“I have heard people talk about that for years, but no one ever showed me how.” The first time I heard this was from a retired widow in her seventies. Since then I have heard something similar on several occasions. What she was speaking of was praying scripture.
I love to pray scripture. Not only the prayers found in scripture. I love praying many different portions of scripture. Apart from the genealogies, most all of scripture can be prayed. When prayed, scripture comes alive and takes on a more personal significance.
When praying scripture, I format the wording to my life situation pertaining to the verse. The very first Psalm recorded in the Bible begins like this: “Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.”
Here is how I might pray that verse. “Lord, I want to be blessed by you. Therefore, keep me from walking in the way of the ungodly. Keep me from standing in the path that leads to sin. I do not want to be one who sits in the seat of the scornful. I need your help to be one whose delight is always in Your law O Lord. Teach me, lead me to meditate on Your law day and night.”
Praying scripture is simply taking God’s word, what was written by His Holy Spirit through His servants and applying it to what is going on in my life. Sometimes those prayers are soothing and comforting. Other times those prayers are strengthening and encouraging. Still there are other times when those prayers are sobering and even convicting.
I pray scripture in every Sunday morning worship service when serving as Interim pastor. One Saturday evening I prayed, asking God what scripture I was to pray the next morning, because I had not settled on one. The answer came back, “As always, pray what you’ve been studying this week.” I was reading Jeremiah, and I was not comfortable with that, so I thought, “Lord, is there something else I can pray?” But I knew the answer.
The next morning I read Jeremiah 2:20, “Long ago you broke off your yoke, and tore off your bonds; you said, ‘I will not serve you!’ Indeed, on every high hill and under every spreading tree you lay down as a prostitute.”
Then my prayer was something like this, “Lord, forgive us, long ago we broke off our yoke – we, me and this nation, this church, we broke off our yoke and stopped serving you the way you desire. On every high hill you gave us pleasure in beautiful vistas, yet we prostituted ourselves from you for our own pleasures. You gave us comforting shade from every spreading tree, yet we me, and this country and this church, we lay down and prostituted ourselves from you…
Those are tough words and some reading this may think no way or George, you’ve gone off the deep end. Yet, I would ask you to consider, if God were to have Jeremiah write this letter to the churches of North America today, what would He have Jeremiah write? Jeremiah was not writing or speaking to the world that did not know God. He was speaking/writing to God’s chosen people.
Not all scripture is easy to pray. But it is all revitalizing and replenishing. Will you look at scripture differently after reading this? Will you begin to pray scripture daily? It will change your life.