Praying Scripture

WHY

In Ephesians 6, the apostle Paul explains that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. We are in a spiritual battle and Paul describes an armor of God here that we can use to stand firm in God’s mighty power! He describes this armor as the “sword of the Spirit” – which is the Word of God (Scripture). Think about that. One of our greatest weapons is to pray the very words of the Holy Bible. Much like good communication with a friend brings closeness, intimacy and comfort, likewise communication with God through prayer and His word brings the same!

WHAT

The discipline of praying Scripture is simply taking particular words, phrases, psalms, or sections of Scripture and using it for specific prayers. Instead of forming a prayer with words from your own heart and mind, you’re praying God’s words.

HOW

Scripture is God’s truth and it is full of His promises. Find a particular passage that speaks to you personally. Then declare it in prayer by reading it aloud or silently, asking God to bring it to fruition. You can also consider inserting a name in your prayer to personalize it and summarize the text. Examples:

  • Let’s say you’ve been feeling anxious and you choose Philipians 4:4-7. You could simply read this passage as your prayer, or personalize it to something like this: “Father in Heaven, I will rejoice in you always. You are near to me. I won’t be anxious about anything, but at all times by prayer and with a grateful heart, I’ll present my requests to You! Thank you for the peace You provide which truly transcends all understanding and for guarding my heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Amen.”
  • Perhaps a friend of yours is struggling with grief and you choose Psalm 34:18. Again, you could simply declare this comforting text over your friend by reading it as a prayer, or you could personalize it to something like this: “Lord, (insert name) is grieving right now. You are the God of all comfort and Your word promises that you are close to the brokenhearted and that you rescue those who feel crushed by the weight of sadness and loss. May (insert name)  feel your comfort and peace and know that you see them and that you’re near. Amen.”

FIRST STEP

Your first step is to choose a verse or passage that is particularly meaningful to you in the specific season of life you are in. Here are a few questions that may help you discern which scripture topic to look for:

  • What is on my heart right now? 
  • Do I have a burden for something or someone?
  • What am I grateful for? 
  • What do I need from God right now? 
  • Do I have unconfessed sin in my life?
  • What challenge am I facing?
  • What am I celebrating?

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Face to Face Volume One: Praying the Scriptures for Intimate Worship by Kenneth D. Boa
Face to Face Volume Two: Praying the Scriptures for Spiritual Growth by Kenneth D. Boa
Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading by Eugene H. Peterson
Paths to Prayer: Finding Your Own Way to the Presence of God by Patricia D. Brown