Maybe like me you’ve wanted a deeper and stronger prayer life. We know it’s there for us, but we struggle with consistency or with thoughts that meander despite our best intentions. Right? Double ugh.
Learning to pray scripture has broadened and deepened my prayers. It keeps my mind focused on praying and takes my Bible study even deeper as I turn what I’ve studied into a personal prayer.
Praying scripture is not new. The whole book of Psalms is a prayer book. But using the Psalms and other Bible verses as the basis for my prayers is a fresh approach for me.
Praying scripture uses the words of a Bible verse or a Bible passage to guide your prayer. It’s a powerful way to pray for several reasons.
1.Praying scripture keeps my mind from wandering.
So often when I’m praying, I start out on track only to find minutes later I’ve drifted to that phone call I need to return which leads to revisiting a conversation I had yesterday which leads – well, it’s a consistent struggle to keep my mind on praying.
The enemy loves to distract us from the important work of prayer. Praying scripture helps me reign in wandering thoughts because it acts as a guide through which I can pray.
2. Praying scripture broadens my prayers.
We can fall into the trap of praying the same things with the same words. Also, our prayers are often limited by what we know to pray for. Praying through the Bible expands my prayers by guiding me into new areas I’ve not been praying and reminding me of areas that need prayer.
3. Praying scripture makes confession more regular.
One spiritual discipline sorely lacking in the 21st century church is regular confession. The Protestant church has largely thrown the baby out with the bath water here. When we do make confession part of our prayer, it’s typically the catch-all “please forgive me for my sin” kind of confession.
Praying through Bible verses makes our confession much more picky. We’re confronted with not just our sin but our distinct sins and we can then confess each specifically.
4. Praying scripture is praying the will of God.
So often, our prayers can become a bucket list of things we want and things we need. While it’s right to take our requests to God, we also need to let God align us to His will and His ways.
When we pray the very Word of God, we’re praying God’s heart. We’re asking based on His promises and His character. We’re praying back to Him what He’s already declared in His Word.
So, how can we learn to pray scripture?
One way would be use one or two verses from your daily devotion. After reading and studying it, turn it into a prayer. I recently prayed through 1 Corinthians 13 as I studied it, because I not only want to know what Biblical love is, I wanted to incorporate it personally.
I could see with razor clarity where I fall short and I spent quite a bit of prayer time in confession. But I also prayed through the verses, asking God to do in me what I cannot — to love the way God loves.
The Psalms also make a great place to start praying through scripture. Taking one Psalm per day, you could pray through all the Psalms in about 5 months.
Here’s an example of how I prayed through Psalm 30 in the months after Dan died:
1 I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
2 Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
3 You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.
I prayed these verses in anticipation. I was still very much in the pit of despair and grief and I sure didn’t feel healed but I knew God could bring it and would bring it in His time. I clung to these verses as a prayer of hope:
“Lord, the enemy will not win here. What the enemy would love to use to pull our family apart and keep me down, I pray You will use to draw us even closer. I need You so desperately.”
4 Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
“Lord, I praise you. You are holy and Your ways are always right. Forgive my doubt. Forgive my unholiness. Forgive me for (specific sins / thoughts/ actions). My heart is broken. My kids’ hearts are broken. Help us see You and find joy again. Restore us, Lord.”
6 When I felt secure, I said,
“I will never be shaken.”
“Forgive my pride. Forgive my independence. Forgive me for going my own way and wanting my own way. Forgiven me for the idolatry of comfort. And Lord, when I feel good again, keep me utterly dependent on You. Do not let me drift from You. Thank you that You are never shaken and that you secure me through the worst.”
10 Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
Lord, be my help.
11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.
“I need Your mercy. Our family needs Your mercy. We need your help. Father, I am overwhelmed with the needs of my children and the needs of this house and the needs of my own heart.
I have no idea what the future holds. I have no idea what life will look like in 2 years or 5 years. How am I going to parent these kids through their teens? How can I parent my littlest who will be raised without their dad? I cannot do it. It is beyond me and it scares me to death.
But You can. You know. You know the way for us to take. You are our provision. You are our guide. You are the wisdom I need. You are sufficient, more than sufficient, and though our hearts are broken, You’ve promised us abundance Lord. Help us to see it. Help us to know abundant life again.
I praise you that you will restore joy. I praise you even though I don’t see a lot of joy right now. You are faithful. And You will do what you have promised. So my heart praises you, now and forever. You are my God. And forever worthy of all praise.”
Maybe like me, you’ve longed for a deeper, more powerful prayer life. Learning to pray scripture is one more way we can become robust prayer warriors. Because the depth of our prayers is the depth of our walk.
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Peggy Kennon says
Thank you for this direction and guidance Lisa! I am going to incorporate this into my prayer time for I am the queen of the rabbit trail! 🐇
Jennifer Waddle says
Oh, how I love this, Lisa! Recently, I was faced with a painful trial, and the Lord led me to Psalm 37. I have read it, prayed it, journaled it, and praised God for it! Thank you for your faithful encouragement.
Betsy de Cruz says
This is a topic clise to my heart, Lisa. Praying scripture has brought new life to my prayer as well. Something about oraying God’s words back to him motivates me and increases my faith!
Betsy de Cruz says
I meant “close” to my heart. And “praying!” On my phone here!
Sarah Leonard says
Thank you, Lisa. God’s divine timing always makes me smile. I was just with my Moms in Prayer group this morning and part of their program guide is praying Scripture. We all discussed how we just don’t really do that in our regular prayer lives but were challenged to start. When I got home, your email with a link to this blogpost was right there in my Inbox. God is so good!
Christy Mobley says
Such wise words today, Lisa. I need to pray Scripture more often. I’m lazy in that area but when I do I feel more fulfill and connected to the Father.
God bless you as you allowed the holy spirit to use to mentor us….I’m so blessed…
Such a good reminder! Thank you!
Lisa Brown says
Perfect. Love and needed this! Thank you much! 💕
Helen Dumili says
Thank you, Lisa, for wonderful ways of praying using Scriptures. I was reading an article saying that science trying to prove that the Bible is wrong. I feel sad to those people who feel they know everything. Right at that moment, I started to open the Bible and came up to Job 38:4-7
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
I prayed: Lord God, forgive me for being arrogant and depending on my intelligence. I don’t have any understanding at all. You created me from nothing.
What a great message and so timely too! Prayer is something I’ve always struggled with. I get stopped in my tracks and distracted so easily. Or I feel stuck in what I’m praying because I do not align what I am praying to His will. And the only way to know His will is by knowing Him and His word more deeply. I will definitely be using your tips on how to pray scripture.
Brilliant post. Thank you fur the direction and how to to pray scripture. I’m learning this myself now.
Thank you, I took notes, this is very inspiring!
Shirley van Aswegen says
Thank you for showing us how to pray scripture. I will definitely be using your tips .
Gladys Ochala says
Thanks Lisa, it was simply what I needed. God bless and strengthen you. Amen
Thanks I have the same problem also my mind just wander during prayer.it helps to have people like you.
Grace Lewa says
May God strengthen you day by day as you shephard his flock. I have learnt immensely from you in praying the scriptures. May the Holy Spirit guide me in that direction as I yearn to spend more time in Gods presence.
temwanani rachel domoya says
Thanks for the teaching and God bless u
Lisa Robinson says
Thank you ladies for your wonderful comments and the encouragement. My pray life is not what I want it to be I to find myself drifting and not praying as I should, but my biggest fear is praying corporately and I know we are commanded to do so. please pray for me in this area and that God would be pleased with me.
Norene Johnsonson says
I love your ideas on praying the scriptures in prayer. Thank you.
I have als loved to pray with the word of God , but am always very lazy , and l need lots of prayers.
I am amazed by your words of encouragement.
God bless you real good & your family
Deb Schroeder says
Absolutely love this. A great encouragement.
Thanks Liza for this guide on how to pray. I really do need it now because sometimes I just feel that I don’t know how to pray and often babble not knowing which words to use to make my request clear. Thanks again
Patricia Stukel says
I am in charge of the prayer for our Women’s Retreat and it was suggested that we learn to pray scripture for one another. This is really helpful and encourages me to continue in this way. Thank you Lisa.
Lisa Appelo says
So glad this helped you! I had a series on my Instagram as well that might help. We prayed through Psalms 1-40. I’m going to do it again because I loved it! You can read the first post in the series here.
Bertha fontenot says
I would love to pray scripture,I sure could use some help I feel it would increase my faith and much more ,
Sherl Johnson says
Very encouraging….I love this simple reminder that we can use scripture to help grow our prayer walk. I’m excited and motivated.
I guess my biggest question is until I learn the scriptures can I read them
Lisa Appelo says
Karen, as we read the scripture and ask God to help us understand, we learn them. We never arrive! Until we go home to heaven, we will be learning more about God and his Word. Great question.
I love praying Scripture and you have done an excellent job explaining what it is and how it helps deepen our relationship with the Lord.
Thank you for this post. I will be sharing it with my friends!
Sherria Johnson says
I was praying for a more deeper and powerful prayer life reading this moments ago made me feel so positive about really receiving that life thank you for your encouragement and direction
Yakubu B. Malgwi says
Thank you for guiding me through prayer in such dimension. I really love it
jocelyn lagtapon says
Praying the scripture is truly powerful. Thank you for the lesson.
Pamela Patterson says
I want to learn to pray Scripture.
Okunrinmeta moyo Stephen says
Thanks so much, i loved this. I have prayed scripturaly and i got a lot of results
Dear Ms Lisa,
I was searching for scripture to pray when I landed on your site. I am extremely thankful to the Holy Spirit in guiding me. I was at a loss of how to pray I had forgotten totally how to pray as I faced depression and poverty. Your blog has cleared my memory and renewed my hope and my thirst for my family’s love. Thank you very much.