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The Disciplines: Praying Scripture
What are the spiritual disciplines? Well, author and pastor, John Piper puts it this way:
“The spiritual disciplines are those practices found in Scripture that promote spiritual growth among believers in the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are habits of devotion, habits of experiential Christianity that have been practiced by God’s people since biblical times.”
So, if these have been practiced by God’s people since biblical times, they are probably pretty important right?
The answer should be a resounding “Yes!” Yet many of us struggle to make these disciplines habits or even consider them important.
Today, we want to focus on just one of the many spiritual disciplines to help you grow in your walk with Jesus and equip you to begin to make these disciplines part of your daily life.
Today we are going to look at the discipline of praying Scripture.
It’s probably pretty safe to assume everyone here is at least a little familiar with prayer. But how comfortable or familiar are you with praying Scripture as a model of prayer?
Psalm 141 gives us an example of praying Scripture from the life of David.
“O Lord, I call upon you; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to you! Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice! Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Do not let my heart incline to any evil, to busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity and let me not eat of their delicacies! Let a righteous man strike me — it is a kindness; let him rebuke me — it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it. Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds. When their judges are thrown over the cliff, then they shall hear my words, for they are pleasant. As when one plows and breaks up the earth, so shall our bones be scattered at the mouth of Sheol. But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless! Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me and from the snares of evildoers! Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by safely.”
Keeping this passage in mind, let’s take a moment to learn more about what praying scripture is, what it looks like, and how we can begin to put this practice into our daily rhythms.
Praying Scripture is a well that will never run dry as it always leads us to God’s heart.
Take a moment to reflect on the following questions and assess where you are in your practice of praying Scripture.
1️⃣ Why do you think we neglect to pray?
2️⃣ Most people’s answer to the question “how is your prayer life,” is “it could be better.” Could you see how adopting the HABIT of Praying Scripture might help you to improve your own prayer life?
3️⃣ Do you have confidence to approach the Father with expectation? Do you think He wants to hear you? Do you think He wants to answer you? How do your answers to those questions influence you to actually actively pray?
Below is a model prayer to God based on Psalm 141. Use it as a tool to help you get in the habit of praying Scripture!
To hear God and be near to God — My Father, I want to love you like you love me, but I need your help today because I cannot do it by myself. I need you near me because I do not know how to do this by myself. I am scared and feel alone right now. I want to give my life and everything therein to you, that you might do more with it than I could (personal, family, church, community).
To protect me from myself — I fail when I try to do it alone. I struggle to say the right words, make the “right” choices, and choose the “right” friends. Would you fill my mouth, heart, life, and community with edifying power by the power of the Holy Spirit? Help me to choose you over and over and over again because your portion is better than anything the world might offer me. The world makes offers to me regularly. The media tries to show me “delicacies” that are tempting. Guard my eyes. The people around me offer me unwholesome talk, jokes, and plans; I do not want to appear rude. I do not want to be lonely. Consecrate me unto you.
To deliver me from evildoers — Help me! I cannot seem to get away from people and things that want to hurt me. You called me to be in the world, but not of the world, and I do not always know how to do that. Protect me from the wickedness around me. Protect me from the desires to make camp with people who do not want what is best for me. Give me words of life to speak to the death around me. By your grace, allow the words you have given me to be seen as a shining beacon in the distress of the storms of life.
To grant me peace and security on my path — I know this road is not easy. I know we live in a fallen world. Sometimes I focus too much on the brokenness surrounding me instead of the blessedness abounding in me through your Son. Anoint my eyes to see the path you have laid out for me. Anoint my ears to hear your words! Even though I am sure to encounter difficulty, you have promised me an eternal inheritance that begins today by the power of your Spirit! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.