Most Christians want to pray, but they just simply don’t—myself included sometimes. And I believe most Christians really want to be passionate about prayer, but they just aren’t. Why is that?
Is it because prayer is boring? At least that is the way most of us experience it. Are you praying the same things in the same way and, as a result, getting distracted? If you are like me, you regularly catch your mind wandering, thinking about that project at work or your next snack. Prayer may have become a useless formality, like mindlessly reciting the pledge of allegiance. Jesus warns against praying like this:
“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” | Matthew 6:7
So, you find prayer is boring or you’re stuck in a mind-numbing cycle of repetition, what is the solution? The answer is simple: PRAY THE BIBLE.
Pray the Bible
In the Bible we find our vocabulary for prayer. The Psalms were written as prayers and Jesus and his followers modeled this kind of prayer for us (Matthew 27:46; Acts 4:24-26). This heritage of praying the scriptures has been passed down for thousands of years, but many of us simply don’t pray this way. Instead of coming up with your own things to pray and words to speak, read through a passage of the Bible and allow God to give you what to pray for and how to pray it.
The easiest place to start is in the Psalms. Pick a psalm and work through each verse.
For an example, let’s look at Psalm 1:1-2:
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”
With this passage you might pray the Lord gives you strength to turn from ungodly counsel. A situation may come to mind where you are being tempted to follow “the counsel of the wicked,” so you ask God to give you wisdom and courage to resist. You might also spend time specifically interceding for family and friends, that they would avoid such destructive paths. Once you have prayed all that comes to mind, move to the next verse. The second verse may prompt you to praise God and ask him to give you a desire for the scriptures.
When you are done praying one verse, or nothing specific comes to mind, move to the next verse. When you finish praying through a psalm, move to another if you have time.
Thy Will Be Done
Since the Bible is the primary way God speaks to his children, it makes sense we would use it as the vocabulary for our prayers. When you pray this way, something exciting happens. Prayer becomes fresh and powerful. You no longer have to worry about whether or not you are praying God’s will. When you pray his words, you pray his will. Praying the scriptures allows God to speak to us in profound ways as we pray through his Word.
This post is inspired by Don Whitney’s book, Praying the Bible. If you want to learn more, pick up this short read or visit Pray the Bible and sign up for 5 short courses on how to pray the scriptures.