We’ve spent the past 2 weeks discovering ways to build up our spiritual strength in this new year. Last week we found how to strengthen our spirit by feeding it God’s Word. This week’s focus is on prayer but uniting it with His Word. Do you know how to pray the Bible? I do it but started strictly by accident. Let’s walk through how to pray the Bible!
What Does the Bible Say about How to Pray?
Jesus asks us to pray. He encourages us to pray because He wants us to speak with Him about anything and everything. He gave us the Lord’s prayer as a pattern/guideline to connect and draw close to Him.
“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Luke 18:1 NIV.
He wants to guide and direct us, strengthen us against the temptations of Satan, and give us wisdom. No one modeled praying better than Jesus himself. Whether experiencing joy or crisis, Jesus was in conversation with His Father. And many times He used Scripture while doing so!
Related Post∼ Explore the Incredible Prayer Life of Jesus
The Power of Prayer
Thankfully, the power of prayer has nothing to do with the words we say. The power of prayer lies in our all-powerful God who loves to hear and answer our prayers.
Prayer is simply a form of communicating with God. It’s a way for us to “plugin” to His power. We know Scripture is holy, true, and inspired by God. When we add prayer to the power of His Word, it can transform our prayer life in extraordinary ways. For me, I find it leads to a more worshipful and Spirit-filled time.♥
Sometimes I forget that I am part of the most powerful prayer team ever! Jesus prays for us (John 17:9, 20-21) and so does the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26-27)! That’s a huge comfort and encouragement to me as I continue to learn and grow in my prayer life.
Praying the Bible
I started praying the Bible quite by accident. I definitely was in need of a more focused prayer time. More often than not my thoughts would drift off into what to make for dinner or I would haphazardly change prayer topics.
I wrote out a prayer guide with the topics of worship and praise, confession, thanksgiving, His attributes, etc. Partial Bible verses would pop into my head as I prayed and I’d look them up and write them down.
Examples of Praying the Scriptures
Here’s how I started. This is just to give you a rough idea on how to adapt your own prayer guide.
Praise and Worship:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of your glory!” (Isaiah 6:3) became the start of a prayer:
“You alone are holy Lord! I only have to look around me to see Your glory in all creation…”
“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever…” Psalm 100:5
“Lord, you are so good … I praise you for your constant, never-ending love for me…”
There are hundreds of praise and worship verses. His mercy, grace, compassion, love, holiness, sovereignty, absolute truth, acts of creation, care, redemption, and promises to come again are in Scripture to inspire us to praise and worship Him.
Confession of Sins:
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 NIV.
This verse immediately drew me in when I first read it. It helped me get into a conversation with God about my sin and anxiety. Now, instead of praying “Lord, convict me of sin. Help me do better”, I pray this verse back to God. It starts the conversation about what I was anxious about, what sin He brings to my mind, and walking my life’s path with Him (it’s comforting to visualize Him taking me by the hand and walking with me.) ♥
Protection from Satan:
“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3 NIV
Before finding this verse, I would pray for a hedge of protection around myself and my family. A “hedge of protection” is what Satan was complaining about to God about Job. While I still pray for that, I also use the Thessalonians verse like this: “Lord, I know you are faithful and will strengthen and protect me from the evil one.” I claim this promise for myself every day!
Becoming more Christlike:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5: 22-23 ESV.
Instead of simply praying to be more like Him, I pray this verse, stopping at each attribute and speak of ways I have either fallen short or how He has led me to improve.
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Praying the Word of God Back to Him
You can also pray the Bible in your everyday reading of Scripture. When you come across a verse that speaks to your heart- whether it’s a struggle you are dealing with, a remembrance of how He worked in your life, or a truth that you want to imprint on your heart- stop and speak to Him about it.
Here’s an example:
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 NLT.
This verse spoke to me as I started my blog. It leads me to pray for His guidance and direction and I love the praise at the end, which many times leads to more praise before I move on.
Tips for Praying the Scriptures
1)Understand what you are reading. If you are reading only one verse (as in a daily verse reminder)- read the verses before and after for understanding its context. This keeps our prayers in alignment with what the Bible says.
2)Let the Holy Spirit lead you. Ask Him what He wants you to take away from the passage and pray about.
3)Make it your own. While the words are holy and inspired by God, He wants you to apply them to your life. Ask yourself how His words could be true in your life or why you are not experiencing what He’s describing to you.
Praying the Psalms
Did you know that Jesus prayed the Psalms? One of the many instances was when He prayed to His Father while dying on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”(Mathew 27:46 NIV) which is in Psalm 22:1.
In Colossians 3:16, Paul instructs the early believers to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly… as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.”
There’s a lot of our own lives mirrored in the Psalms. There are prayers of lamenting, mourning, fears, and doubt. We find praise and worship there too. David and the psalmists shared their deepest feelings with God. When we do the same, our relationship with God can move to a whole new level.
As you read the Psalms, ask yourself how it could apply to your own life. Does it remind you of something to rejoice over, or confess? Does it stir up emotions you want to express? Do you want to cry out for help as David did? Use those verses to tell Him about it!
Praying the Scriptures- A Powerful Way to Pray
When you think about it, God preserved His Word as a form of conversation. He wants us to respond to Him, and prayer is a massive privilege that brings us directly to His throne for a one-on-one conversation.
If your prayer life seems stale, or you can’t find the right words to pray, try praying the Scriptures. Maybe you feel your prayers are a little blah, or you say the same thing repeatedly. His Word can be a springboard to prayers that transform your prayer life.
We can also pray God’s Word over our family and friends. Look for verses that address their needs and let them know you are praying this verse specifically for them. They may want to pray it for themselves!
Scripture Prayer Guide
My prayer life has been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride. (You can read about my struggles here: Take Time to Pray) I grew up learning rote prayers (nothing wrong with those, as a devout Jewish man, Jesus did too!) but I recited them as an adult out of sheer habit or as an obligation; not with my heart.
When I first heard a conversational prayer, my thoughts on prayer completely changed. That’s not to say the changeover was easy. But one thing that has helped me focus my prayer life was writing out a prayer guide with Bible verses.
I noticed that snippets of Scripture would come to me while I was praying. I would retrieve the verse and write it down. Or I would read a verse and realize how important that truth was to a problem I was experiencing and write it out on my prayer guide.
I recently revamped my very messy prayer guide into one that helps me keep His Word at my fingertips as I pray. It’s meant to be a work in progress as prayer requests become outdated, or He leads me to new Scripture verses. You might want to give it a try for yourself! When it gets full, just start a new one!
Here’s a snippet of what my old guide looked like….
And here’s the new and improved!
I filled it in with some of my favorite verses just as an example. If you would like a free download of a blank guide for yourself, click on the image above.
Praying the Word of God Over Your Life
Using God’s Word in our prayers can make them more meaningful and powerful. It helps us focus on God- who He is, what He has done, how He wants us to live, and ways He helps, consoles, counsels, and directs us. Don’t worry about “doing it right”–just speak what is on your heart as you read/hear His voice through Scripture.
Praying the Bible is a beautiful way to inspire you, expand your prayer life, and bring you closer to Him!
Photo Credit: Canva, AnnMarie Anderson