“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” Matthew 21:22 (NIV).
What would you say if I told you there’s someone who loves you so much, He’s promised healing from addictions and sickness, a rich abundant life, safety from your enemies, and help when you’re in trouble? What if I said you could find out more about Him by reading your Bible?
Did you know that God’s Word offers promises for those who’ve made a commitment to follow Jesus Christ and allow Him to be in charge of their life? I’ve known about the promises in the Bible, but I didn’t really believe they were for me until a few months ago. I thought they were for other more spiritual people. I assumed I’d missed the email explaining who the blessings were for and what I had to do in order to receive them. However, I’m learning it is a lot easier than I thought.
You see, God loves each and every one of His children equally. So, if I’m reading in the Bible and I find a promise that He has given, it’s as much for me as it is for any other of His children. And, if it’s in an area in my life where I need to apply that promise, well, once again God has shown how much He loves me because He doesn’t make me jump through hoops to receive the blessing, or promise. This is just one more reason why I grow more and more in love with God every day. He’s been showing me what will help unlock the way to receive the blessings that He wants me to have.
Have you ever heard of praying Scripture? I’d heard of it, but I never understood exactly how to put it into practice. If you’re like me and want to learn more, I would suggest picking up a book by Stormie O’Martian. It doesn’t matter what season of life you’re in. If you want to learn more about how easy it is to pray Scripture, she’s a great teacher.
However, you can also simply go to the Bible itself and start there. Are you afraid and want to pray Scripture for the blessing of courage? One of my favorite verses as a child was Isaiah 41:10. I memorized this verse and would repeat it many times in situations where fear got the best of me. However, I wish as a child I had learned to take it one step further and pray the Scripture over my life. The original verse says: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV).
However, to pray Scripture takes it one step further. Basically, you personalize it. So, instead of saying it word for word as above, you would say something like this: “I don’t have to fear, for You, God, are with me; I don’t have to be (upset), for You are my God. You will strengthen me and help me; You will uphold me with Your righteous right hand.”
Now, if you want to make it even more personal, you can choose a version of the Bible that helps with that and then personalize it some more. Using the same verse, here is another example with The Message version. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” When you pray Scripture, it would go something like this: “I don’t have to panic. You are with me. I don’t have to fear because You are my God. You will give me strength. You will help me. You’ll hold me steady and keep a firm grip on me.”
Using The Message Bible, here is how you can pray Scripture for someone else. Say, for instance, you have a friend, Sarah, who needs some extra courage and asked for prayer. You could pray something like this: “Lord, please help Sarah not to panic. Let Sarah know you are with her. Sarah doesn’t need to fear for you are her God. You will give Sarah strength. You’ll help Sarah. You’ll hold Sarah steady, keeping a firm grip on her.”
Satan is very real and he wants us to stay afraid, in debt, sick, or addicted. He knows if he can keep us suboptimal, then we won’t be as effective as we can be for Christ. And, when we aren’t as effective for Christ, then we can’t do the job God has asked us to do. Before Jesus went into the ministry, He went out into the desert and fasted and prayed for forty days and nights. At the end of the forty days, He was hungry and tired and worn down. Satan knew that was a great time to approach Him and try to get Him to mess up. The way Jesus got Satan to go away was to speak Scripture back to him. Because, you see, Satan can’t remain in the presence of God’s Word. He can’t argue with Scripture because He knows it’s irrefutable.
When we pray God’s word at our fears, addictions, debt, or sickness, believing the promises God speaks, the attacks are shortened and blessings arrive sooner (II Timothy 4: 7-8). God loves when His children show faith before we see the results. God loves when we’re strong enough to resist Satan’s arguments using Scripture. God loves when His children love Him so much they study His Word and “talk His Words back to Him.” Not in a prideful, selfish way; but in a “Wow, God, you really want me to have all this?” way.
So, there are many advantages to praying Scripture regarding the promises God has for His children. Does this mean God won’t hear our prayers unless we pray Scripture? Absolutely not! God wants us to pray throughout the day. There are many times I pray from my heart, using my own words and just pour out my feelings to God. However, sometimes, during my quiet time, it can be more effective to use God’s own words to speak promises in faith for a particular situation. And, there’s something special about speaking God’s words back to Him. To think, the God of the Universe used people to write down the very promises and blessings that we are speaking. That in itself is pretty awesome.
© 2013 Cheri Swalwell