Thursday, March 02, 2006

Transforming Your Prayers, Part 2

Yesterday I related the lessons which Dr. Don S. Whitney is teaching to his Personal Spiritual Disciplines students. Particularly I recounted how he proposes that the best way to transform one's personal prayer life is through praying Scripture. Today I want to follow that up by focusing on the benefits of praying through Scripture.

1) Keeps You Focused- There is nothing more discouraging and frustrating than being constantly distracted in prayer. The more we are distracted or lose our train of thought the sooner we will end our praying. But by praying through a passage of Scripture we have an outline to keep us on track. And even if we should find ourselves day-dreaming we are able to come right back to our prayer and pick up where we left off by simplying looking at our text.

2) Adding Freshness to Our Words- Part of what has made prayer so boring for some people, Dr. Whitney says, is that they say the same old things everyday. By praying from the Psalms of from another Biblical genre we are granted a sort of fresh expression to our concerns. We move from simplying praying, "Lord bless my family," to praying from Psalm 23, "Lord make my family to lie down is green pastures. To be at rest in you, to find sweet peace for their souls." Or praying from Psalm 1 that our children or spouse would be a meditator of God's word. Isn't that better than a vague "bless my family" prayer?

3) Grants God-Centeredness- The Bible is completely God-centered. Even passages that seem to focus on our wants and needs identify, repeatedly, God as the one to whom we make our appeals. Praying through Scripture has a way of turning our focus from our wants and needs to the great and awesome God that can meet them. It's the Biblical way of prayer.

4) It Prevents Loss of Words- Whenever you find that you have run out of words to say you can simply return to the text and find a whole new way of continuing your prayer. There's never a lack of expressions.

5) It Brings us Closer to Praying Biblically- We can never pray more in line with Scripture than when we pray Scripture itself. My own thoughts, while they may be mostly according to God's written Word, are not as close as the can be when I am lead by His Word in those prayers. So praying the verses of the Bible is the best way to glorify God in our prayers.

So let me again encourage that you take time, maybe even right now, to pray through a passage of Scripture, and after you have done that to record your thoughts on how it benefited you. Write them down in a journal or on a piece of paper that you can keep in your Bible. I gurantee this will transform your prayer life, friends, for it has mine already!


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