You read the Bible. You study its passages. But you want more. You crave for it to become in your life the “living Word.” A Word alive, a song on your lips, the voice in your heart.
For the Word to live in you, you must make it a part of your life—more than simply a part of your routine or a part of your knowledge. One way (only one of many—like one facet on a brilliant-cut diamond) is to pray the Scriptures.
“Pray the Scriptures.” What does it mean? Saying the “Our Father”? That is included, of course, but there are over a thousand other pages of the Bible as well, and just about all can become part of your prayers.
Begin with the Psalms. They are the easiest place to begin this discipline. Are you joyful? Read Psalm 100. Read it—and pray it. Let the words of the Psalmist become your own words. Let the verses flow through you as if they were being spoken for the first time in God’s creation.
Have you sinned? Pray Psalm 51. Be in agony as David was when he wrote the words—recognize the depths of your sin, the distance it has brought you from God . . . and the all-forgiving love of God that would take you back, cleanse you, be merciful to you, and (the greatest of miracles!) continue to work through you.
Are you in sorrow? Pray Psalm 77. Ask your true, honest questions of God—tell him that you feel rejected, abandoned, cast off. And seek anew the remembrance of his mercies with the psalmist.
But what of the rest of Scripture? Do you need wisdom? Pray through Proverbs 3 or James 1. Has there been a death in the family? Pray John 11 where Jesus raises Lazarus, or I Corinthians 15, that speaks of our heavenly home and bodies. Are you in doubt? Pray Colossians 1 that describes Christ our Lord, using the words as a declaration of faith, and as a prayer for more faith. Are you in persecution? Pray Ephesians 6, asking anew for the armor God has provided us in the Spirit.
Let the Scriptures become the place you turn to when you don’t have the words to express the joy or sorrow of your soul. Let it become your offering to the Most High God. Let the words truly “dwell within you,” becoming the fruit of your lips and the sweet incense of your prayers.
Then, let this prayer life spiral out, to include your family, friends, enemies, and community. Is your spouse facing a lay-off that is looming above him? Pray the story of David and Goliath, asking that your spouse have David’s faith and confidence, and that God pour out his power mightily. Are there factions within the church? Pray I Corinthians 1 or 12, where Paul speaks against such divisions. Are you the head of the teen ministry? Pray Romans 12 for them, and ask that God reveal to them the gifts he has given to each one of them. Are you a parent? Pray the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 for your children, and ask that they grow up to live such a blessed life.
Through prayer and in prayer, the Scriptures will begin to beat through your veins like your life-blood. No longer will the Bible be the book on your nightstand. It will be your refuge and comfort, your wisdom and direction. In searching its pages, you will find passages for every need, every trouble, every joy, and every sorrow.
Open its pages—and kneel and pray.