At a National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, I heard James P. Moore speak. He had written the book, One Nation Under God: The History of Prayer in America. An amazing insight into the history of America (from the 1600s- the present) through the written prayers of our forefathers. I had never realized the value of written prayers until I saw the inspiration and the faith behind the prayers of a people who forged this new nation called America. A clear faith in the God of our Lord Jesus Christ was the central theme of each prayer. However, as Mr. Moore progressed through the centuries, the prayers he shared took a marked turn, and not for the better. In the 1960’s, he found fewer written prayers to reference. He regressed by saying that instead of recorded prayers, America’s music culture and activist had penned prayers that weren’t really prayers and cited the lyrics of songs sung by Janis Joplin, a famous 60s rock star who died of a drug overdose. Prayers of social activist like Cesar Chavez, who fought for social justice among the vegetable growers in California. Chavez’s prayer, known as “Cesar’s Prayer”, says in part: “Show me the suffering of the most miserable; So I will know my people’s plight. Free me to pray for others; For you are present in every person…”

While these “prayers” might have shown a heart cry for help, they were not prayers to God. These were secular prayers to the Universe. They were indicative of the turn our country had taken toward secularism. Even the Charismatic movement which had powerful revival in the 1960s, did not give us written prayers.  There was a fear that came over our officials—of being ridiculed and prosecuted because of openly declaring their faith. There is great value in written prayers and it is time we wrote some.

Written Prayers allow us to:

1. Come together in agreement. Jesus said, “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:19-20.

2. Clarify exactly what we are believing for. Have you ever tried to write out a prayer? It’s not as easy as it sounds. But writing helps us to clarify exactly what we are believing for.

3. See measurable results. When General Patton needed the weather to clear so his men could land at Normandy, he wrote a prayer and sent it with a Christmas card to his troops. All of his men prayed the same prayer and came in agreement. God answered and the weather cleared and God received the credit for the allied forces winning the Battle of Normandy.

It is time God’s people came together in unity, knew what we were believing for and see God redeem our lives and in our nation.