Categories
Christianity

Praying with Scripture

Hello everyone!  It has been some time since I have had the opportunity to blog but here I am and I recently learnt a wonderful prayer technique that I would love to share with you.

Having struggled recently with my prayer life, having been very distracted, I have been desperate to find something that I can connect with and I am quite sure I will take this technique with me throughout my life.

I love to read, and I love to write so this form of prayer is perfect for me, however, I appreciate it is not for everyone and if this is not for you please pop back and visit my website again as I plan to share more prayer styles with you such as creative prayer and contemplative prayer. 

I have come to acknowledge that prayer style is as unique as the individual themselves and it can be hard as we feel as though we must slide into a prayer norm that we have witnessed or been taught.  I have written previously about prayer so please refer back if you would like to read more about prayer in general.

The technique that I wish to discuss today involves taking a piece of Scripture and writing a prayer using words and phrases from the specific passage.  You can use this for any type of prayer, perhaps a prayer of desperation when life becomes too much or a prayer of thanks as you look around and feel blessed by God or in worship of our wonderful Creator God.  For the example I have detailed below I have used the style of the Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6:9-13.  This is the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name (worship)

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (aligning our will with the will of God)

Give us today our daily bread. (Asking for provision)

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (confession of sins and seeking forgiveness)

And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.” (asking for wisdom)

In and of itself this is a fantastic prayer to pray when you just don’t know what else to say or if you need to align yourself with God during the day etc.

However, it is also possible to use this as a frame in which you can develop your own prayer.  You will see in brackets above the general subject of each line.

So, to do this, you must choose a piece of Scripture, I have given some suggestions below if you are unsure what to choose.  Read through the passage so you are familiar with it and look for words or phrases that tie in with the subject of your prayer.  Perhaps write down the subject headings of your prayer i.e. Worship, Provision, Confession etc. and then write beneath these relevant words or phrases.  Once you have completed this begin to write your prayer using the words and phrases you have collected.  Of course, you can add in your own words to tie it together or sentences of your own that have been guided by your reading.  You now have a personal scripture inspired prayer that you can pray to your Father!!

Here is an example that I created earlier using Genesis 20-21:-

You will note that I have inserted the verse and chapter numbers following the text so you can see where I found the words and phrases in Scripture.

Worship

“I call upon the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God (21:33).  I worship you as my living water (21:19), you who are with us in all we do (21:22), you who hears our cries and lets us not be afraid (21:17).

Aligning our will

Your promises you never forget, and your plans are unalterable (21:1).  As we welcome your kingdom and await the return of our Lord, let others see your glory within us as Phicol and Abimelech saw you with Abraham (21:22). 

Asking for provision

Provide us with our daily needs as you provided so graciously for Hagar and Ishmael (21:19) and teach us to ask only for what we need and keep us from the greed and materialistic nature of the world around us.

Confession of sins and seeking forgiveness

Tell me how I have sinned against you (20:9), show me the sin that troubles me (21:17), bring guilt upon me (20:9) and in my asking for forgiveness, heal me (20:17-18).

Asking for wisdom

Let me listen for your commands (21:4) and grant me integrity of heart to carry these out (20:5).  Bring laughter to me Lord (21:6).

In the name of your precious Son, Amen

Here is the prayer in full, omitting verse and chapter references:-

“I call upon the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God.  I worship you as my living water, you who are with us in all we do, you who hears our cries and lets us not be afraid.  Your promises you never forget, and your plans are unalterable.  As we welcome your kingdom and await the return of our Lord, let others see your glory within us as Phicol and Abimelech saw you with Abraham.  Provide us with our daily needs as you provided so graciously for Hagar and Ishmael and teach us to ask only for what we need and keep us from the greed and materialistic nature of the world around us.  Tell me how I have sinned against you, show me the sin that troubles me, bring guilt upon me and in my asking for forgiveness, heal me.  Let me listen for your commands and grant me integrity of heart to carry these out.  Bring laughter to me Lord. In the name of your precious Son, Amen

I hope you enjoy this prayer method.  I find it wonderful because as you look for relevant words and phrases within Scripture you are spending time with God in His Word, allowing Him to teach you and reveal Himself to you.  Throughout this exercise your heart is praying to God.

If the Lord’s Prayer is a bit complex for this exercise, you could use ACTS that I discussed in a previous blog.   ACTS – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication – that is, worshipping God, confession of sins to God, thanking God and asking of God.

Of course, as I wrote earlier you can also use this for a specific prayer, and I have given some Scripture suggestions that may be useful to you below from the Book of Psalms:-

In Desperation – Psalms 4, 5, 6, 7, 22, 42, 88

In Worship – Psalm 8, 19, 33, 47, 75, 77, 93, 97, 98, 99, 104, 136, 145

Seeking Comfort – Psalm 23, 63, 113

Seeking Protection – Psalm 71, 91, 121 125  

Seeking Guidance – Psalm 25, 28, 141

In Thanksgiving – Psalm 30, 40, 65, 103, 138   

Seeking Forgiveness – Psalm 32, 39, 51

In this way of praying, we are praying God’s precious Word back to Him, learning Scripture, getting to know our Father, and creating prayers far more beautiful than we could create alone.  

Happy Praying and feel free to comment on how you got on with this exercise or request more information.

Love and Blessings

Louise xx

Categories
Christianity

Growing in your knowledge of Christ

So, you have become a Christian and you are desperate to know more.  When you give your life to Jesus you can find yourself, as I did, in a state of frantic searching for more, a deep longing to know more of God and more of His Story.  There are many ways to go about this.  I began with a personal study of Paul The Apostle.  I studied his journeys and read many books about his life and writings.  Following this I began to study each book of the Bible individually, looking at who the author was, when it was written, the purpose of writing etc.  When I had completed this I was still desperately searching for more and so I enrolled in an Access to Degree programme with Highland Theoretical College and now I am on the degree programme.  Throughout the week I also take part in the BSF Bible Study, help out with Alpha, watch sermons online, attend a Dwelling in the Word session, go to worship virtually with my college and do personal Bible reading and journaling.   

Before embarking on any study, it is helpful to begin with a short prayer asking the Lord to help you to understand more of His Word and get to know Him more intimately.  I will close this blog with an example should you wish to use this.

I think it is especially important you understand that not one of us will leave this world with all the answers.  While Scripture is held amongst the pages of a book, It is not simply a collection of light-hearted words as a novel or simple poetry but a depth of knowledge stacked layer upon layer holding at It’s core, life itself. 

The Bible is our history, the history of the world we live in, it is our life, the air that we breathe, it details our King, Priest and Saviour, our ancestry, our heavenly family and our future, it is our guide to living, a parenting guide and marriage counsel, it is our hope in the darkness of despair and depression, an example of living and dealing with others, how to do business effectively, how to create friendships, what we should strive for and what we should avoid.  One may read Scripture for 50 years and pick the Bible one day and be completely taken aback by what one reads.  The reason for this is twofold, firstly, the sheer amount and depth of the information Scripture contains and secondly, because our ability to understand the Word of God is given to us by God Himself.  He will allow us to comprehend what He wants us to comprehend and therefore God will reveal new knowledge to us when it is the right time for us to know it!  I also feel when we are dealing with our relationship with God and our knowledge of God, there is both head knowledge and heart knowledge.  We can feel an understanding of who God is and what His purpose is emotionally as well as understand academically His story and His plan.  It can be daunting when we feel as though we are so clueless about God but rest in this, you are never clueless when you come to Jesus, you are a Child of God and as such God has supplied you with all knowledge you require at this stage and day by day, month by month, year on year it will be added to, what is important is your relationship with God.

Having understood that, a good place to start is with something that stands out to you, something that interests you, for me, as you have read it was Paul the Apostle, for you it may be Ruth, King David, Abraham, Peter, it may be civilian life in the time of Jesus, it may be spirituality in the time of Jesus, or church life, it may be the book of Romans, or Acts, or Genesis, it may be the person of Jesus, the miracles of Jesus, it may be the authors of the Scriptures, such as Luke, why did he write?  Who was he?  It may be Christian religions today and how they differ?  Different types of prayer?  The list is endless.  Whatever it is that interests you there is likely to be books about it and/or information on the internet to help you learn more.  I must add a caveat here … it is important to consider where information comes from online (as well as in book format) because everyone writes for a different purpose and not all information is likely to be accurate.)    

There is a great selection of Bible Study Guides online.  Below I have included just a small selection of what is on offer.  There are many more in each collection as well as different study collections I did not have space to include!

Eden.co.uk has a great selection including but not limited to:-

Life builder Bible Studies:

  • Psalms
  • Parables
  • Twelve Disciples
  • Listening to God
  • Philippians
  • Isaiah
  • Angels
  • Prayer
  • All around £4.90

Cover to Cover Bible Study:

  • Armour of God
  • Elisha
  • 1 Peter
  • All around £3.90

For Everyone Bible Study Guides:

  • Revelation
  • Matthew
  • All around £4.90

Loads more also available at Amazon, Wordery, Abe Books etc.  Just type Bible Study Guides in the search engine.  You will also find free Bible study questions online.

Why not also try reading Scripture thoughtfully.  It is easy for us sometimes just to scan through Scripture quickly in desperation to complete the Bible, but it is important sometimes to slow down and read slowly and mindfully.  I have included a short example below of a passage and the type of questions you could ask yourself:-

Matthew 8:23-27

  • “Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him.  Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.  The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him.”

Interestingly, this passage includes questions which you may use!

V27 “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and sea obey Him?” 

Have a think about what Jesus’ ability to calm the seas speaks of the person of Christ? 

What do you notice about the way Jesus stills the storm?

V26 “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” 

What do you notice about the way the disciples approach Jesus?

How does the way he reacts to the disciples speak of His nature?

Jesus calls them those of “little faith”, do you ever find your faith and trust in God is diminished and if so, what is happening when this is the case?

Read v18-22

  • “When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”  But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

How would you have responded to Jesus’ response and requirements?  Would this information have affected your decision to follow Jesus? Why do you think Jesus responded to the disciples in this way?

Despite Jesus’ comments in v18-22, the disciples were keen to follow Jesus onto the boat, when do you find it easy to trust Jesus in this way?

Which of God’s promises/Scripture verses could you rest upon during your periods of difficulty?

A further question that always comes into my mind is, how was Jesus able to sleep amidst the storm?  Bear in mind these were small fishing boats so it would have been filling up with water and Jesus would have likely been soaking wet!

I hope this has given you some ideas of what you can do next in terms of learning more about our wonderful Father.  I have added below a prayer that you can use before beginning your study, of course, if you are comfortable, you can use one of your own!-

God, my heavenly Father, I long to learn more about you, I yearn to know you more intimately, your nature, your deeds, and your plans.  Be with me and help me today as I strive to know more of you.  Guide me to the chapters and verses that best equip me to your service today.  I ask all these things in the most holy name of your Son, Jesus. Amen

Love and Blessings

Louise x