Whether you’re praying for Penn State or another situation, praying the Bible is powerful.
It helps you memorize Scripture, helps you pray in agreement with God’s will, stays your mind on God, and renews your mind.
The verses below are from the Prayer Guide: A New Lion Rising, which was designed to help you pray for Lion Country.
Here are four ways to pray the Bible.
Meditate on Scripture
Today, meditation has taken on a passive meaning. But meditation isn’t passive at all. In the Bible, the word for “meditate” is hagah. It means to “meditate, moan, growl, utter, speak,” and refers to lions that growl.
Simply choose a section of Scripture. Next, turn your thoughts to God and focus on Him. Then begin reading slowly, preferably out loud. Others have called this pray-reading. Pay attention to the words that stick out, which are screaming “Ooh, ooh, pick me! Pick me!” So pick them.
Pause at those words and let them work. Hover over them. Wait to see what happens. You might see an image or settle on a thought. You might hear God speaking to your heart. When you feel a release from each particular dealing, move on. However, don’t concern yourself with speed or completion. It’s better to stay where God is working than speed to finish the verse.
So if you’re using a verse from the Prayer Guide, you might use Psalm 34.18: “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
You might pray, “LORD, you are close to the brokenhearted.” You might stop at the word brokenhearted and remember times in which you were brokenhearted, and it causes you to cry out and ask for God’s comfort for those who are brokenhearted because you needed God’s comfort when you were brokenhearted.
And you might remember that the heart is the wellspring of life, and you ask God to heal the brokenhearted because a broken heart will mean a broken life. And you might see a picture of a shattered heart, but then God putting it all together again. And you agree with God to restore broken lives.
Do you see what I mean? Focusing on one word—brokenhearted—leads me to a variety of prayers, all which are appropriate for the brokenhearted. It becomes not only a prayer for others, but an experience with God for myself.
Make Scripture Personal
Another way to pray the Bible is to make Scripture personal. The Bible is, after all, God’s Word to us. You can insert “God, you said,” to verses that contain God’s commands or promises. You might also have to replace pronouns to make it work.
For example, Exodus 20.3: “God, you said to have no other gods before you.” Or Zephaniah 3.17, “God, you said you are with us and are mighty to save. You said you will take great delight in us.”
Or insert a name into the verse to pray for a particular person. Let’s say you want to pray for Marcus with John 3.1: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on Marcus, that Marcus should be called a child of God!” Or for a group of people, Penn State students with Matthew 22.37: “We pray that the Penn State students will love the LORD with all their heart and with all their soul and with all their mind.”
Mash Up Bible Prayers
Bible prayer mashups are fun ways to pray the Bible. A song mashup is a combination of two or more songs. The songs are laid seamlessly on each other. You can do the same with Bible verses. Instead of praying just one passage, overlay different Bible verses to form a Bible prayer mashup. (Of course, the verses have to be somehow related.)
Choose a topic, say humility, and string together verses about humility. For example, “God, you ask why do we look at the speck in our brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in our own eye? You ask why do we look down on our brother? We know when we judge others, we will be judged with the same measure we use. We will all stand before your seat in judgment. God, you oppose the proud but give grace to the humble. Convict us of our pride, LORD, and lead us to humility.” (Matthew 7.2-3; Romans 14.10; James 4.6)
Or praying for sexual purity: “God, you say the body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the LORD. You say don’t commit adultery. You say whatever we do, do it all for your glory. God, you are holy and you call us to be holy. Make us holy, LORD, in spirit, soul, and body. Sanctify us through and through.” (1 Corinthians 6.13, 10.31; Exodus 20.14; 1 Peter 1.15; 1 Thessalonians 5.23)
Move Through A List
A fourth way to pray Scripture is moving through a list. You can compile a list yourself or use one that someone else has compiled. For example, you can pray the names of Jesus. Here are five of them:
- Bread of Life (John 6.33)
- Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5.4)
- Head of the Church (Eph. 1.22)
- Son of God (John 1.49)
- Son of Man (Mtw. 8.20)
Or attributes of God:
- Wise (Romans 11.33)
- Holy (Lev. 11.44)
- Faithful (1 Cor. 10.13)
- Loving (1 John 4.16)
- Unchanging (Heb. 13.8)
Simply pray what’s on the list. Start with the concept (the name, attribute, etc.) and branch out: “Jesus, you’re the chief shepherd. You gently guide me into quiet pastures. I hear your voice and trust you. You protect me and help me find my way.”
To pray the attributes of God, “God, you are wise. Your wisdom existed before the mountains were formed and the rivers flowed. You provide wisdom to him who asks.”
Another type of list is “Who I Am” statements. These are statements about who we are in Christ, taken directly from Scripture. Neil Anderson has compiled a list of 33, which describe our identity in Christ. Here are five:
- I am God’s child (John 1.12)
- I am Christ’s friend (John 15.15)
- I have been bought with a price; I belong to God (1 Cor. 6.20)
- I am a citizen of heaven (Php. 3.20)
- I am God’s coworker (2 Cor. 6.1)
To pray them, start with the truth and follow where it leads. For example, “God, I am your child. You made me and you see me. You love me as a father loves his child. You want the best for me.”
By praying the Bible, we pray God’s word into the situation.