10 January 2012

Praying the Bible

I feel like I cheated a little bit this morning by reposting something I wrote a few years ago. I thought I would take the opportunity to give an example of something that I have been doing recently with the Grant Horner program/3650 Challenge. Each day, as I read through the 10 chapters, I write down a verse that strikes me in a particular way. When I am done reading, I pray through those verses.  I think it is a good practice to speak God's words back to him. I also think that it helps us to remember what we are reading.  So, as an example, here are the verses I wrote down this morning and (approximately) how I prayed through them. 

Matthew 18:4--Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Father in heaven, I thank you that you love children and childlike faith. So often, my pride runs away with me. I assume that I am what I am based on my own strength and that keeps me from approaching you humbly. Lord, grant me the humility of a child that allows me to know that you are the ultimate provider and that I can rest fully in you.

Numbers 21:5--And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.”

God, it is so easy to look at the Hebrew people and scoff at their error, wondering how they could grumble so much so soon after having been freed from slavery. But I confess that I too grumble, looking longingly back at Egypt. Forgive me for the sin of grumbling. Grant me eyes to see the mercy you have bestowed by freeing me from my slavery to sin. Teach me, O Lord, to trust in you, that even in the desert, you are sovereign and good. 

1 Corinthians 5:12--For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?

God, help me to understand the difference between a haughty judgmental attitude and biblical exhortation. The world loves to remind Christians of their favorite verse, "do not judge."  Indeed, God, you are the judge of the world. Teach me to love my unbelieving neighbor and to confess my critical attitude to you.  Lord teach me also to balance truth and love as I talk with my brothers and sisters in Christ.  According to this verse, Lord, we believers are to judge one another. We are to hold one another to the standards that you have set forth, but allow me to do so with grace and love. I pray also that you would allow those outside your fold to be brought into saving grace so that they do not have to face your eternal judgment.
Revelation 2:4--But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.

Lord, I confess that I do not entirely understand what this verse means. Grant me clarity, that I might know what you mean by "the love you had at first". If you mean the love for Christ, grant that I may never lose the love I have for you.  Teach me always to love Christ, to find joy in my salvation through his work.  Forgive me for times when I fall away from that first love.

Song of Solomon 4:7--You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.

God, what a beautiful picture of a husband's love toward his wife. I am reminded that the wife is aware of her flaws, yet the husband beholds his wife as a flawless beauty. Thank you for the flawless beauty of my wife God. Each day with her is a gift and I grow more and more in love with her. By your grace, you have given me a heart shaped perfectly for her. She is truly a part of me and I thank you for granting me the gift of marriage to my best friend, my beautiful bride.  Keep my eyes for her only. Protect me from the vile images that threaten to assault from every side. Keep our marriage bed always pure by your sustaining grace. 

Psalm 143:6--I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah

God, I know of what David speaks. Each day, drinking at the well of your word, I desire you more. As my thirst for you is satisfied, I become thirstier still. Quench me, fill me, satisfy me Lord. 

Proverbs 24:11--Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.

God my heart aches for my loved ones who don't know you. They have no idea they are "stumbling to the slaughter." They do not see that you are their only comfort in life and in death. They trample upon your name. They blaspheme you. God save them. Pull them back from the pit. God, if I can be your instrument in their salvation, grant me the boldness and the words I need to communicate the truth of your word and your work.  Lord, I also pray specifically for my children. Grace and Ian have professed their faith in you. Help me to lead them to continue to pursue you. Keep them from being taken away to death. 

1 Chronicles 25:1--David and the chiefs of the service also set apart for the service the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who prophesied with lyres, with harps, and with cymbals. 

Thank you for music God. Thank you for men like David and Asaph who wrote down psalms for our edification. I praise you that you have allowed us to be singers, God and that we have the privilege of glorifying you with song. 

Daniel 3:17-18--If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Spirit, grant me a persevering faith like these three young men. I am amazed by their stalwart dedication to you and their refusal to bow to false God's even upon the threat of death. Lord, I do not know what the future holds for Christians, but I pray that you would grant me this kind of faith in the face of opposition.
Acts 3:15--and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.

God, I am humbled to know that my sins too served to kill the Author of life, that my sinfulness nailed you to the cross. Thank you for your forgiveness and your steadfast love toward me. God, I pray that I may be a witness to the resurrected Christ as well, and that others may know his grace and love toward sinners. 

I then continue on praying for my family and the days events, but I think this has been particularly edifying for me. Regardless of the reading plan you are following, praying the scriptures will likely prove beneficial. 

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