Perhaps one of the best ways to learn to pray is to pray scripture. Praying scripture helps us to focus on the larger purposes of God and assures us that we are praying within the will of God. Below are a few helpful guides for praying through scripture:
When you read scripture and see an attribute of God, praise God for the attribute you have encountered.
When reading scripture convicts you of sin or a bad habit, confess.
When reading scripture that tells of God’s promises or deeds, give thanks.
When reading scripture that reveals God’s plan, agree with God.
When reading scripture reveals a command, convey your desire to obey and ask for help.
Ask, having read Your word, how would You have me respond and then listen.
Here is an example of Praying through a scripture passage from Matthew 5:1-12.
Almighty and Gracious God,
Thank You for taking the time to teach. Thank You for preserving Your Word so that we may learn from You but more so, that we may hear Your voice. Your Word promises divine peace and happiness to those who recognize our total dependence on You and to those who grieve over our sin. And so Lord, I begin with the confession that indeed I am dependent on You and earnestly grieve over failing You. Only through the power of Your Spirit can I live into the righteousness that You call us to. Thank You for Your Spirit of Power to be dependent, righteous and merciful. I ask for the desire to be truly pure in heart, without guile and free from the desire to judge others. Instead, please instill in me the heart of one who brings peace to difficult situations.
Thank You for Your promises that those who walk in these characteristics will be Your children, inheriting and living in Your Kingdom both now and in the future. How wonderful it will be to see You face to Face. But now, Lord I ask for glimpses of You. I pray for my family, friends, and all of FUMC that each of us will live into the happiness that comes from dependence on You, true repentance, meekness, being merciful, making peace, and a righteous and pure heart. May our lives, reflecting these traits, lead others to You.
Lord, as our world changes and persecution increases, help us to be steadfast in our faith and to rejoice if faced with insult because of Your name. Like, Paul, help us to be joyful that we might be worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake. How hard that would be! So I ask for protection for our church, community and nation and thank You that at this time, we are free to worship You.
Lord, You are deserving of all of our hearts and all of our love. Thank You that our Love for You comes first from You and therefore never runs out. I pray all of this, knowing You hear and answer and so I say again, Thank You.
Now: I invite you to practice by reading I Peter 5:6-7 and pray through that passage.