Gracious God, we thank you for the gift of prayer. What an extraordinary thing that we can pray to you, unburden ourselves before you, place our cares, woes and joys before you. I confess I find praying an awkward business. I keep thinking, "Who am I to pray?" But I know that to be false humility, hiding my prideful desire to be my own creator. So we pray a prayer of joy in prayer, asking that we become your prayers for one another. Amen."

From Prayers Plainly Spoken by Stanley Hauerwas.

Let this be for you an encouragement, that with all diligence and earnestness it may become your habit to pray. For next to the preaching of the Gospel, in which God speaks with us and gives us all His grace and blessings, the highest and foremost work we can do is to speak with Him through prayer and receive from Him what He gives us. We have this great need of prayer, for by it we are truly able to keep what we have and to defend it against our enemies - the devil and the world. By our prayer we seek and find what we are to receive. Therefore through prayer comes our comfort, strength, and consolation, as well as our protection against all enemies and our victory over them.

From Martin Luther's Exposition of John 16:23.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received (and one I wish I followed more) was to collect prayers. These prayers come to us during summer camp, through books and social media, and even in our worship bulletins. These published prayers were composed by faithful people to express the faith-filled moment they were living in. A prayer that speaks to us can feel like we're eavesdropping on someone else's life of faith. Yet their prayer might reflect our own experience of God. Their words might help us develop a language of faith that we can use in our daily life.

The prayer insert you received today is just one prayer. There are seven additional prayers floating around worship today. I hope the prayer you picked up spoke to you. But if it didn't, I hope you'll find time to collect prayers. Seek them out. Keep a list of them on your phone. And let the prayers written by others become part of your language of faith. Because the Reformation, which we celebrate today, was rooted in re-discovering how Jesus comes to us as we are. Even at this moment, you have all the words you need to talk to God. But if prayer is still a struggle, let the words of others guide you. And they'll show you that God loves you.