The Bible is our prayer book. We should not only read the word but also pray it. The Spirit uses the word to teach us how to pray, since we do not know how to pray as we ought (Rm 8:26). The following prayers are guaranteed by God to change lives because they are based on the word. Most of these prayers have been used for several years in evangelistic ministry. They have repeatedly put thousands of people in touch with the life-giving power of God. The prayer of a holy person "availeth much" (Jas 5:16 KJV). Never underestimate the power of a simple heart-felt prayer. Pray God's word, and see God's power.
Don't read this book. Let the Spirit pick out one prayer for you to pray. Let the Spirit take you through this book, prayer by prayer, over a period of months or years.
We entered into God's kingdom by being born again of water and the Spirit (Jn 3:5). We must be aware that we were baptized into Christ Jesus and therefore into His death and resurrection (Rm 6:3). This is the most important event that has ever happened to us and the basis for membership in God's family and our relationship with Him. Therefore, the Spirit will often call us to renew our baptismal promises.
The universal Church does this every Easter, but it is advisable to do it more frequently. When we renew our baptismal promises, we must consider the implications of renouncing all Satan's works, especially since Satan is well aware that we are rejecting him. We should also think about the reality that the God of the universe has chosen to adopt us and is our personal Father. We should consider the life-style changes resulting from believing Jesus is God, Lord, and Man born of the Virgin Mary. We no longer live for ourselves but for Him. We do His will and not ours. By faith, we enter into the realm of the invisible. We believe in the virgin-birth, our salvation through Jesus' death and resurrection, and the realities of heaven and hell. We believe in the Holy Spirit and the holy, Catholic Church. Now we have the privilege of renewing our baptismal promises.
Do you reject Satan? I do.
And all his works? I do.
And all his empty promises? I do.
Do you believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth? I do.
Do you believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father? I do.
Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting? I do.
Those of us who have been confirmed and prayed over for the Holy Spirit have the indwelling and the outpouring of the Spirit. Often, however, the Spirit is stifled by sin, selfishness, and pleasure-seeking (1 Th 5:19). We must stir into flame the Spirit's power so we will not give in to discouragement but walk ever more strongly in the power of the Spirit (2 Tm 1:6).
Re-enact your Confirmation. Ask your brothers and sisters in Christ to lay hands on you, and pray: "Receive the Holy Spirit" (Jn 20:22). If you were confirmed several years ago, ask for a little tap on the cheek, like the one the bishop gave you when you were confirmed. This is not nostalgia but a prayer of faith renewing your Confirmation. Set your heart on praising God in other languages (see 1 Cor 14:1). Also expect a new outpouring of wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, fear of the Lord, and much more (Is 11:2). Finally, seek above all the gift of prophecy (1 Cor 14:1). Now, lift your hands and receive a new anointing of the Holy Spirit.
It is a great challenge to continue to live and grow in the Spirit. Therefore, it is crucial to pray for those who have just received a new outpouring of the Spirit. For those who have received love in the Spirit (Col 1:8), pray unceasingly (in this order):
- May they "attain full knowledge of His will through perfect wisdom and spiritual insight" (Col 1:9).
- May they "lead a life worthy of the Lord and pleasing to Him in every way" (Col 1:10).
- May they "multiply good works of every sort and grow in the knowledge of God" (Col 1:10).
- May they "be endowed with the strength needed to stand fast, even to endure joyfully whatever may come" (Col 1:11).
- May they soon have a new life-style, a new wineskin, to hold the new wine of the Spirit (Lk 5:37).
- May they be devoted "to the apostles' instruction and the communal life, to the breaking of bread and the prayers" (Acts 2:42).
- May they put to death the works of the flesh by yielding to the Spirit (Rm 8:13). By the Spirit may they crucify the flesh (Gal 5:24) and not stifle the Spirit.
"I kneel before the Father from Whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name; and I pray:
- That He will bestow on you gifts in keeping with the riches of His glory.
- May He strengthen you inwardly through the working of His Spirit.
- May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith, and may charity be the root and foundation of your life.
Thus you will be able to grasp fully, with all the holy ones, the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ's love, and experience this love which surpasses all knowledge, so that you may attain to the fullness of God Himself. To Him Whose power now at work in us can do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine — to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations, world without end. Amen" (Eph 3:14-21).
(Put the names of your family members in place of the word "you" and "yours".)
"May our sons be like plants well-nurtured in their youth, our daughters like wrought columns such as stand at the corners of the temple. May our garners be full, affording every kind of store; may our sheep be in the thousands, and increase to myriads in our meadows; may our oxen be well laden. May there be no breach in the walls, no exile, no outcry in our streets. Happy the people for whom things are thus; happy the people whose God is the Lord" (Ps l44:12-15).
This prayer applies to circumstances when a husband is unbelieving and disobeying God's word. It applies to many marriages. In these situations, wives should pray both for their husbands and for themselves:
Heavenly Father, I pray that my husband will be won over to Jesus through my conduct. Give me a reverent purity in my way of life. May I be adorned with the hidden character of the heart expressed in the unfading beauty of a calm and gentle disposition (1 Pt 3:1, 2, 4). Father, show me what it means to be Your daughter, a bride of Christ, a temple of the Spirit, and a Christian woman. I repent of my sins and trust You completely. I put my husband, marriage, family, and life into Your hands in Jesus' name. Amen.
Father, may wives be their husbands' "delight", the "choicest of blessings", "like the sun rising in the Lord's heavens", like the "light that shines above the holy lampstand" (Sir 26:13-17). Amen.
Father, may husbands be strong men who are spiritual heads of their family, leaders in prayer (1 Tm 2:8), courageous and bold witnesses for Jesus, and victors over the evil one by the power of Your word (1 Jn 2:14). Amen.
"To err is human; to forgive is divine." Since forgiveness is divine, we can truly forgive only by God's grace. The Lord will give the miracle of forgiveness instantaneously (Mt 5:25). But many times we don't want to forgive. We should pray:
Father, I don't even want to forgive. Change my will. Make me willing to forgive, and then give me the power to forgive in Jesus' name. Amen
Father, may a reverent fear overtake me (Acts 2:43). Make me so aware of Your presence, power, and love that I will be amazed. May this amazement be so pervasive so as to overshadow everything else in my life, especially the fear of man.
Jesus, rend the sky and shake the earth (Is 63:19).
Father, use me and use me up (see 2 Tm 4:6).
Spirit, make me holy — no matter what it takes (Mt 5:6).
(Expect the unexpected.)
"O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay and You the Potter: we are all the work of Your hands" (Is 64:7).
In this seemingly innocuous prayer, we ask God to work with us as a potter molds clay. It's a prayer to be pounded, whirled, soaked, cut, and baked. Expect exciting changes.
God teaches us to pray by joyful shouts (Ps 89:16; Ps 66:1). Go somewhere where you won't disturb anyone and shout:
"Arise, O Lord, that Your enemies may be scattered, and those who hate You may flee before You" (Nm 10:35; Ps 68:2).
"Jesus is Lord!" (Phil 2:11)
"Viva Cristo Rey!" ("Praised be Christ the King")
"Maranatha!" (1 Cor 16:22; Rv 22:20)
Every Christian can receive wisdom by asking for it "in faith, never doubting" (Jas 1:5-6). Therefore, the key to receiving wisdom is to pray for freedom from doubt. Pray:
Father, give me wisdom (Wis 9:4) but first
give me faith. I repent of doubts that I have entertained. Holy Spirit, confirm me in Your love. Jesus, "beyond doubt, You are the Son of God!" (Mt 14:33) Amen.
Father, thank You for giving me the grace to repent and be forgiven of my sins. Thank You for the blood Jesus shed on the cross. Take the plank out of my eye (Mt 7:5), and give life to this person who is sinning (1 Jn 5:16). Amen.
"O Lord, there is none like You to help the powerless against the strong. Help us, O Lord, our God, for we rely on You, and in Your name we have come against this multitude. You are the Lord, our God; let no man prevail against You" (2 Chr 14:10).
Lord, appoint over us shepherds after Your own heart who will shepherd us wisely (Jer 3:15).
Father, I can't understand Your word without Your grace. I acknowledge my weakness so Your power can reach perfection in me (2 Cor 12:9). Send Your Holy Spirit to remind, teach, and guide me to the Truth (Jn 14:26; 16:13). May I share as soon as possible whatever You teach me (see Lk 8:15-16). Amen.
"O God, You are my God Whom I seek; for You my flesh pines and my soul thirsts" (Ps 63:2). May "all of us, gazing on the Lord's glory with unveiled faces" be "transformed from glory to glory" into Your "very image by the Lord Who is the Spirit" (2 Cor 3:18).
"Have mercy on me, O God, in Your goodness; in the greatness of Your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me. For I acknowledge my offense, and my sin is before me always" (Ps 51:3-5).
Holy Spirit, prove me wrong (Jn 16:8). Take me to the cross and let me see the connection between my sins and Jesus' crucifixion and death. Amen.
Jesus, give me specific Scripture passages to use in resisting the temptations of the evil one as You did (Mt 4:4, 7, 10). Amen.
Jesus, you healed by giving a command. Give to me "Doctor's orders" that will bring healing as I obey them by faith. Amen.
Jesus promises to give us His energy, mind, and joy. Therefore, we dare to pray: "Jesus, may I be 'impelled by that energy of' Yours 'which is so powerful a force within me' (Col 1:29). Thank You for giving me Your energy (Col 1:29), mind (1 Cor 2:16), and joy" (Jn 15:11). Amen.
Jesus, You promised me a new heart and a new spirit (Ez 36:26). May I not be conformed to the world (Rm 12:2). Give me a new gospel life-style. Where my treasure is, there will my heart be (Lk 12:34). May I want what You want. Amen.
Father, "those things I used to consider gain I have now reappraised as loss in the light of Christ. I have come to rate all as loss in the light of the surpassing knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ. For His sake I have forfeited everything; I have accounted all else rubbish so that Christ may be my wealth, and I may be in Him" (Phil 3:7-9). "I have been crucified with Christ, and the life I live now is not my own; Christ is living in me" (Gal 2:19-20). Jesus, You gave Your life for me; I give my life for You. Amen.
Father, may I hunger and thirst for righteousness (Mt 5:6), be made perfect in holiness, and be preserved "whole and entire, spirit, soul, and body, irreproachable at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Th 5:23).
Jesus, I accept my share in the authority You have given the Church over every demon (Mt 10:1). Satan, in Jesus' name, I disarm and despoil you (Lk 11:22). I bring down all your strongholds, sophistries, and proud pretensions (2 Cor 10:4-5). I cast you out in Jesus' name. Thank You Jesus for Your victory.
"Cleanse me from my unknown faults!" (Ps 19:13)
"Probe me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts, see if my way is crooked, and lead me in the way of old" (Ps 139:23-24).
"Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart find favor before You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer" (Ps 19:15).
- may I know that my "body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is within" (1 Cor 6:19).
- may I be determined to fight sexual temptation, even to the point of shedding blood (see Heb 12:4).
- may I not even mention impurity (Eph 5:3).
- may I guard my eyes and throw TV out of my life (Mt 5:28-29).
- may I be pure as Jesus is pure (1 Jn 3:3).
Father, Your grace is always sufficient (2 Cor 12:9). There is always a way out of every temptation, and You will never let me be tested beyond my strength (1 Cor 10:13). But sometimes I want the pleasure of slavery more than the victory of freedom. Let not the lustful cravings of the flesh master me, surrender me not to shameless desires (Sir 23:6). May I want to stop sinning. Amen.
Lord, "I want to see" (Mk 10:51; 2 Kgs 6:17).
(Write to us and tell us that God has opened your eyes.)
- Lord, "grant to your servants, even as they speak Your words, complete assurance by stretching forth Your hand in cures and signs and wonders to be worked in the name of Jesus, Your holy Servant" (Acts 4:29-30).
- "Give new signs and work new wonders, show forth the splendor of Your right hand and arm" (Sir 36:5).
- Father, may I proclaim the good news and have signs and wonders accompany me. May I expel demons, speak entirely new languages, handle serpents, drink deadly poison without harm, and heal the sick through the laying on of hands (Mk 16:15-20).
- "Deliver us by Your wonders, and bring glory to Your name, O Lord" (Dan 3:43).
- "As in the days when You came from the land of Egypt, show us wonderful signs" (Mic 7:15).
Jesus, I believe You can multiply loaves, fish, work, and money. I give You the only multipliable portion — I give You my all. Bless, break, and multiply it, especially through the Eucharist (Lk 9:16).
Jesus, my Lord, my God, my All (Jn 20:28).
Father, may I seek first Your kingdom and Your way of holiness, and a job will be given to me (Mt 6:33).
(Pray this prayer with caution because usually you are the answer to your own prayer.)
Father, Harvest-Master, send workers into the harvest (Mt 9:38).
Pope John Paul II has taught: "Prayer should always concern itself with the longing for unity, and as such is one of the basic forms of our love for Christ and for the Father Who is rich in mercy. In this journey which we are undertaking with other Christians toward the new millennium prayer must occupy the first place" (That They Be One, 102).
Therefore, pray: Father, I pray "that all may be one as You, Father" are in Jesus and He in You. I pray that they may be one in You, "that the world may believe that You sent" Jesus (Jn 17:21).
(To be prayed before a crucifix)
Holy Spirit, take me to the cross (Gal 3:1). At the foot of the cross may I come to hate sin and love sinners. May I be turned off to the world, crucified to it, and it to me (Gal 6:14). Amen.
"May the Lord increase you and make you overflow with love for one another and for all, even as our love does for you. May He strengthen your hearts, making them blameless and holy before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His holy ones" (1 Th 3:12-13).
(Put the name of your church, where there are "you" and "your".)
Father, I acknowledge that it is a sin not to evangelize. I repent. Forgive me. May I fall so much in love with Jesus that it would be normal for me to tell others about Him. Empower me by the Holy Spirit to be His witness (Acts 1:8). Amen.
Father, "let my eyes stream with tears day and night, without rest, over the great destruction which overwhelms" the Church and the world because of sin (Jer 14:17) (see also Lk 6:21).
"Oh, that my head were a spring of water, my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night over the slain of the daughter of my people" (Jer 8:23).
Crucified Jesus, thank You for sending Mary to be my mother (Jn 19:27). May she lay bare the thoughts of my heart (Lk 2:35) so I will be humble (Lk 1:38). Through Mary's intercession, may I receive the Spirit (Acts 1:14; 2:4). Do with me as You will. Amen.
Pope John Paul II has taught; "A great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an impassioned plea rise to God, the Creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group and association, from every family and from every heart of every believer. Jesus Himself has shown us by His own example that prayer and fasting are the first and most effective weapons against the forces of evil (cf. Mt 4:1-11). As He taught His disciples, some demons cannot be driven out except in this way (cf. Mk (9:29). Let us therefore discover anew the humility and courage to pray and fast so that power from on high will break down the walls of lies and deceit" (The Gospel of Life, 100). Therefore, pray:
Father, You have revealed to us that some demons can be driven out only by prayer and fasting (Mt 17:21). May I discover anew the humility and courage to pray and fast "as never before" so as to stop both surgical and chemical abortions. Lead us all to repentance and salvation. Amen.
"Now, Master, You can dismiss Your servant in peace; You have fulfilled Your word. For my eyes have witnessed Your saving deed displayed for all the peoples to see" (Lk 2:29:31).
Very few people have the courage to pray this prayer. Nevertheless, pray:
Father, "I wish to know Christ and the power flowing from His resurrection; likewise to know how to share in His sufferings by being formed into the pattern of His death" (Phil 3:10).
This may be the first time you have ever prayed like this. Consider carefully whether the Lord wants you to pray this:
Father, may I be so in love with You as to feel compelled to seek new and greater ways to express my love. Jesus said: 'There is no greater love than this: to lay down one's life' (Jn 15:13). By the power of the Holy Spirit, give me the opportunity to show my love for You by dying a martyr's death. Amen.
Father, may we intercede, evangelize, and become holy so Jesus can return soon and sooner. Amen.
In conclusion, Pope John Paul II exhorted the Church in 1979, the first year of his pontificate: "We hear within us, as a resounding echo, the words that He spoke: 'Apart from Me you can do nothing.' We feel not only the need but even a categorical imperative for great, intense and growing prayer by all the Church" (The Redeemer of Man, 22) May this book result in great, intense, and growing prayer.
Nihil obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, January 5, 1989.
Imprimatur: † Most Reverend James H. Garland, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio, January 25 1989.