Praying the Bible

There are a number of methods of prayer.

Some are very structured and some are less structured.

Perhaps one of the most popular ones is to use The Lord’s Prayer as a model or template.

This kind of gets us to thinking about using the Scripture as a template to help us pray.

Roughly such a method would be to read a scripture devotionally and then pray according to, or with that scripture.

Donald Whitney’s book Praying the Bible provides a method that follows such a method…

The Approach to Prayer

His approach is to:

First take a scripture and then read it…seek to understand what is being said in the Scripture.

Then pray using the words of that Scripture to help lead your prayer…

OK…now stop and read another scripture.

And pray that scripture…

And so on…

Whitney’s book is a short one and I would suggest you get it…

Get it here: http://amzn.to/2j7Jh0M

Some Basic Training In Prayer

The book begins by recognizing one of the biggest problems that many of us have when we pray…

We have a hard time praying for any period of time…

And we have a hard time not falling into repeating ourselves.

Then when we say the same words over and over our prayer life becomes boring…

Whitney believes that we should have some training in prayer…

And this training will help us to break out of this “same ole..same ole” prayer life…

This is in contrast with other approaches that would speak against having a model and instead encourage us to “just pray”…

Whitney disagrees with that kind of approach.

I see where Whitney is coming from and do think that following a method can be helpful in shocking some freshness into our prayer life.

Perhaps maybe you should try a little of this…a little of what you are doing now…and a little of other methods. all of these things can help our prayers.

But I digress…

Back to the book.

Praying the Bible comes in to provide a way…not the only way…but a way to break through this stale and stagnant prayer life…

How is your prayer life?

What if you used the Scriptures as a model?

What Do WE Pray About?

Whitney notes that most of our prayers are about one of 6 things…

1) Family
2) Future
3) Finances
4) Work/school
5) Church
6) A Current Crisis

This is your life…and if you pray about your life, you will pray about these things…

And the reality that our life doesn’t change all that often…

What we pray about doesn’t change often…

So it is easy to fall into the trap of using the same words cause you are praying about the same things…

Pray about the same old things with the same old words…

So you don’t feel like praying…

So what do you do?

Pray through a passage of scripture…

Whitney suggests that you use the Book of Psalms as a starting point.

Ok…back to the method…

Example

Read Bible first…

Let’s assume Psalm 23…

Read first verse…

“The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.”

Now pray…

You may end up with something like…

“Lord I thank you that you are my shepherd…you have shepherded me though a rough patch this week. At work I needed help and you showed yourself as you guided me.”

Perhaps you will be thinking about family and say something like…

“Lord, Sister Betty really needs to be shepherded. We have helped her, but her mobility is quickly going down. I don’t know what to do, but you know Lord.”

Maybe someone who has left the church.

“Lord Brother Joe really needs to feel your shepherding. Please touch him in ways that only you can.”

What about when you don’t feel like God has showed up for you and you mad about it.

“Lord you said you would be a shepherd, why are you not shepherding me right now? I have tried to do what you have said. I have tried to rest in you. I have waited for you to show up and you haven’t showed up. Lord…”

You basically use the words of scripture as your model as you pray to God about it.

Then go to the next line…

“Lord I thank you that I am not in want…I thank you for giving me all that you have given to me…Please provide what you will…”

Or maybe you want to ask God about why you are in want. Or if you are in want. Or how you are in want?

Then go to the next line.

Read the text…and talk to God about what comes to mind as you pray it…

Important Notes on Praying the Bible

Note, this is slightly different than using the text to pray itself as some methods teach.

Also, this is not interpreting the Bible or Biblical hermeneutics. It is a devotional reading of the text.

In addition, if you don’t understand a scripture or don’t know how to pray it…skip it…

If sinful thoughts come into your mind…pray about them or simply move on……

If an unrelated thought comes to mind…pray about that…Or pray about why these thoughts came to mind…or simply skip the scripture.

What about the Imprecatory Psalms?

Now what about the Imprecatory Psalms… – you know the ones that speak of dire consequences and enjoyment of pain and hurt to enemies.

Keep on praying it…but don’t pray with people in mind. Place sins in there. Sins of people, your sin…and perhaps against national sins.

Conclusion

The first thing, as the author notes, is that this is not Bible Study neither does it take the place of deep Bible Study. Also don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you are doing deep study of the Bible.

Do not let this approach push you to always doing a shallow/surface reading of the scripture. This can be problematic.

However, with that one caveat, I would encourage you to get this book on prayer (http://amzn.to/2j7Jh0M) and use it as a help or jolt to get you started. Especially if you haven’t had much training on prayer.

About the Author Sherman Cox

Vanderbilt Trained Minister (MDiv), Univ. of Alabama Trained Software Developer (MS), Author, Blogger (http://soulpreaching.com), Husband, Son, Brother, Father.

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