Prayer is a mystery to me. My mind goes in continual circles of, “God is my friend and I’ll just chat with him,” to “this is really overwhelming and I have no idea what to say!” The mix of talking to Him about everything and having reverent awe of Him seem to war out in my prayer life.
My perfectionist personality also wants to align my prayers in a nice check-list order, working through an acronym, balancing the friend vs. holy aspects of God equally, so I can mark off a prewritten list of prayer to-dos in an orderly fashion. A nice, neat, check-able way of praying.
And as this internal perfectionism rages in my brain, I think I often forget what is right there in front of me - God’s Word. I forget about the power that I have available to me. I try to figure out many different ways "to pray correctly”, when God’s spoken Word is printed clearly for me to use every time I sit down to pray.
As Paul Miller says in A Praying Life, I have the ability to “put the Word to work,” to use His already pre-printed, God-ordained, spoken Word as a way to genuinely pray.
So how do I “put the Word to work”? Here’s an example of how I pray Scripture using the Praying for your Husband journal:
A few weeks ago, I was working through the Workplace week of prayer in the journal. One of the verses listed to pray over my husband is Psalm 91:51: When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.
I read the verse, and then change it into a prayer for my husband:
Dear Lord, may my husband call to you as his rescuer when he feels drudgery in his work. Be with him in days of trouble, in days that feel like they will never end. This week especially, help him to find honor in you, even when phone calls from certain customers make him feel dejected. Answer him Lord, that you will draw near and be real. Amen.
So, I essentially turn a Scripture verse into a prayer for my husband, "putting the Word to work."
When Brooke McGlothlin was trying to figure out how to pray for her sons, she says, “the only logical place I knew to turn was to the Bible. If the Bible is God’s Word…it seemed logical to pray God’s Word back to Him, asking him to accomplish it” in the lives of those we pray over.
Praying scripture is powerful. It is not only God’s Word put to work, but it also keeps me from praying my agenda, fitting prayer into my perfectionism, and making prayer something I must “do right”, instead of something I do out of love.
I want prayer to be a way I am glowing love into those dear to me, those in my local community, my local story.
Do you pray Scripture? If so, any pointers or tips on how it has helped you?