How to Pray-Read the Bible
Mike Bickle (IHOP-KC).
It has not only drawn me into the Word of God in a way I have never experienced before, but also made it a place of encounter with God, strongly increased the amount and hunger for prayer and the Word of God in my life and gave me a never-ending resource for whenever I don't know what to pray. I highly recommend you try this out if you have not already done it.
How to Pray-Read the Word?This is a short how-to designed to give you a basic idea of how it can look and work. It is just a suggestion for the start of it when you are new to it. You will notice that you won't really stick to those patterns anymore as soon as it flows. But it is always good to have some guidelines on how to start, especially when it's something new to you.
Basically, there are three different types of Scriptures in the Bible that are great to use in pray-reading:
- Truth - something God wants us to believe
- Exhortation - something God wants us to do
- Prayer and Praise - scriptures that are already prayers, petitions or praise
1) TruthFor Scriptures that provide truth God wants us to believe in, we...
- thank God for the truth, and
- ask God to reveal it more to us (to release it more in our lives).
"For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons will marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you." (Isaiah 62:5)"God, thank You so much for how You love and and that You rejoice over me. Thank You that You delight in me right now no matter where I am and how I feel. Jesus, please show me more of Your emotions towards me. Let me feel Your heartbeat and let me see myself more through Your eyes."
2) ExhortationFor Scriptures through which God exhorts us to do something, we...
- tell God that we want to obey in this area, and
- ask God to help us to obey Him
"You shall love the Lord, Your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." (Matthew 22:37)"Jesus, I agree with Your command to love You with all that I am, with every facet of my being. I want to love You more than I do now and want to completely fulfill Your heart's desire to love You fully. Jesus, please release this love into my life and help me to love You to this degree that You so long for."
3) Prayer and PraiseFor Scriptures that are already prayers, petitions or praise towards God, we...
- pray the same for our personal lives and personal situations, and
- we can also pray them for specific people that come to our mind to which they might also apply
"Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law." (Psalm 119:18)"Yes, Jesus, open my eyes so that I can see and discover wonderful things in Your Word. Draw me deeper into Your Word by giving me powerful revelation about the depths of Your Word and heart. Show me the deepest secrets of Your truth and fascinate my heart through the wonders of Your Word."
- Take time. - Do not rush through the Scriptures. Give yourself time to rest on the Word, think about it, say the Scripture in your own words, go deeper in its meaning and whenever something concerns your current situation, pray about it connecting it with the Word of God. Let the Word guide your conversation and whenever a certain verse touches you very much, stay on it until you feel it's time to go to the next one.
- Do not try to finish a certain number of Scriptures. - In order to avoid the feeling of wanting to finish your daily assignment, don't set yourself tasks like "one chapter a day". We know that this barely keeps your desire for it alive. It will only shift your focus from encountering Him in His Word to finishing your daily task, and will eventually quench your joy sooner or later. Rather, pray just as long as you want or can. This keeps all pressure from you and really makes it something desirable. If you want to set yourself a goal, determine how long (time) - not how much (number of chapters) - you want to pray.
- If you don't know what to pray-read, start with the Psalms. - This is an amazing book to pray through since it is very practical, very personal and speaks a lot about your relationship with God. Furthermore, it is a looooong book and gives you enough food until your attention is drawn to a different part of the Bible.
- Write down important insights. - I do recommend having an open journal by your side whenever you pray-read the Bible. Write down key insights or short anointed phrases the Holy Spirit gives you while conversing with Him. That way you are a good steward and dig wells that you can draw from later.