“Blessed are those who keep his statutes, and seek him with all their heart” (Psalm 119:2). Scripture invites us to ‘seek him’ and by doing so invites us to pray – since this is the essence of prayer.
Many years ago, someone remarked that we should “Pray the Word”. Agreeing with what God has already said regarding issues that I prayed about (choices, fears, finances and so on) made sense to me. As I reflected on how praying has evolved within my environment, this statement came to mind again. Many people seem to have developed a new prayer language and posture. Certain words seem more powerful than others and walking around, claiming ground and casting out the devil have become the focus of prayer. Is praying the Word an imperative or a mere suggestion?
Christians often define prayer as communication with God, suggesting that not only do we speak to God, but that God also speaks to us. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Bible as God’s Word has great relevance for this communication.
As we examine Scripture, we become more aware of God and can respond to him according to his revelation. It is through the Word that we get to know God and can answer with praise, love and trust. As this relationship grows, a meaningful friendship is established and we increasingly get to know the heart of the One to whom we pray. This helps us to pray with confidence according to God’s will. As we enter into conversation with God, we can enter into his desires for us, and see more clearly how we fit into his plan.
As a young believer in my early teens, I wrestled with the question of how I fit into God’s plan. In my prayers, I asked God what gift he had given me. I remember saying that all I do is help – assisting with Sunday school, sporting activities, singing and other areas of church life. It was through Bible study that I realized: being a helper was actually me using my gift! I was overjoyed. Since then, I have often experienced how during times of prayer, God gave me assurance by guiding me to Scriptures.
There are many ways in which God’s Word can shape our prayers: inviting us to seek God, deepening our relationship with God, guiding us in the content of our prayers, revealing sin so that we can deal with it and clear the communication channel to God, clarifying our thoughts, giving direction, revealing truth…
There is no doubt that engaging with the Word enables prayer and that praying provokes us to turn to the Scriptures.
Cheryl Jessemy, firstname.lastname@example.org
staff worker with ISCF, Grenada and regional prayer coordinator for the Caribbean