Thursday, July 11, 2013

Praying the Scripture

My mother taught me to say my prayers when I was just old enough to talk. I learned to say:

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray Thee Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray Thee Lord my soul to take.

When I was a little older the big kids taught me this one (which we never used in the presence of adults):

Good food, good meat, good God, let’s eat.

I also learned to pray by repeating the words my mother said at bedtime, words which were usually the same basic, “Thank you for the day and for my blessings” prayers. And of course I learned the Lord’s Prayer. So my early prayers were repetitions of other people's words. As I grew older, learning to “make up” prayers using my own words was a challenge, but by the time I was a teenager, I was having long conversations with God. I used to go for walks and tell Him all about my life – out loud.

Now, in some ways, I've returned to repeating other's prayers. As I read the prayers that people in the scriptures prayed, I wonder why I bother using my own words. They say it so much better.

Miriam’s song of deliverance: Exodus 15:1-18
     The Lord is my strength and my song;
         he has given me victory.

David’s prayer of confession: Psalm 51
      Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
         I have done what is evil in your sight.

 David’s prayer of praise: I Chronicles 29:10-13
     Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty.

Of course there are so many more. I could spend days praying the Psalms. And what about the non-stop praises in Revelation? But I am particularly drawn to prayers for others. When God puts people on my heart, I am finding that He also leads me to the right prayer for them. I can and do ask God to bless, comfort and heal, and to give them peace and patience, as needed. But the scripture is so much deeper.

We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Colossians 1:9-14

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God. Philippians 1:9-11

Now, when I run across a prayer in the scripture, I stop and pray it. It’s such a blessing to be given the words by the Author and Recipient of my prayers.

**All the scriptures are from the NLT.

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