Praying God's Word Back to Him
It';s one thing to pray the prayers of the Bible or to use them as models, but it';s a whole new level of interaction and communion with God to actually pray the words of the Bible to Him.
When you read through Psalms, you';re reading some of the most heartfelt, urgent, and loving prayers humankind has ever uttered toward God. It is in Psalms that we read of the writers'; love for God, their faith in God, and their questions about God. They even at times express disappointment with God, or at least their perceptions of Him during the time of the writings.
In a very real way the psalmists demonstrate for us a principle concerning the written Word of God, and it';s this: God loves it when we pray the very words in the Bible back to Him.
It may sound like a strange thing to do, but the truth is that this is a very Scriptural and effective way to use the words in the Bible. It';s a way to access and even claim for ourselves His promises, His encouragements, and His warnings.
What';s more, we can know that He will always respond to that kind of prayer. And how do we know this? For one thing, the Bible tells us, “And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for” (1 John 5:14–15).
When you pray God';s Word back to Him, make sure you know what you';re asking for. Realize that while He will always answer, you can';t know for sure how He';ll answer. For example, praying for more patience could mean facing a series of situations where your patience is tried and stretched. Pray that way, but be prepared!
In other words, when we pray and request what we know is God';s will in a given situation, we can be absolutely certain He hears and responds. For example, if we ask Him to give us more love for our spouses, He';s sure to provide an affirmative response only because that fits precisely with the commands in His Word. It may not come in the way we expected, but we can be sure it will come.
Now, knowing that God hears our prayers when we request what pleases Him, is there any source more reliable when it comes to questions of what God wants for us than the Bible? When we read the Bible, we can understand that it contains the absolutely perfect will of God for us. And knowing that, we can pray the very words of the Scriptures to God knowing — not thinking and not hoping — that He';ll hear us.
Earlier in this chapter you read about how you can personalize the words of the Bible, making them yours in a very tangible way. Now you can take that a step further, actually using those words as a basis for your very own communication with God Himself.
When you feel doubt, you can pray, “Lord, your ways are perfect and you keep all of your promises. You are my shield because I look to you for protection” (based on Psalm 18:3).
When you feel in need of peace, you can pray, “Lord, I have been made right in your sight by faith, so I have peace with you because of what my Lord Jesus Christ has done for me” (based on Romans 5:1).
When you are tempted, you can pray, “Lord, the temptations in my life are no different from what others experience. And you are faithful. You will not allow the temptation to be more than I can stand. When I am tempted, you will show me a way out so that I can endure” (based on 1 Corinthians 10:12–13).
The Bible is a book filled not just with promises but promises made by the One who has the power and authority to fulfill all of them absolutely perfectly. You can make those promises a part of your life of faith, and you can also make them a part of your prayers.