The Bible describes itself as a lamp for our feet and a light for our path ahead (see Psalm 119:105). That is powerful imagery used to describe how the Scriptures bring light to our dark circumstances, guide our steps, and show us the right way in which we should go to stay in sync with God’s good will.
When we read the Bible, we do not read it for entertainment or something to be taken lightly, but rather for instruction, wisdom, and truth because it is relevant to our lives. Here are nine reasons we should pray the Scriptures.
What Does It Mean to Pray the Scriptures?
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8).
This verse in the book of Joshua gives instruction to pray God’s word and helps us understand what it means to pray the Scriptures. God’s word needs to be on our lips. It needs to be in our minds and hearts, and we should pray it and reflect on it daily. To pray the Scriptures means to add verses to our prayers, or to pray a passage or verse to the Lord. We find another example of praying the Scriptures when Jonah prayed to the Lord.
“He prayed to the Lord and said, ‘Please Lord, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore, in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness’” (Jonah 4:2).
When Jonah prayed, “You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger,” we find that same phrase in earlier instances of Scripture (see Exodus 34:6). Jonah likely knew that Scripture and used it in his prayer to God. This gives us a neat glimpse into what it means in practice to pray the Scriptures.
Why Is Prayer so Important?
Throughout Scripture, we learn of God’s people praying habitually and fervently. Jesus made prayer a spiritual habit. Hannah prayed and cried out to God when she desired to have a child. Moses prayed to God when he needed guidance and help. Paul prayed when he cast out demons. Esther prayed that God would save her people.
Prayer is a spiritual discipline that is vital to the vibrancy of our faith and the relationship we have with Jesus. Prayer is how we talk to God, hear from God, and make our praises and requests known to God. God is just a prayer away (see Deuteronomy 4:7), and it is clear and consistent throughout Scripture that believers should make prayer a high priority.
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9 Reasons We Should Pray the Scriptures
1. Scripture is full of promises from God to believers.
Promises about who God is, what is to come, and the promised blessings of living for him rather than indulging the flesh are seen throughout Scripture. We should pray for these promises to manifest in our lives, declare them in prayer, and ask for them to come to fruition.
2. Scripture is God-inspired.
(See 2 Timothy 3:16). The Bible is inspired by God and therefore full of truth and wisdom that we can meditate on and pray over our hearts and circumstances. It is trustworthy and can lead us in the right way as we seek God’s will and his help through prayer.
3. Scripture teaches us how to pray.
We find many examples of how to pray to God. Jesus taught his followers how to pray, the Psalms are full of prayers, and we find other noteworthy prayers throughout God’s word, such as King Jehoshaphat’s prayer when he learned the enemy was marching toward him for battle.
4. Scripture helps us understand our experiences.
We may not always know the reason we go through certain situations or face difficult trials, but when we look to Scripture, we gain insight into God’s loving presence with us in every aspect of our lives. Therefore, praying Scripture helps us navigate confusing, tragic, or disheartening situations.
5. Scripture is truth.
(See John 17:17). Praying Scriptures will help us pray truth over our problems and will provide us ample trustworthy proclamations about God to adore and worship in our prayers.
6. Scripture gives us the words when we do not have them.
We may not know what to pray when we are suffering, or unsure, or feeling overwhelmed. Biblical accounts around these and many other conditions provide us the words to pray when we would not otherwise know how or what to pray and ask of God.
7. Scripture is powerful.
(See Hebrews 4:12). The Bible declares itself to be sharper than a double-edged sword, which judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts. The often bold and faithful words within Scripture are exactly the powerful words that our prayers need to be filled with to align with God’s holy and righteous ways.
8. Scripture helps us pray for God’s will.
When we are not sure which choice to make, or which path to follow, praying Scripture will help us align with God’s good and perfect plans. When we are uncertain, we can look to Scripture to discern and pray what God’s will is while learning to hear his will clearly.
9. Scripture ministers to us.
When we pray Scripture, we allow God’s comfort, truth, and love to penetrate our hearts. When we reflect on Scripture and let it become the very words we think, pray, and believe, truly, we allow the Bible to minister to us and give us relief and help in whatever we face each day.
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Where Should I Start?
Just like Daniel and Jesus, make a commitment to pray every day. Prayer can and should become part of our routines and rhythms throughout the day. Work prayer into your habits and keep it at the top of your priorities.
As you desire to pray Scripture, the Psalms are a wonderful place to start. Pray one Psalm each day when you spend time with God. Let the words of the Psalm become your own words and prayer of your heart. Say the Psalm to Jesus as if you were sitting right there with him, talking to him and praying to him.
The Psalms give us the words to pray when we are anxious, fearful, overjoyed, worshipping God for who he is, praising him for what he’s done, or needing wisdom because of their relevance to the different situations we face in life. Once you find familiarly and comfort in praying through the Psalms, you will begin finding other passages and verses in books of the Bible that you can pray because they align with what is on your heart or what you are going through.
A Crucial Spiritual Discipline
The significance of prayer cannot be conveyed often enough. All throughout the Bible, we read of God’s people praying and making prayer a daily spiritual habit. The cruciality of this type of spiritual discipline applies to believers today, as well. Jesus left us a beautiful example of the importance of prayer when we read of the many times he would separate himself from others to spend time with the Father in prayer.
Praying the Scriptures will help you learn God’s word better and apply it to your life. When you do this consistently, praying Scripture will impact your relationship with God positively and deepen your faith.
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Pamela Palmer is a writer, chaplain, and the founder of upheldlife.com, the platform on which she produces weekly devotionals and faith resource articles to inspire keeping faith at the center of it all. She lives and thrives on Jesus, coffee, and music. She is in pastoral ministry and gets to share in the emotional and spiritual lives of many people, being a small piece of each journey. Pamela married the perfect man for her and they have two beautiful kiddos. She has been published on herviewfromhome.com and you can follow her at upheldlife.com, or on Facebook.com/upheldlife.
This article is part of our Prayer resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.