Sunday, May 15, 2011

Letting God get a word in

TODAY'S SPECIAL: John 15:1-17

TO CHEW ON: "'If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you.'" John 15:7

Here we see an important part of abiding — or living — in the vine (Jesus) is prayer. And an effective way of praying, that is praying prayers that get answered, is making God's words part of our prayers.

This happens on several levels.

1. God's words change us so we ask for the right things.
As we get familiar with God's heart as expressed in the Bible and we let it change us, our desires will come into line with His will. When that happens we'll pray for things that are His will. When we and God want the same thing, His answers to our prayers will be "Yes."

2. We pray God's words back to Him.
God's word has unique power. Jeremiah describes it as a hammer and a fire. Isaiah tells us it will not fail in the purpose for which God sends it out. So why not pray these powerful, unable-to-fail words back to God.

Daniel Henderson (author of Transforming Prayer) quotes Calvin Miller in this regard:

"Too often we go into God's presence with a list of pleas, trying to talk God into granting our desire. But this kind of praying makes us 'one big mouth' and God 'one grand ear.' But when we pray the Scriptures, it makes God the voice and leaves us the ear. In short, God gets His turn at getting a word in edgewise" - Calvin Miller, from The Path to Celtic Prayer, p. 57, quoted in Transforming Prayer p. 103.

Henderson tells us how he does this practically:

"On a personal level, I read the Scriptures using the Bible program on my laptop. As specific passages speak to me, I paste them into my journal program. Then I take time to allow those Bible segments to speak deeply to my heart and write out my prayers in response. This sense of Christ's presence and the substance of His Word guide my praying for that day" - Transforming Prayer, p. 105.

Let's ask God to show us ways we too can adjust our prayer times to combine Bible words and prayer.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, please teach me to pray using the power of Your words. May they change me. Help me to find and recognize Bible passages that express Your will for the people and circumstances in my life. May I then be alert to use them in prayer. Amen.

MORE: Praying the Bible

There are many resources available to help us pray God's word. Some I am aware of:

Praying with Fire

Take Words With You (a pdf book you can download from this page)

You can also write your own scripture prayers for the people you love, your circumstances, your career, your city, and your country. I've posted two such prayers on the "Prayer" page of this blog. Try writing one of these for yourself and your circumstances.

Bible Drive-Thru

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