Article by Michael Goforth II:
There’s a big difference between a soaring eagle and a waddling penguin.
One is a symbol of power and freedom as it flies through the air with its majestic wings. The other one mostly hangs out on the ground or in the water.
They’re both birds, but only one of them can fly.
Do you know why penguins can’t fly? It’s because they can’t afford plane tickets. . .
(I’m sorry about that, I really am. The worse part is, there’s no excuse. I’m not even a dad.)
The real reason penguins can’t fly is because they don’t have the wings for it. Their wings are designed more for swimming than flying. A penguin can desire to fly all he wants, but his wings won’t allow him to.
Similarly, if you ever feel like your prayers never get off the ground, maybe its because your method doesn’t allow for it.
THE SOLUTION TO BORING PRAYERS
This is a problem Donald Whitney discusses in his book, Praying The Bible. He acknowledges the problem of boring prayers and then says, “I would argue that if you are indwelled by the Holy Spirit—if you are born again—then the problem is not you; it is your method.”
I’ve discussed his method in a video before, but to summarize, he argues that we should pray the Bible. So when you read, “The Lord is my shepherd. . .” from Psalm 23, you pause and thank God for being your Shepherd, or pray and ask Him to shepherd your family that day, or anything else that comes to mind. Then, you simply move to the next line in the passage you are praying through.
He explains, ". . .basically what you are doing is taking words that originated in the heart and mind of God and circulating them through your heart and mind back to God. By this means his words become the wings of your prayers.”
Did you catch that phrase at the end? “. . .the wings of your prayers.” In other words, you don’t have to pray like a waddling penguin anymore.
One tool Whitney gives to help incorporate this method of prayer into your life is what he calls the, “Psalms of the Day.” This approach gives you five different Psalms to choose from each day for prayer.
To find the psalms for each day, you start with the day of the month you are in. So today would begin with Psalm 29, because it is May 29th. From there you simply add 30 until you get five Psalms to choose from.
So today’s psalms would be: Psalm 29, 59, 89, 119, and 149.
Tomorrow’s psalms are: Psalm 30, 60, 90, 120, and 150.
On June 1, your psalms will be: Psalm 1, 31, 61, 91, and 121.
If you’re already writing this method off because you’re bad at math, stick with me. This is where technology comes in with the win.
A HELPFUL TOOL TO GET STARTED
Thankfully, an awesome guy named Bryant Huang read Praying the Bible and decided to create a free app that allows you to quickly scan through the five psalms of the day and choose the one you’d like to pray through.
The app is called, “Five Psalms,” and it’s completely free! To download it for iOS, click here. To download it for android, click here. If you don’t have a smart phone, you can download a "Psalms of the Day" chart by clicking here.
I’ve been using the app for a few months now, and I love it! After my Bible reading each morning, I open "Five Psalms" and choose a psalm to pray through. From there, I write out a short prayer to take with me for the day.
Here are a few examples from one of today’s psalms:
“Lord, help me to live for your glory today.” (Psalm 29:1-2)
“Lord, thank you for being the true King.” (Psalm 29:10)
“Lord, be my strength and peace today.” (Psalm 29:11)
I think you’ll really enjoy praying through the psalms. As Whitney says, “Within the breadth of 150 psalms, you can find the entire range of human emotion. You will never go through anything in life in which you cannot find the root emotions reflected in the Psalms. Exhilaration, frustration, discouragement, guilt, forgiveness, joy, gratitude, dealing with enemies, contentment, discontentment—you name it: they are all found in the book of Psalms.”
However, this is all very flexible, and you can adapt this however you want. You can pray through all five psalms each day, you can pray through whatever passage you read in your devotions that day, or you can pray through a section of a New Testament epistle each day until you finish it. Either way, I would highly recommend that you try this method.
The difference between birds that soar and birds that waddle is the size of their wings. And sometimes the difference between prayers that soar and prayers that waddle, is the size of the method.
So if you’re having a hard time getting your prayers off the ground, try praying the Bible. It really has given wings to my prayers, and I think it will do the same for you.