Those of us who have well worn Bibles know that there are many lovely prayers in them. We all know the Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6:6-13, and Jesus’ prayer for us in John 17. The book of Psalms is full of prayers, one of my favorites being Psalm 51, David’s prayer of repentance after his sin with Bathsheba. I often quote verses 10-12 of this Psalm in my daily prayers. But something I didn’t realize when I first started reading Scripture was that nearly every verse can be a prayer.
Let me give you some examples of how you can use your Bible to help you pray. You can either take an existing prayer and personalize it to yourself, or you can take any section of Scripture and use it as a guideline on how to pray.
For an example of an existing prayer that you might personalize, let’s go to Philippians 1:9-11, a short prayer by Paul. You can easily turn it into a prayer for yourself, by paraphrasing and turning it inward. First, read those verses from your Bible. Then here is how they might sound as a prayer. “Father, I pray that you help me to show an abounding love to all whom I meet today. Increase my knowledge of you, and give me discernment. Let me see people and the world through your eyes. Help me to be sincere, and keep me from sinning until the blessed day of your second coming. Let me be filled with your righteousness, and help me to always glory and praise in you and your son. Amen.” In this same manner, nearly every prayer that you encounter in Scripture can form the basis of a prayer that you would say either for yourself or on behalf of someone else.
Most of Scripture is not in the form of a prayer, but can easily become one. Take Psalm 91 for example. Here is how it might sound when you make it into a prayer. “Father, help me to always dwell in the safety of your all powerful shadow. Help me to continually make you my refuge and my fortress, and to trust in you always. Deliver me from traps of temptation set out by the enemy, and keep me healthy both spiritually and physically. Keep me safely tucked under your loving wing of protection, and help me stay steadfast in your truth to shield me from evil. No matter what terrors might be happening all around me, keep me safely protected. Help me to always make you my refuge, safe from the evil and plagues that fall on satan and his wicked ones. Keep me surrounded and protected from all harm by your faithful angels. When I must encounter evil, let me trample it like grass underfoot, deliver me when I call upon your name and authority. I praise you and thank you, and I claim your promise that you will be with me in trouble, and deliver me from evil. I long for the time when your salvation will allow me to dwell in the peace and safety of your holy heaven for eternity. Amen.”
You don’t have to do this with an entire chapter, but you can do it individually with a verse as you read, even if that verse is not written to be a prayer. For example, we read in 1 John 1:5, “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” From this, we might say the following short prayer: “Father, I praise you for having preserved the message of your son, and to know the love and mercy that you have for us. Please help me be more like you, to turn away from any darkness in my life.”
All too often, we Christians fall short of taking advantage of the wondrous privilege we have, that the creator of our universe is available to us through prayer. Why not use your Bible as your prayer guide, and start communicating with Him daily?