Often, our prayer lives can grow stale. We are wise to return to the scriptures, because they give us words we didn’t know we needed. God’s people have always prayed for and sought God for renewal. Here are six prayers for renewal in the scriptures, with a brief explanation and scripturally-inspired prayer. I hope you’ll join me in prayer, as we ask God to renew our hearts, minds and churches.
Prayer 1: Prayer For Restoration (Isaiah 40:30-31)
“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
The second half of Isaiah is one of the most comforting and beloved passages of scripture. The images are powerful and relatable. I noticed that even the winners of the track events at the Tokyo Olympics were extremely weary after they crossed the finish line. But those of us who look to the Lord will be strengthened and renewed spiritually.
“God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit – we often feel weary and burdened by the demands placed upon us. Many of us feel the strain of our bodies physically wearing down through disease or age. Show us where we are putting ultimate hope in things other than You. Holy Spirit, help us to repent and believe afresh, that our strength might be renewed, that we might again run and not grow weary. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.”
Prayer 2: Prayer To Be Made New (Ephesians 4:22-24)
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
The Apostle Paul is encouraging his people to live out their Christian faith, based on the explanation of the gospel he has given earlier in this letter. The action of “being made new” or being renewed has both a passive and active quality to it. God is making us new, but we also participate in it, by putting away our old self.
“God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit – thank you that you have delivered us from our former ways of thinking. You are inwardly renewing us day by day. Help us to see the big picture: that we are not what we will be, but we are not what we once were. Holy Spirit, fill my heart so that I can become more like Jesus each day. In His name we pray, Amen.”
Prayer 3: Prayer for Freedom (Romans 12:2)
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
There is great societal pressure today, especially on young people, to live like the surrounding culture. Chasing the dreams of the culture and achieving worldly success are paramount. But throughout the scriptures we see a call like the one above: to be different. ‘Be holy, because I am holy,’ (Leviticus 19:2) comes to mind. The Holy Spirit is consistently renewing our minds, because that is what leads to transformation.
“God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit – we cry out to You for the renewing of our minds. We have so often gone along with the ways of the world, without even noticing. Forgive us for our sins of commission and omission. Wake us up to the transforming power of Christ’s work on the cross for us. We want to seek your good, pleasing and perfect will for ourselves and those in our care. In Christ’s name, Amen.”
Prayer 4: Prayer for Forgiveness (Psalm 51:10-12)
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
David composed this prayer after a great moral failure. It is a deep and heartfelt prayer for forgiveness, renewal and restoration. We turn to it many times in worship, through prayers of confession and worship songs.
“God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit – forgive us for our sins against You in thought, word and deed. Against You and only You have we sinned. We know that it is only You – our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer – that can give us a pure heart. Renew our spirits that we may steadfastly obey you in the trials to come. Give us a new song of salvation. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.”
Prayer 5: Prayer For Strength (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Paul is speaking here of the troubles that assail each one of us. But he is pointing to the power that raised Christ from the dead. That is why we can suffer well. Because even if our churches are struggling or we are physically fading, our souls are being renewed. Inwardly we are in great health, even if our bodies are wearing out.
“God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit – Thank you for revealing to us the greatest force in the Universe: your power. It raised Christ from the dead and one day it will raise us from the dead. Give us a bigger vision of You and Your Kingdom, that we might live with great hope today and until our earthly lives are done. In the name of Jesus, Amen.”
Prayer 6: Prayer Of Gratitude (Psalm 103:1-5)
“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
This remarkable psalm of David recounts salvation history and points us to the Creator that Jesus would later address as ‘Abba.’ It is a call to remember God’s personal and corporate rescue of His people. The redemption God brings has saved our life from all kinds of dead ends and has satisfied our deepest desires. Check out ‘Satisfy’ by Rivers & Robots if you’d like to take some time to worship him in song.
“God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit – we lift our voices to You in thanks, for You have forgiven us for every sin and taken away our guilt and shame. You have shown us Your unfailing love. You deal with us in compassionate ways. We pray now that you would renew our youth like the eagle’s, that we would have the faith of a child and the wisdom of a sage. In the name of Jesus, Amen.”
Written by Keith Doornbos
Director of Center for Church Renewal