Daily Devotional – Day 18
“Praying the Scriptures”
Read: Any Scripture you want – just pray it!
I remember the first time I tried to pray for a solid hour. I was about 19 and in my college dorm room. Before that day, I was praying anywhere from 5-10 minutes at one setting. Outside of that, I generally only prayed when I had a problem. During that 10 minute window, I typically only used a prayer list and the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) as guides to shape my prayer time. One day I decided to pray a solid hour. An hour of prayer, I thought, was where I’d find my spiritual peak – my “hour of power”. I read the Scripture where Jesus asked His disciples, “Could you not tarry with me one hour” (Matthew 26:40) and knew I could pray longer than the disciples or at least not fall asleep in the process. I thought (wrongly) there was something more holy about a solid hour as compared to praying continually throughout the day. So, I got into my “prayer closet” (which was an actual closet – later found out you didn’t have to actually go into a closet to pray) and started with my prayer list. After about 15 minutes I ran out of thoughts, words, and items on my list. So then what did I do? Because it was about reaching the solid hour, I prayed the same list three more times until I reached my goal. Afterwards I felt my hour of power was a failure. I needed something to “beef up” my prayer life but honestly didn’t know what it was. I’ll never forget when I discovered the joy of praying the Scriptures. I quickly realized I’d never run out of things to pray as long as I had the Bible in front of me.
Why should you pray the Scriptures? I’m going to assume you already believe prayer in general is beneficial and that your prayers should line up with Scripture. While I don’t think you should pray only Scripture, I hope to show how the Scriptures will bring a huge new dimension to your prayer life. Praying Scripture is, ironically, Scriptural. People throughout the Old and New Testament prayed Scriptures (Acts 4:24-26; Psalm 2:1-2). Jesus also prayed Scripture. He prayed, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). Praying the Scriptures also keeps us focused on what God deems important. It is easy to pray about what is bothering us or heavy on our hearts. Praying the Scriptures reminds us what is on the heart of God. Prayer isn’t primarily about getting our needs met. It is about glorifying God.
Because Scripture is without error, praying it can’t be wrong. When you pray the Bible you are asking for and declaring God’s truth. This can bring great boldness and confidence to your prayer life. When we ask things according to His will and Word, we can have confidence that He hears us (1 John 5:14). Praying Scriptures will leave you full of the right topics to pray for, leaving your time with the Lord fresh and rewarding. It will also keep your prayer life specific and detailed. I’ve also found praying specific Scriptures helps me keep a Biblical worldview and memorize Scripture.
So, since you know you should, how do you do it? As you read Scripture, write down verses that jump out to you and pray them later. Better yet, I suggest praying the Scripture as you read it. Remember, while it is good to set aside a specific time and place to read Scripture and pray, you can pray at any time in any location. Jot down some Scriptures and pray them throughout the day. Soon, you won’t need the note card and will find your prayer life growing stronger. You won’t care anymore about how long you pray at one setting. You’ll find yourself praying all throughout the day and loving your time with the Lord and His Word. Now that’s an ongoing and ever-growing prayer life!
- What are your favorite Bible verses? Have you ever prayed them or in response to them? (i.e. “Thank you God for loving me enough to send your one and only Son so I could have eternal life” (John 3:16).
- Practice praying Scripture the next time you read it. After you do, how much more powerful do your prayers feel?
- What confidence does praying Scripture bring to your prayer life?
Thank you God for giving me Your Scriptures to guide my life. Help me to pray what’s on Your heart and Your will. I desire Your Kingdom to come in my life. Show me the Scriptures I need for each day and pray they are fulfilled in my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.