with _______.Â (whatever the situation is)
3. Thank (or bless) God for his answer. He is ready, willing and able to answer. Revelations 8:3-5Â describes the prayers of the saints as incense lifted up to heaven, and returned as answered prayer. What goes up , must come down.
Thank you God for ________ (Examples: Your love, mercy, faithfulness, etc ….. ).Â
I trust you. Amen.
Background: This prayer structure is loosely based on the Hebrew amidah. The opening blessing section is known as the shevach (“praise”), designed to “inspire the worshipper and invoke God’s mercy.” The middle composes the bakashah (“request”), with personal requests, communal requests, and a final request that God accept the prayers. The final blessings, known as the hoda’ah (“gratitude”), thanks God for answering, and the opportunity to serve the Lord.
And there you have it, a simple method for praying.Â
When you pray, make a prayer sandwich.