What does "praying Scripture" mean?
Praying Scripture is to use specific passages of Scripture in prayer rather than solely relying on our own thoughts and ideas to form our prayers to the Holy God. Now, this does not mean that every word in our prayer be directly from Scripture nor does it mean that prayers that do not use Scripture directly are lesser prayers. Of course, we can pray the Lord's Prayer or the 23rd Psalm or any other passage verbatim because the Lord's Word is profitable and valid and true. However, we can also pray prayers straight from the heart, and the Lord hears just the same.
It is important to remember that in the book of Romans, the Bible tells us that we do not know how to pray, and we need the Spirit to help us. We know that we fail at prayer because our ways and thoughts are not God's. Thank Him daily that He hears us despite our failings and lack of knowledge, and He provides Jesus to intercede at the Throne and the Spirit to guide and help us.
I find that using Scripture in my prayers helps guide my thoughts and align my desires with His Word. For example, I daily pray Matthew 5:6 ("Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.") over myself, my brothers, and my friends. What does this look like? Well, often the prayer looks something like this:
Dear Holy, Heavenly Father, I come upon your precious throne of grace bringing the Blood of Jesus which is the only way that I can approach your throne. I pray that you would renew my heart and give a pure, holy passion - a hunger and thirst - for your righteousness. Let my soul not be satisfied with mere crumbs of Your Word and will, but let me yearn to be filled daily with Your Spirit and to always desire to walk in Your way. You promised, Lord, that You will fill me and bless me spiritually as I wholly seek You with a pure heart, and I pray, Lord, that You will fill me to overflowing with joy unspeakable in serving You. Please grow my desire to walk with You. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
As I pray this prayer, I am reminded that He desires for me to wholly seek Him, and He promises a spiritual filling and blessing if I hunger and thirst after righteousness. By turning my eyes to His Word, I can see what I should be praying for.
How do you correctly pray Scripture?
The first step is to understand the Scripture.
Using Scripture to pray helps us worship in Spirit and in Truth because we know that the Bible is given by inspiration of God and is therefore true and wholesome. However, it is vital that we study and meditate on the passage in order to know what it truly means so that we are not twisting the Scripture and taking it out of context in our prayers.
For example, a well-known Scripture is Philippians 4:13 which states, "For I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." This passage is often taken out of context and applied to anything in life. I hear people say that it gives permission and liberty to doing virtually anything or accomplishing any desire when sometimes it isn't the Lord's will that we can literally "do anything." A careful look at the context of this passage shows that Paul is talking about contentment when he says that the Lord strengthens him in any situation that the Lord places him in. Therefore, when praying this Scripture, we are careful not to misinterpret it and use it to justify our selfish desires and wants.
When do you pray Scripture?
Praying Scripture-filled prayers can apply in any type of prayer. For example, Psalm 91 is a great psalm that applies to protection. My mom often prayed this psalm in our morning devotions before we all embarked on our days journeys. The Scripture is profitable for prayer in all areas - thanksgiving, repentance, faithfulness, freedom from addiction, government, friends, mourning, etc.
Often, when I pray Scripture, I have meditated on a passage that the Lord set in front of me and seek to apply it in life. For example, a passage about peace may turn into a prayer for that peace. I claim the passage as true and thank Him for it and then pray that He bless me with His peace as He promised.
Whether you are praying over a passage that you are reading or praying a morning prayer to the Lord over your day, using Scripture in prayer is a great way to turn your focus on His way, what He says is true, and His living Word. We know that our thoughts are not His thoughts and we know that we do not know how to pray. His Word is a valuable resource that should be used in our prayers for it is true, right, and holy.
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