By Samuel Clough
Praying the Scripture is something that I believe is often overlooked, but has incredible value. Recently I’ve been making an intentional effort to pray the Scripture and it has really moved my heart. Just to clarify what I mean by praying the Scriptures, I am not talking about what I call “pray reading.” Pray reading is where, as you read, you turn phrases and verses into prayer and basically dialog with the Lord over the Scripture. This is much slower than just reading the passage, but also helps bring real life into the passage and helps apply it deeper to your heart. This method of devotional reading is very valuable but it not what I am talking about here. If you’re not familiar with this, just leave a comment or send me an email and I can point you to some resources.
What I mean by “Praying the Scriptures” is extracting key phrases, promises of rewards, commands, warnings, and blessings from a book of the Bible or a passage of Scripture and creating a prayer list from these verses. For example, the book of Revelation uses the phrase “ears to hear” at least seven times. From that you could create the following point on a prayer list: “God give me ears to hear. Let me hear what you are saying, both to my heart, and my generation.” Under that prayer you write out the seven verses, reading those verses as you are praying so that your heart is filled with the combination of your own personal heart cry and God’s language describing the need of the human heart.
What this does is help really drive the Scripture into your heart. It does not replace reading and studying entire passages because that is very valuable, but by taking specific action points from the Scripture and specifically praying those we take God’s direction, or His law, and plant it deep in our heart all the while using the Biblical language that God gave us. It is an incredible way to go deeper in the Word and to plant in our hearts what God says really matters. By following the study of a passage with the repeated praying of the passage’s action points over time it helps us to set our hearts to obey the Scriptures in an intentional way rather than just hoping to remember what the Scripture says.
Using this method you will also start seeing patterns in a passage of Scripture. Often God hits the same topic more than once. How often something is repeated in the Scripture is very valuable because it underscores the importance of the directive to our hearts. The sad truth is that we quickly forget much of what we read, but when we intentionally pray the action points that the Scripture gives us, we begin retaining specific things that God directed us to do, to seek for, or to avoid.
The goal is to use this type of prayer as a pattern of heart engagement with the Word and obedience to the Word that we might be found obedient and mature on that great day. Without using techniques like this, there are many promises, and warnings, in the Scriptures that will never stay in our heart.
As far as methodology goes, praying this way does not have to be a rigid type of liturgy. As you develop prayer lists from various passage or books, keep a written record of them and periodically review them in your personal prayer time. God may highlight one particular thing in your prayer list one day and, if He does, just focus on that one thing. The goal is not to follow a certain liturgy or get every prayer point covered that one day, but that over time the Scripture goes deep in our hearts and, in doing so, increases our fellowship and communion with the One who is Holy and to whom we will give account.