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Praying the Scriptures

It was a Saturday afternoon. I sat in my room listening to music and contemplated going shopping. There was this Beth Moore book I wanted, and today was the last day of the sale. I hadn’t quite made up my mind when to go purchase it – some Saturday afternoons are just like that.

My phone buzzed. I picked it up and read one of the most horrible text messages I’ve ever read: a friend had died in a freak accident. These kind of things just knock the wind out of your world, and I wasn’t sure how to face it. I sat there in shock for a few minutes, hoping that I’d misread the message.

I hadn’t imagined it.

Reality started to despair.

I grabbed my purse and headed off to the store to purchase the Beth Moore book…and a sympathy card.

The weight of the grief reached my tear ducts about halfway across town. “God, how could You let this happen?” I prayed in tears. “What are we going to do? How will we move forward in life?”

These types of prayers swirled around in my head the rest of the trip and as I walked the aisles. Emotion overcame me so strongly at one point that I crouched down to “browse” a lower shelf’s contents a few aisles away from the Bible counter, where inevitably a kind-hearted associate (my luck it would be a retired pastor with decades of experience consoling the grieving) would be glad to talk to me right there in the store. I did not want to be talked to. I just wanted to hide.

Throughout the rest of the weekend, I kept finding myself turning through the pages of the book I had just purchased. Beth Moore wrote this book entitled Praying God’s Word. The concept behind the book had captured my attention, so I was eager to learn. God is so powerful that even His Words – what comes from His breath – has power over any darkness we face.

But that weekend left me without words of hope and comfort, so the only place to turn for my prayers was the Word of God.

What I needed at that time were the prayers from Chapter 10: “Overcoming Despair Resulting from Loss.” The pages are filled with prayers from brokenhearted people who chose, through unbelievable grief, to put their trust in a God who promises He is bigger than anything they face. I borrowed the prayers filled with Scripture promises and held on to that.

One from this chapter reads, “Yet You are always with me; You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but You, God, are the strength of my heart and my portion forever…But as for me, it is good to be near you, my God. I have made You, Sovereign Lord, my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. (Ps. 73:23-26, 28)”

Another one reads, “I choose to cast my cares on You, Lord, and You will sustain me. (Ps. 55:22)”

Beth Moore guides the reader through how to pray the Word of God against strongholds. The premise is simple: there is power in the Word of God that can break strongholds in a believer’s life. Whatever is raring up its fist in defiance of God is no match against God. No match against His Word, either.

I later bought the companion book, Praying God’s Word Day by Day, a 365 devotional book with a short prayer packed with power for each day. I love reading and praying these, but being the independent writer that I am, I have to write my own. 🙂 I think it makes your prayers more personal when you search out Scripture to pray, being guided by the Holy Spirit.

You guys: if we are to live as more than conquerors, we have got to learn how to pray the Word. Jesus did this while Satan tempted Him in Matthew 4. Recalling those Scriptures to mind takes your mind far above your troubles. No, it doesn’t “fix” things to recite memory verses back to God.

But it can change your attitude.

I have found so many times that when I start praying about something, what really needs to change is me. It’s my attitude that comes away different. The situation may never change the way I think it should, but that’s ok. It’s because I have left my problems in the hands of God, the ever-faithful One.

So how do you start taking that very thick, black leather-bound book that needs a good dusting and start forming prayers out of it?

Well firstly, you dust it. Of course.

Then I recommend you read prayers that others have written. Get yourself a copy of Beth Moore’s books. Or find prayers that other people you trust have written and prayed.

And don’t be afraid to try your own; read a Scripture, and then repeat it to God as a prayer. You can start with, “God, Your Word says…” “God, You promised us that…” “Help me to live that out today.”  

There is no magic formula. You will not get a better or quicker answer if you pray Scripture in your prayers. God does not award bonus points in prayers. In fact, I don’t think God rates our prayers. He’s not sitting up there sifting through wish lists like Santa Claus looking for one where the kid praises Him or quotes one of His favorite sayings back to Him. No, God just wants to hear from His kids.

Praying from Scripture is really about you learning more about prayer. It also familiarizes you with the contents of the Bible.

And let’s be honest: if someone else’s words were so good that they were repeated, written down, and forever bound in the pages of THE BIBLE, they’re good enough for your quiet time prayers. The inspired Word of God is alive and active. I know my prayer life can always use more life.

Ever get stumped when you’re called on to pray aloud in a group? Using the Word when praying out loud is a great tool. It fills a lot of space, allowing you to omit a few uses of “um”, “Father God, ” and “just.” It also focuses the other group members’ minds upon the Word of God, filling them with life and truth. Now, don’t get the idea that praying Scriptures will make you sound spiritual and important and stuff. God is not impressed with you sounding spiritual; He is concerned with your heart.

What could recalling promises to mind do to your life? I bet we all have a few issues that could use a new attitude, a new perspective, a new way of looking at things. So give it a try.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:8-11).

-Sarah

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