Have you ever sensed the need to pray for someone without knowing their specific need? Ever searched for the right words when praying for yourself? Or lacked adequate words to prayerfully worship the Lord? I often pray with words of Scripture. As I pray Scripture, my heart and mind are drawn closer to the Lord Jesus Christ. My spirit is nourished, my thoughts and actions are shaped. I see more in-depth how great and mighty the Lord Jesus Christ is, so worthy of my praise and honor and obedience. My love for Him and devotion to Him is deepened. Thinking on God’s Word in prayer strengthens and builds my faith and trust in Him, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). Jesus, in His prayer for us, prayed “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth” (John 17:17). The Word of God has a purifying and powerful effect in our lives!
Here are some ways that I have learned to pray Scripture. Recently, an expectant mom at our church lost her unborn child at the 4-month mark of pregnancy. In addition to sending her a card, I prayed for her based on Psalm 9:9&10: “Father, thank You that You are a refuge for the oppressed. May Casey come to You as her refuge in this time of trouble. Those who know Your name will put their trust in You. Lord, I pray that she will come to know Your name even better and in a deeper way. Thank You, Lord.” In praying for a Christian acquaintance I might pray, “Dear Father, I don’t know the specific needs of Mrs. Bell, but You do. Please enable her to know that You are with her, and that You are her God. Lord, strengthen her and help her and uphold her with Your righteous right hand, (Isaiah 41:10) in Your name, Amen.”
As a woman, wife, and mother, I have frequently inserted my name, the name of my husband, or my childrens’ names in a Scripture verse as I have prayed for them over the years. I have seen the Lord’s gracious work in their lives that would not have happened apart from His doings and intervention on their behalf. “Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord; nor are there any works like Your works. All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name. For You are great, and do wondrous things, You alone are God.” Psalm 86: 9, 10
If you are at all like me as a follower of Christ, we see how quickly we need God’s grace and provision in our daily lives. Jesus tells us in Luke 4:4, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word of God.” When I have wrong thoughts or selfish responses, the Holy Spirit points out my need to come to Him. I might pray, “Oh Lord, I confess these sins and ask that You would forgive me and replace them with ‘Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, and of good report, if there is anything praiseworthy’ (Philippians 4:8), I want to think on these things. Thank You, Father.”
In Psalm 119:105 we read, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” In praying Scripture for others or ourselves we are asking for God and His Word to illumine our path. Praying God’s Word declares my dependence upon Him. As I speak the Truth in my heart it directs me away from empty words and helps me to not view matters solely from my own perspective. My thoughts and outlook are sifted through the Word. It is fellowship and communion with Him; my spirit is nourished. The prophet Jeremiah states, “Your words were found and I ate them, and Your Word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts,” (Jeremiah 15:16). Praying Scripture is a channel through which the Lord conveys His deep love, and care, and provision for me. God, through His Word, has time and time again calmed my anxious thoughts, quieted my fears, comforted my sorrow and disappointment, eased my pain and hurt, and given voice to my thanks and praise. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10).
Dear Christian sisters, desiring that our lives reflect His love and His character, perhaps you join me in praying, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14