By Bo Prosser
One of the earliest forms of personal prayer is praying the scriptures. Praying a passage rather than just a cursory reading brings a new and deeper appreciation for God’s Word and its place in our lives. This can be done with any version of the Bible, by reading aloud, silently or using an audio Bible. The challenge is to immerse oneself into the passage.
Choose a passage that is somewhat familiar. For the coming month, use a new passage each week. For example, Psalm 23, Matthew 5:1-10, Jeremiah 18:2-6, Philippians 4:8-13. The passage is not as important as the prayer practice. God will bring you what you need.
Take a moment to center yourself — being quiet, settling your mind and heart. Then, read (or hear) the text slowly and intentionally. Listen for a word or phrase that jumps out at you. Focus on that word or phrase for a moment. Write it down if you like. Don’t expect lightning flashes or magic, just listen and let God speak.
Next, read the passage again. Slowly repeat the word or phrase you identified, allowing it to interact with your spiritual self, your concerns, memories, hopes and dreams. Don’t worry about being distracted. Simply allow your spiritual self to ask God for strength and direction. Allow this inner pondering to invite you into dialogue with God. If you feel distracted, simply return to the word or phrase you’ve written down and continue pondering.
Now, speak to God. Pray for yourself, pray for one of the names in the prayer calendar and pray for your world. Use words, ideas, images or all three. Interact with God for yourself and intercede for the person whose name you have chosen. Know that God hears you, accepts you and loves you. Imagine God using the word or phrase that came to you as a blessing for you and the person you have chosen. Accept from God what you have found within your heart.
Finally, read the passage again and rest in God’s love. Rejoice in the knowledge that God is with you in both words and silence, in both thoughts and actions. Live in
Christ-confidence as a blessed child of God.