A quick Google search of ‘the benefits of praying scripture’ will bring you lists upon lists from people who have engaged in this practice and how found it to be beneficial. One of the ways praying scripture is beneficial is for the portion of Philippians 4:8 that says “…if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].” When we pray through scripture, we are internalizing the living word of God in our minds and in our hearts.
Praying Scripture helps us understand the Scripture, learn more about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and can be a place we come to when we feel at a loss for what to say in our current situations–whether full of sorrow or joy.
Let’s dive into praying scripture!
- Step 1 – Find a piece of scripture you’d like to pray.
- If you’re currently following a daily or weekly devotional you can pray through the scripture you are reading. Or, if there is a specific scripture that is speaking to you lately, try that.
- Step 2 – Read through the scripture slowly.
- Read through the entire scripture nice and slow to gain an understanding of it. Does the piece of scripture encourage you personally to take action? To take action in a group? Notice what the scripture is speaking about.
- Step 3 – Pray through the scripture.
- Start praying however you’d like! I sometimes start with ‘Dear God,’ or ‘Lord,’ or perhaps there’s a certain member of the trinity (Father, Son, or Spirit) that you’re feeling more connected with, then proceed to pray the scripture. I do this by reading the scripture and praying for the things the writer asks for believers to have, to be prompted by the Holy Spirit for things the scripture is encouraging believers to do and ask for a renewing of my mind and heart to align with the truth of what the scripture is saying. Let’s look at an example:
“Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].” Romans 12:1-2
So, a prayer might go
”God, I present to you my body and all that I am as a living sacrifice to you. May I be made holy, set apart, and well-pleasing to you with how I live my life as an act of worship to You. God, reveal to me the ways I am conforming to this world with its superficial values and customers and guide me to focus solely and fully on you so renew my mind so that my heart, my will, all of me is good and acceptable to you. I know you accept me as I am. As one who loves Jesus prune me as needed to produce the Fruit of the Spirit that aligns with all that you are. Amen.”
You can see that most of that was from scripture and the final piece I added in based on my knowledge of scripture and personal understanding of the Gospel. It’s a way to personalize the prayer even more.
- Step 4 – Sit in the presence of God.
- Often, before ‘Amen’, I sit in the presence of God. I am aware that God is always there, all around, so before saying Amen I will intentionally close my eyes and sit in silent awareness. Then I will close with Amen.
- Step 5 – Reflect
- If you wanted to reflect after prayer and meditation, you can! Here are some quick and easy prompts to guide you after your prayer and meditation. These are short and sweet– intentionally so to facilitate an easier way to make this practice a piece of your daily routine.
1 – What stood out while praying scripture (words, phrases, etc)?
2 – Why did they stand out? Did they remind you of a person, of another scripture, a situation, etc?
3 – What would be the results if your prayer was answered? Would this impact just you or would it impact your friends, family, community?
4 – What is one thing you can do this week to partner with God to actively see His will for your life regarding the prayer you prayed come to life?
Praying scripture doesn’t have to be anything fancy and it a beautiful way to allow the words of scripture to inspire the way you connect with our incredible Creator. If you’re filled with lament, allow some of the Psalms to be your prayer. Praying scripture doesn’t mean putting off what we are feeling but can help us enrich our lived experience by praying through scripture that resonates with how we are experiencing life in this moment.
Below I’m sharing an example of reading through Philippians 4:4-9 followed by praying through the same piece of scripture. Find a quiet space, a comfortable seat and enjoy as we allow this scripture to move from head to heart as we practice meditation in the form of praying scripture.