By Judi S. Coleman
When asked, many Christians agree that praying should be one of their top priorities; however, many will admit they don’t pray with consistency. Most confess one of the main reasons they do not pray more is because they feel a lack of connection with God and feel that prayer has had little impact on their lives.
Many Christians do not experience an intimate and life-changing relationship with the Lord because they do not infuse their prayers with the Word of God.
Why the Word Makes a Difference
The Word of God is a living document that has power to change us. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4: 12).
The Amplified Bible translates the passage this way:
For the Word of God speaks and is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and the joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.
Infusing Scripture into my prayers has changed me from someone who prayed primarily out of a desire to be obedient, into someone who now prays out of a deep love relationship with God. Praying energizes my living and living energizes my praying.
How It Works
Scripture-based praying involves selecting verses from the Bible that fit our unique needs, writing them in our own words, and praying them on a regular basis. It is a beautifully simple and spiritually profound process.
As part of my ministry to people who struggle with severe pain, I showed Lisa (not her real name) how to incorporate Scripture-based praying into her life. Lisa is a Christian with a deep desire to draw near to God. She longed to seek direction from the Lord instead of running headlong into one treatment after another for her fibromyalgia pain. In addition, she desired God’s help with her severe anxiety.
I showed Lisa how to use an online resource to find Scriptures related to trust and anxiety. Following some simple steps, she developed four Scripture-based prayers. The following examples show what Scripture-based prayer looks like:
Scripture text: “Trust the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5, 6, NIV).
Lisa’s Scripture-based Prayer: “I will place my trust in you, Lord, with my whole heart, and will not depend on my own, or others’ (including doctors, up to a point) limited understanding of how things seem. Instead, I will acknowledge you as Lord of my life over all my thoughts, actions, and decisions, believing you will set me on the best path. Amen.”
Scripture text: “Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully” (1 Peter 5:7, Amplified Bible).
Lisa’s Scripture-based Prayer: “Father, I am casting all of my cares—everything that worries me and makes me anxious and keeps me from sleeping at night—into your waiting hands. I don’t need to worry about them any longer, for you provide loving care for me and my family, as you watch over us always. Amen.”
Lisa agreed to pray using a schedule we arranged. When I followed up with her three weeks later, she was excited to tell me about the difference Scripture-based praying had made in her life.
For the first few days, praying felt like it always did—like I was talking into thin air,” Lisa began. “But on the fourth morning, I don’t know how to describe it except to say that ‘God showed up!’ As I prayed about casting my cares on him, I pictured a big fishing net being thrown into the ocean, and all my worries being caught up in it. I knew it was God who was catching them, and it has made it much easier to let them go.
Lisa’s life has changed radically as a result of praying this way. She now experiences the peace and joy of an intimate walk with the Lord and feels she has more clarity regarding treatment decisions. This has affected other areas of her life as well. She’s also becoming better acquainted with God’s Word. She says, “For the first time in my life, I can actually recall Scripture and apply it to my life.”
What It Requires
Scripture-based praying requires time and thought. Preacher and author John Piper wrote, “One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.”
The amount of time you spend in prayer and the methods you use when praying will vary. You may use Scripture-based prayers during special times you set apart to spend with God, or you may write them out and carry them with you to pray over several times throughout the day—particularly if you have a pressing need. The key is to have a plan and use it.
How to Begin
First, determine where you most need biblical insight and God’s help. It may be in an area such as finances, marriage, children, hope, health, or fear.
Next, pull together materials to visually capture your prayers. Many people write them on index cards. More creative types incorporate them into photos or some kind of decorative creation. Feel free to be creative, if it helps; otherwise, keep it simple.
Search out Scriptures for verses that speak to your needs. Consult a concordance or Bible dictionary. Use online Bible study resources like biblegateway.com,
bible.com, or crosswalk.com.
As you look for Bible verses, take time to read the context surrounding the verses to expand your understanding and ensure you are honoring the intent of the passage. Read from two or three different versions of the Bible to expand your knowledge and insight.
Reduce your list to a few verses that seem most fitting.
Rewrite your verses as personal prayers, using your own words, being careful not to change their meaning. If you have done your work to this point, you should have no problem.
Make a commitment to pray. To start out, you might want to begin by praying your Scripture-based prayers twice a day, five days a week, for three to four weeks.
Ready . . . Set . . . Pray!
How often have you come this far and lost steam? Don’t let it happen this time. If necessary, schedule an appointment daily to spend time with God in this way. Keep your prayer cards in a visible location, or replace another habit (such as reading the morning paper or watching an evening TV program) with praying.
Be patient and expect the Lord to make his presence known to you. Make notes on the backs of your prayer cards about any insights you receive.
Don’t settle for dry, lifeless prayers. Insist on having a living and breathing relationship with the Lord. Begin
Judi S. Coleman is a freelance writer in Richmond, Virginia.
Praying the Scriptures
Gain greater insights into a life of prayer from these online articles.
“Learning from the Prayer Life of Jesus” by Robert Velarde