I’ve always been impressed with those who have the ability to incorporate the Bible into their prayers. It not only makes the prayers seem more genuine, it creates a sense of authority. I would characterize those who pray the Scriptures as ones who have walked with God for a measure of time…the kind of persons who really desire to know God’s will and do God’s will. There’s something about reflecting back to God what He has already said that makes one feel more in tune with God when praying.
So how do you go about it? It’s not that hard, but before you start experimenting with it, let me give a few suggestions to think about that may help guide your first steps. Praying the Scripture back to God should be a reflexive part of your pilgrimage, but you have to start somewhere, right?
First, I would recommend that you prioritize the word of God in your devotional time. While there are many wonderful resources available to supplement your Bible reading, there is no substitute for the Bible itself. I think its good practice to pray with your Bible open, and to pray as you read the Bible. As you read the Bible, ask God to speak to you from what you are reading. If something strikes you, consider it a signal to stop and pray.
Next, analyze what the verse is actually saying. I believe God speaks to us today through the Bible, but that affirmation is not an encouragement to run willy nilly through the Bible to find some proof text that aligns with your will. So be thoughtful about what the verse is saying and what it is saying specifically to you. Let me use a simple illustration. Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory.” What does it say? At face value, it says that God is committed to meeting my needs and that He has the abundant resources to meet my needs. It does not say that God is committed to meeting all of my wants. Transportation is a need. A $60,000 SUV, on the other hand, may be a want. Analyzing the verse keeps you from putting words in God’s mouth.
If you believe that God is speaking to you through the verse, personalize and verbalize it. Back to our example from Philippians 4. Suppose you do have a need for transportation. You might pray something like this: “God, you are committed to meeting the needs of your people, and today you are the God who meets all of my needs according to your riches in glory…and today I bring you my need for reliable transportation.” That sounds a little better than the typical litany of demands we toss in God’s direction when we want something.
Prioritize. Analyze. Personalize. Verbalize. Why not give it a shot? The value of praying Scripture is that it will draw your heart closer to God and God will use it to align your will with his will.