Praying the Scriptures

I bought this new book called Teach Us to Pray – 365 Prayers from the Bible by Timothy J. Beals. The premise is praying the scriptures. If you’ve not heard that term before I’m excited to share the concept. I found praying the scriptures is one of the most powerful ways I connect with God.

The idea is simple: Take a piece of scripture and read it in first person; put your name or the words I or Me as the noun in the sentence. Let me show you how you would do this with a couple passages. Let’s start with Psalm 1 – here’s the verse as is:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers, but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yield its fruit in season and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous, for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Okay, here’s how I would pray this scripture for myself:

Blessed am I when I walk not in the counsel of the wicked nor when I stand I the way of sinners, nor when I sit in the seat of scoffers, but my delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law I meditate day and night.

I am like a tree planted by streams of water and I yield my fruit in season and my leaf does not wither. In all that I do I prosper. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand I the judgment, nor sinner congregate with me and the righteous, for the Lord knows my way and that of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will parish.

When you read that, how did it change the feel of the prayer? For me, it just makes me feel so close to God and understand so much better my relationship with the Father through the Son. Let’s try it with another verse! Jesus taught us to pray like this:

Our Father who art in heaven

Hallowed be thy name

They kingdom come they will be done on earth as it is in heaven

Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts (trespasses) as we forgive our debtors (those who trespass against us)

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil

For yours is the kingdom, power and glory forever and ever, amen

Here’s how I would pray this scripture for me:

My Father who are in heaven

Hallowed be they name

They kingdom come they will be done on earth as it is in heaven

Give me this day my daily bread and forgive me my debts (trespasses) and I forgive my debtors (those who trespass against me).

Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil.

For yours is the kingdom, power and Glory forever and ever, amen.

I believe personalizing scripture can be a power and important way to better understand what God is trying to tell us. We can call into the trap when we read scripture, believing it is far from us and something that is difficult for us to relate to. Scripture can even become kind of boring, but not when you realize it’s about you. It’s not just narratives, poems, songs, and parables about other people. We are the people in the Bible! God is talking directly to us. Making yourself the subject of these verses can be very appropriate!

That said, not every verse lends itself easily to be read as a personal prayer. But there are plenty that are. If you need a place to start, go to the Psalms or the Beatitudes. Blessed are those turns into Blessed am I or I am blessed….

I’ve been reading this new book for the past three nights and I have been in the best moods the next day that I have been in for quite some time. I know it is because I am in the will of the Father, because I am taking His words to heart. Give it a try and see what it does for you!

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