Have you ever felt overwhelmed by prayer? Does praying God’s Word seem like something you’re neither equipped nor qualified to do? I totally understand! But here’s the good news—you can learn how! Praying Scripture isn’t as difficult as you might think. Over time I’ve learned how to allow the Bible to inform and inspire my prayers and then to use it as a foundation to inscribe them—in my prayer journal, as I pray aloud, and most of all, in my heart.
3 specific steps to pray God's Word. #InformInspireInscribe Click To Tweet3 Steps to Praying God’s Word
Scripture must INFORM our prayers.
When we pray, our first priority must be to align our hearts with God’s heart so our prayers are headed in the right direction. Some of the questions we can ask during this part of the process include:
- What does this passage reveal about the character, nature, plan, or will of God?
- What does this passage reveal about the character, nature, plan, or will of man?
- How must we be changed to align ourselves with the revealed nature of God in this passage?
Questions like this help guard our prayers from the tendency toward self-centeredness. For example, Psalm 103 identifies God as being a forgiver, healer, and redeemer (v. 3-4). Continuing, the writer describes God as “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (v. 8). In verse 10, the writer speaks again of God’s character, but in doing so, reveals a great deal about the nature of man — “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities” — we are sinners and deserve a penalty for the ways we fail to live for God.
As we look at these truths, we recognize that our sin separates us from God, which makes His grace and loving kindness all the more precious. These verses inform us about God’s and humanity’s character.
Scripture must INSPIRE our prayers.
Once we have identified truths about God’s character and our need to conform to His revelation, certain words or phrases from the Bible passage can be incorporated into our prayers. At this point, we ask questions like:
- What is the character trait I want to see manifested in my life?
- How does God’s Word give encouragement or answer to my struggles?
Questions like these keep our prayers focused on the entirety of the Word and on God’s desires for us. If we continue to use Psalm 103 as our example, we might be inspired to see ourselves grow in giving mercy and grace. Also, we could focus on the value of understanding our own sinful nature and to accept the forgiveness God offers.
We INSCRIBE our prayers based on Scripture.
This is not necessarily writing out your prayers in a journal (though it can be). Rather, our goal is to inscribe these prayers on our own hearts. Using our Psalm 103 illustration, I might write out or speak a prayer like this:
“Lord, Your grace and mercy astound me. I can’t begin to fathom the depths of Your love for me. Thank you for being slow to anger and abounding in love. I pray Your love will be evident to me, and Your grace will continually draw me into a closer relationship with you. Help to see the sin in my life and be quick to confess it to You. Give me certainty in Your forgiveness and guide me to the full life You have planned for me. As You forgive and love me, teach me to forgive and love others as a means of pointing them to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
At this point, we’ve allowed Scripture to inform us about God, about humanity, and about changes in thoughts or actions that the verses call for. We’ve opened ourselves to being inspired to pray using certain words in the passage to equip us to exhibit specific traits or actions that the verses speak of. Then, finally, we inscribe our prayers—write them out or speak them—from our hearts. We are actually praying.
As silly as it sounds, sometimes we get so caught up in thinking about prayer or learning about prayer or preparing to pray that we never get around to actually praying. All the informing and inspiring are without power until the words are actually inscribed: spoken, written, prayed!Don't get so caught up in thinking about and preparing to pray that you never actually PRAY! Click To Tweet
Learning to pray Scripture with confidence has been a game-changer for me. When I prayed all those years ago for a passion for the Word of God, I had no idea how it would impact my prayer life. These three steps — inform, inspire, inscribe — are the foundation of my prayers for my girl, for my husband, for my church, for everything. I hope you will find this simple plan useful as you grow in your prayer life as well.