One of the ways we can connect with God during our times of prayer is by praying scripture. Now, there’s nothing magical about the words themselves. They’re not incantations or spells that have to be said in a certain way with just the right words in order to work. However there is significant power in the truths laid down in scripture. These truths are powerful promises to be claimed and mighty weapons to be wielded against the enemy.
Additionally, in my experience, there is something almost indescribable that happens with our connection with God when praying scripture. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that ”All Scripture is breathed out by God…” This means that although the books contained in the Bible were physically written by many different authors, we can think of the ideas and truths as having been directed by God himself. So when we pray scripture we are literally reciting or reading back to him the things he’s written to us. I don’t know about you, but I would certainly be pleased if someone I loved, cared enough about me to bring the letter I wrote them and recite or read parts of it to me when we met.
Here are two ways you can incorporate praying scripture into your prayer life.
1. Pray the prayers in scripture.
A quick Google search for “prayers in scripture” will yield plenty of results to get you started. Most of the apostle Paul’s letters begin with a prayer so you might consider praying one of those. For example, in Colossians 1, Paul tells the church of Colosse about the prayers he and his companions pray for them. Or consider the prayer Paul writes to the Ephesians in 3:14-21. This is a great prayer to pray for yourself, your children, spouse, family or people in your small group. Another place to look is the Psalms, it’s literally a book of prayer and worship from ancient Israel. You can try searching for something like “a psalm for fear” which yields several results. One of which is Psalm 18, which was written by David when God delivered him from King Saul who was trying to kill him. Again, try a Google search for “Bible Psalm about _____” and fill in the blank with what you need a prayer for.
2. Lectio Divina
The other way of praying Scripture that I want to talk about today is through a process known as Lectio Divina which is Latin for sacred reading. This is a process for hearing from God through a passage of scripture. Technically, what I’m going to talk about is a modification of the traditional Lectio Divina. If you want to learn more about this ancient practice you can check out this article from Bible Gateway. This is modified for simplicity and to accommodate a shorter prayer time.
- First, choose a passage of scripture. I recommend no more than 5-7 verses and be sure to chose a passage you are familiar with.
- Quiet your mind using some of the prayer techniques we’ve talked about before. I’ve found breathing prayer to be especially helpful in preparation for this process.
- Read through the chosen passage slowly. As you do, you may notice that lots of things pop into your mind. Things like your to-do list for the day, concerns or worries, or even people. Try to set those things aside mentally. It may help to write them down so you don’t have to try and hold on to them. This first time through you may sense that God is drawing your attention to a particular word or phrase in the passage. If so, keep it in the back of your mind. If not, don’t force it. I’ve found that, for me, the first time through is more about getting all the distractions out.
- Pause a breath for a few seconds, then read the passage again. This time, take notice of what jumps out at you. Is there a theme, word or phrase that seems to leap off the page? Remember it. It may help to say it out-loud.
- Pause again and do those breathing prayers for a bit and then read the passage a third time. Pay special attention to those words or phrases that you got in the last step. What emotions do they evoke? What came to mind when you heard them the second time? Is there anything new here? Spend some time thinking about these words and phrases then ask God what he’s saying to you through them.
- Now, pray through what God has said.
These methods will bring a new, powerful dynamic to your prayer life. They’re not something you need to do everyday (although you certainly can) but they are good practices to incorporate into your weekly and monthly routines. I hope you experience new depths of connection and intimacy with God as you lean into praying scripture. Let us know how it’s going or if you have questions in the comments. We can’t wait to hear from you.