25 August 2013

Prayer 102: Praying the Scriptures

"I don't know what to pray!"

"I don't know what God's will is, how can I pray according to His will?"

Ever thought these things?  You are not alone!  I'm in the same boat with you!! (Hahaha) Before going any further, I want to restate something from "Prayer 101: The Four Steps of Prayer".

There is no "right" way to pray.  "The eloquence of your prayer is not what is important. The sincerity of your heart is what God hears." (Moms In Prayer Booklet)  This post, like the last, is a guide. ONLY a guide!

"I Don't Know God's Will. How Can I Pray According To His Will?"

The number one way to know God's will is to read God's Word.  God's Word, aka The Bible, is the source of ALL the knowledge of God's will.  Each minister turns to it. Each of our favorite Christian authors turn to it.  Our favorite worship song writers find inspiration in it.  In truth, God's Word, is the ONLY way to know God's will. (Next to prayer of course!)

"I Don't Know What To Pray!"

Ok. You are diving into God's Word.  You are reading.  You think, "I don't know what to pray!"  You see His Words. You feel the power in His Words.  You are absorbing who God is and learning more and more about Him, but you aren't sure how to pray His Words.

Make the scripture personal!  Here, let's look at Psalm 23 (I'm using the NIV; please feel free to look it up in your favorite version!):

  • The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
I chose this one for a couple of reasons.  1) It's already personalized! 2) I'm going to share how Mary Southerland personalized it more!

  • Father, You are my shepherd and will meet every need in my life.  Thank You for making me stop and for making me be still and rest.  Give me the strength to walk in obedience for Your glory and honor.  When the darkness comes, I have nothing to fear because You are right there in the middle of the mess with me. You guide me through Your Word. You rescue me from danger and often from myself. I pray that even my enemies can see Your hand at work in my life.  I am so blessed, Father.  Your goodness and love make live worth living here on earth and for eternity in heaven with You.  I pray all of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, my Shepherd. Amen! ~~ (Mary Southerland's "Laugh More ... Live Better's Lesson 5)
The Book of Psalms is a GREAT place to start!  David had a heart for God!!  He understood God's love and mercy really well!

Paul is another one!  His letters are filled with how he prays for the different churches and how he wants them to pray for him.  Let's take a look and make them personal!

  • Colossians 4:2-6 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
  • Father, remind me to be devoted to You; to come to You and talk to You.  Help me to be watchful for I know the enemy wishes to catch me a at my weakest moment.  May I give You thanks for everything, and create in me a thankful heart.  Father, be with those You have called to proclaim Your message here at home and abroad.  Open doors for each one to proclaim the mystery of You, Jesus.  May their voices ring clear and may each one stand in the confidence that only come from You.  As for me, may I proclaim Your news too!  I ask the Holy Spirit to fill me with the right words when they are needed to be said.  Gift me with wisdom on how to act toward non-believers.  I pray for grace.  I ask for grace to bestow on the world for much grace has covered me!

  • Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.
  • Jesus, in Your name, I lift up  (put a name of someone here!) to You.  Give (fill in the same name here) the strength to stand firm in all the will of God, aid him/her to mature into the servant You desire him/her to be. (Notice how Epaphras wrestles in prayer? He's not giving up on the church in Colossus!)

  • Ephesians 3:14-19  For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 
  • Father, I kneel before You.  You are creator of ALL things!  I pray out of Your glorious riches that You strengthen (name someone here!) with power through Your Spirit, so that You, Lord Jesus, lives in (same name here) through faith.  I pray that (same name) will be rooted and established in love; gift him/her with power and knowledge of how wide and long and high and deep You love is; may (same name here) be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God! (Fill in you if you so desire!)
That's just a few!! As you read God's Word, take a passage and personalize it!  My blog is filled with examples.  Click on July at the right.  Or click on the titles to the right.  Each one, minus the post for Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study and a couple of random things, are the prayers being prayed by my group "The Prayer Squad".  Each one is a prayer based on scripture.  Each one follows The Four Steps of Prayer as well!  In the "Intercession" part of each prayer, there is a blank.  Put a name in the blank!

The Reason For Praying Scripture

Praying Scripture:
  1. Teaches me God's will
  2. Aligns me with God's will

Again ... God listens to the sincerity of your heart.  We can follow every pray guide.  We can pray scripture over and over.  Know what?  If we aren't sincere in our hearts, truly seeking Him, He's not going to listen.  I have some friends who have a daughter.  The girl will tell other girls "Oh, that's a pretty dress" or "I like your hair! It's so pretty!" but she'll turn to her parents and say "That dress is ugly!" or "Her hair looks terrible".  The parents then tell her she shouldn't say things to someone unless she means it because that makes her insincere.  WOW!  If I tell God how "great and mighty He is" and "I trust You" but then live as if I'm scared where the provision is going to come from, have I been honest with God?  Have I been sincere?  If I pray for a person's salvation but then say "Oh, that person is NEVER going to change!"  Have I been sincere with God?  No.  NO!  Be sincere!  Be open and honest with God!

On a personal note, I don't see how anyone can pray scripture and NOT become sincere!  God's Word changes us.

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