Praying the Scripture

ESV Reader’s Bible

Do you ever come away from prayer with the feeling that the words you prayed were trivial?  That you just didn’t seem to express what you were trying to say to God? Sometimes, we go through a lot of effort just trying to think of the right words to pray. Some say that God doesn’t care what you say, that it’s all about the heart. This is correct. But sometimes we just need to call out to God in a way that is edifying and encouraging to us, we need to hear the right words for ourselves.

And that is not an unexpectable thing to want. After all our religion is word based. In the beginning was the Word. And the Bible is not lacking wonderful words to express ourselves to God and God to us. It flabbergasts me the popularity of recent books that make up new words for Jesus to say as if God had not said enough already. Most of us radically under-appreciate the Bible we already have.  One of the most beautiful prayers in all the Bible is found in the old testament in the section right after the description of the Nazarite vow found in the book of Numbers chapter 16. The Nazarite vow is a special vow taken by those who deliberately wanted to consecrate themselves more to God by a set of physical actions.

Here is the prayer God himself gives us:

 “The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.” (NIV)

 We can pray this prayer to God in asking for God’s blessing. It is also interesting that in giving us this prayer right after the Nazarite vow, we can see how our words and actions are intertwined and are virtually inseparable. That is why those whose words and actions are not consistent are such an offence to us and Jesus condemns them ferociously. Praying God’s words of the Bible to him can be a blessing to us and an instruction to us to act instead of prayer being exclusively a time of personal reflection and self-expression. After all as we have said, God already knows our heart. 

When we pray these prayers of praise and petitions from the Bible, we are sure we are praying for what God wants, and they can then be followed up in actions that “renew our minds” as the Apostle Paul says. Go through the Bible and find some of your favorite powerful verses to add to your prayer life.

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