Does your prayer life ever feel stale? Sometimes it can feel like we are asking God for the same old things we asked him for yesterday. We recognize God’s word has power for us in our daily life, but how often do we let scripture guide our prayer life? We might read it for family devotions, and we study sections in church on Sundays. We might even commit a text to memory. It's good for God's word to be a part of our regular instruction. But how big a role does scripture play in our prayer time? Are there things we can gain from praying God’s word?
We may not know how to pray, but God’s word can be a very effective guide. Praying through the psalms or through a book of scripture gives us a daily focus for prayer. It guides us by taking the emphasis away from our own needs and leads us to pray for the work of God’s kingdom. Scripture reorients our hearts back to the things that really matter to God instead of the litany of requests that tend to clog our minds and prayers.
Scripture is filled with thanks and praise to God. We tend to overlook praising when we pray request-centered prayers. God deserves our praise and we can be forgetful to say thank-you before asking for more. When we pray the words of scripture, we are reminded again and again of all that God has done for us, and this results in an outpouring of gratitude to the giver of all gifts. In scripture we see how even lament and petition circle back to praise acknowledging that God is still in control of the world.
The psalms guide us through all of human emotions and give us a liturgy for expressing ourselves before God. David was considered a man after God's own heart and he was not shy about expressing a full range of emotion. Praying the psalms is a chance to let our hearts move through lament and frustration, anger and joy. It gives us a voice for expressing the concerns that weigh on our heart.
Psalm 119:11 tells us, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” There is a tremendous value to being equipped with God’s word. As we pray the prayers of scripture those petitions become a part of our memory and we have them to cling to in times of difficulty. They help us to stay focused on God’s truth and keep us from wandering away from the the path of righteousness that God desires for us.
God speaks through his word and reminds us that he is still in charge of everything. He is the anchor in times of difficulty. Praying scripture builds our confidence that God is in control and working things out for our good. We can choose a scripture that speaks to our difficulty and carry it with us to pray whenever we feel anxious or frustrated. On tough days, I used to write verses on note cards for my kids. They valued having a note they could keep with them in a pocket or lunch box to remind them of God’s promises to them.
We have the treasure in the psalms of praying through the prayer book of Jesus. We can see in scripture how the psalms were known and applied to various situations. From the cross, Jesus himself prayed Psalm 22, crying out to God over feeling forsaken by God. Prayer is a way that God writes his word on our hearts and draws us closer to him.
Praying scripture is a way to claim God’s promises from his word and trust him to handle our struggles. Praying scripture isn’t magical, but it can transform our prayer life into something new and vibrant. Are you looking for a way to get started? Consider downloading a free prayer card for parents and children to nurture the practice of praying God's word.