You can’t decide whether or not to attend the prayer group tonight. That’s because you already know they’re going to do contemplative prayer (mantra meditation)… or that they plan to hold pens and try to force God to write them a message. You’ve already attempted to explain that these are occult methods, but they’re not listening. If they’re all primed to employ those practices, you’re sure there’s no point in attending in order to disrupt the whole thing right then and point out the errors. But you love these friends and want to stay connected—and help.
So what if you brush up on several Bible prayers/passages ahead of time? (That’s probably a good idea for any of us, just in general.) Then, say they want to pray for a friend who is in danger/trouble. No matter what the others are about to do, you could say something like, “Yikes! I think Bethany’s situation calls for a really strong prayer, like David’s.” Then open to Psalm 27 and pray-read verse 1 and other relevant verses. Or for a similar prayer request, say, “Oh, poor Jared. That’s scary. I’m gonna follow Daniel’s lead on this one.” Then open to Daniel 6 (see below) so they can see that you’re getting your idea from an actual Scripture.
- Nehemiah offered several prayers asking God to “remember.” Like Nehemiah 6:14 (asking God to remember what the bad guys are up to) and 13:14 (asking God to remember what all Nehemiah was doing for him). So your prayer for someone might go like, “Lord, remember how our friend has served you by doing ___ and ___. And now he’s surrounded by bad guys. Remember what they’re trying to do to this person, your servant, and step in powerfully, Lord …”
- Use David’s “special effects” prayer of power and rescue: Psalm 18.
- Daniel. When he heard the king’s decree that people like him would be tossed to the lions, he prayed—FIRST giving thanks to God and THEN asking for help (Daniel 6:10, 11).
- For praise regarding the Lord’s rescue, see Moses’s/Miriam’s victory song in Exodus 15.
- There’s Paul’s prayer for the Christians in Ephesians 1:15-21.
- Pray the armor of God for someone (Ephesians 6:10-18).
And of course, there are plenty more!
What’s so odd about all the popular prayer nonsense (mantras, automatic writing, “doodle and ask God to tell you what the doodle means,” holding a “sacred” object, and similar) is our idea that these methods might be superior. How in the world could we hope to accomplish more (or better “get through to” God) than what happened because of the prayers of those Bible guys? The Lord managed to hear them—and act—without a single mantra or doodle!
So in the above prayer-meeting scenarios, if anyone tried to insist that you take the mystical approach and NOT do a Nehemiah/David/Daniel prayer, you could toss out, “Um … refresh my memory. What Bible hero prayed that way?”