Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:105 (ESV)
One of the best enhancements to my prayer life has been the praying of Scripture.
Many pastors and authors have stressed the importance of praying Scripture in the Christian, life and they give many good reasons for it. Praying Scripture can keep our prayers from degenerating into vain repetitions that revolve around our immediate private concerns, rather than God’s larger purposes. We should notice that the early Church prayed Scriptures (Acts 4:24), and that God’s people in the Old Testament and New Testament did also. Praying Scripture is remembering God’s words, and that glorifies and pleases God the Father. Praying Scripture helps us focus on what is important, is entirely truthful, and helps us to express ourselves appropriately.
How do we go about praying Scripture? There are many ways we can do this and many resources are available online from different organizations and authors. You can begin by praying verbatim from the Bible. Simply pray the words that are right there in the text, without any need to change what you read. Many of the Psalms are good for this, like Psalm 23 and 51. There are also many prayers in the Scripture already, written by David, Solomon, Hannah, Mary, Paul, Jesus, and others.
Next you can try personalizing the text. This can be done by paraphrasing Scripture. This kind of praying is useful when the wording or circumstances of the text do not exactly fit your own, but they suggest something very similar which comes to mind as you read the text. For example: Read Psalm 119.105 above and pray “Lord, Your Holy Bible shows me the way I should act in this world and how to live according to Your will. For this I thank You and praise You.”
Make sure you understand the context of the Scripture that you are praying, and let the Holy Spirit speak to you as you meditate before praying. Allow imagery from the text to influence your prayer. Turn your verse into first person or third person. Write out the prayer so you can repeat it or share it with others. It will help you with how you verbalize your prayers.
Remember there are many types of prayers in Scripture. There are prayers of thanksgiving, confession, praise, prayers for others, and promises that can be prayed. There are many good resources available to help you find these prayers.
As you develop this skill of praying Scripture, you will find it helps clear any prayer block and opens the way to speak directly to the Lord. You will be actively involved with God’s word and find yourself inviting him into your prayers, aligning your will with his. You will find your time with him more encouraging and stimulating. I believe this will lead you to a deeper understanding of God and a deeper spiritual life.
For a powerful jumpstart to your prayer life, sign-up for our free course, "Parameters of Prayer." Click here for a brief introduction to the course and to register and receive course materials.