Prayer books – a crutch or a help?

lutherprayerbookWhen we feel that our prayers are lacking that power and umph, what do we do?  Of course we pray that the Holy Spirit may give us words to pray, as Jesus said in Luke 12:12, “for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”  But can tools help?

I came across the Lutheran Book of Prayer and downloaded a copy. Seems to be deep wordy prayers that I wouldn’t normally use in my personal prayers, but at least it gives me words to say and reflect on.  John Calvin also teaches on prayer. Nothing wrong with getting good teaching on prayer.

On Sunday worship services, I used to use helps like this and write out my prayers.  These days, I lead in prayer without any pre-written prayers in front of me. I might jot down a few points as reminders.  In some churches, leading aloud without scripted prayers is seen as almost a sign of spiritual maturity. But if our minds go blank and we struggle to find words to say, would that deter from the experience of prayer in others who depend on us?

Would using such tools be a crutch or a help?  Would it take away our dependence upon the Spirit’s leading?

It might cause us to be lazy, but it might also help some to feel a deeper sense of God’s presence.  I don’t know. Has anyone felt that this has been a deterrence rather than a help?  Has anyone felt a deep sense of God’s presence even with prepared canned prayers?