I’ve taken a bit of a blogging break lately – nearly a month and a half! The first couple of weeks after my last post, I simply didn’t have the time to write. Later, it wasn’t that I didn’t have the time, but felt that it wasn’t the time.
I’ve been on the Potter’s wheel lately, and He’s working to mold and shape me more into His likeness. As with any time of new growth, at times it’s been painful, leaving me breathless and worn out. Other times it has been elating, leaving me excited and eager to bear the fruit of His work. Always, though, it’s left me with a greater desire to simply wait before the Lord, quiet and still. There are many things I am learning and want to share with you, and one of them is where the Lord is leading me in the subject of prayer.
I have always loved the sweet gift of prayer and own many wonderful books on the subject. God has led me faithfully into a deeper and deeper prayer life, and just as communication between a husband and his wife can always improve, so can our communion with the Lord.
A couple of years ago, I inadvertently stumbled on a golden key to praying with power and intimacy: Scripture praying. I was reading through a study Bible from Stormie Omartian, the author of The Power of a Praying Woman. Stormie shares encouraging words and personal prayers throughout the Bible, and it inspired me to not just read the scriptures, but to pray them.
I began to write my prayers out beside the verses that I was returning to the Lord in petition, praise, thanksgiving, and confession. If it were a specific request, I would write the date beside the prayer. Soon, my Bible became my prayer journal, and I realized that I was memorizing scripture easier and quicker than ever before.
My times of reading Scripture became an exciting conversation between My Beloved and me, and when I talked with Him throughout the day, it took on new meaning and closeness.
Charles Spurgeon said, “Every promise of Scripture is a writing of God, which may be pleaded before Him with this reasonable request, ‘Do as Thou hast said!’ The Creator will not cheat the creature who depends upon His truth; and far more, the Heavenly Father will not break His Word to His own child.”
Praying Scripture is the most effective way to break strongholds (2 Cor. 10:3-5), hide God’s Word in your heart (Psalm 119:11), magnify God (Luke 1:46), pray the will of the Father (Is. 55:11), clothe yourself in power (Eph. 6:10-18), find direction (Is.30:21, Ps.32:8), grow in grace and knowledge (2 Pet. 3:18; Prov. 18:15), receive forgiveness (Psalm 51), pray when you can’t pray (Romans 8:26), put the enemy to flight (Is. 59:19), and much more – anything you need (2 Tim. 3:16)!
When Jesus went into the desert and was tempted by the Devil, He knew the only way to handle the fiery darts of the enemy was by wielding the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Matt. 4:1-11; Eph. 6:17). Jesus took control of each temptation in the same way: It. Is. Written.
No temptation comes on us that He does not provide an escape (1 Cor. 10:13). When the very words of God – which will not return to Him void (Is. 55:11) – become the foundation and inspiration of our praying, the power of the One who spoke them becomes ours (Matt. 4:4; 2 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 4:12). 1 John 5:14 assures us that if we ask anything according to the will of God, He hears us. And if He hears us, we have what we request!*
But that leads us to the question: What is God’s will? The answer is found in His Word! When we pray His promises back to Him in context, we can be confident that our requests are squarely in line with His will. In His timing, He will answer them, whether we ever see it or not. Our prayers have the ability to travel through time, and can affect future generations long after we’re gone.
Many people believe that only the New Testament is truly relevant to us today, and may be hesitant to pray the Old Testament scriptures in faith. But Jesus says in John 5:39 that all scripture testifies about Him, and 1 Peter 1:10-11 tells us that the Spirit of Christ was in the Old Testament prophets, pointing them to Him.
If you search the Old Testament with diligence and attention, you will find Jesus Christ and His saving grace demonstrated throughout. Freedom should permeate our prayers, even when praying through the first 39 books of the Bible. The propitiation of the Messiah and the power of the Holy Spirit are shown in the whole of the Bible as it reveals God’s heart and plan, working effectually throughout history.
True prayer is turning our eyes upon Jesus, hearing His voice, and then responding in love, obedience, and faith. May God tune our ears and train our eyes to hear and see what He wants us to return to Him through prayer.
*God is not a genie in a bottle. We cannot control others and God will not. We must be careful that we are praying HIS will, not trying to impose our will on Him! We are free to petition Him for anything we desire, but must bow to His infinite knowledge.