I first heard about Scripture prayer in Beth Moore’s book, Praying God’s Word. Most of you have probably heard of it as well. You simply take a Scripture and turn it into a prayer.
Scripture prayers are powerful ways to renew your mind for the purpose of breaking free from habits, sins, negative emotions, and idols. Here’s why:
When you renew your mind, you do two things. First, you take off the lies. Then you put on the truth. With Scripture prayers, you’re honest with God about your thoughts and feelings but you’re also exposing them to the truth of His Word. In the process, you’re taking off lies and putting on truth which changes the way you feel about the situation.
Here’s an example: I didn’t feel like writing this blog post but instead of procrastinating, like I often do, I pulled out my trusty list of Bible verses for writing, chose a verse, and started praying. By the end of the prayer, which only took a few minutes, I was ready to write. Here’s the prayer I wrote in my journal:
Galatians 1:10. Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Time to write my blog post now, God, and you know what always happens when I do that. I start worrying about what everyone will think, and I feel like I have to write the perfect post because I have to have the perfect post if I want to build a platform and eventually be able to publish a book.
As I write that, Lord, I see how ridiculous that is. You are the King of the Universe which would also make you the King of the publishors, agents, and editors. If you want something published, it will get published regardless of platform. So I am going to throw platform to the wind and just write what you want me to write to help the people you want me to help. I refuse to live up to the expectations of the publishing world. I write for you.
Do you see how my thoughts shifted from a cultural perspective to a biblical perspective? Thinking about Galatians 1:10 as I was praying helped me throw off the lie I was believing, “I have to live up to expectations” to the truth: Life isn’t about being acceptable or being published – it’s about loving and serving a God who is full of grace. The truth changed my desires, and I actually wanted to write a blog post.
I looked through my journals for other examples of Scripture prayers but couldn’t find any because I don’t usually write down my prayers. I wanted to give some other examples, though, so I wrote a couple of other prayers I might pray based on other Bible verses. Here they are:
Ephesians 4:26-27 Be angry and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.
Father, could you help me forgive my friend? I’m having a terrible time with it – I feel like she doesn’t deserve to be forgiven. Yet you tell me to let go of my anger before the sun goes down.
The sun went down a few hours ago, Lord, and the words she said to me keep replaying through my mind. Help me to let go of them. Help me forgive her. I don’t want to give Satan an opportunity. He would love to see me stay mad at her. He loves it when I’m angry.
In fact, now that I think of it, I’m playing right into his hands by refusing to forgive her and let go of this anger. That makes me sick, Lord. I don’t want to play into his hands. I want to forgive. (I would take time out for repentance here.)
I do forgive. Could you forgive me also for my own sin of hatred? Thank you, Lord. I love you. Please fill me with your presence and your peace.
Hebrews 12:11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Lord, the cookies are calling my name. They’re saying Eat me, Eat me! I want to eat them, but my boundaries tell me I’m not supposed to have cookies ’til after dinner. Lord, help me say no.
I want to experience that peaceful fruit of righteousness. I want to be conformed to your image. I can just imagine what life would look like if I were consistently disciplined in the area of eating. It would look good. I want that life, Lord. Thank you for the strength to say no.
Finding Bible Verses to Pray
I Deserve a Donut has over 150 Bible verses you can use to pray through various temptations and trials. You can also look for Bible verses at openbible.info or just google Bible verses for anger, worry, etc.
Question: Do you have any tips for praying Scripture or favorite verses to pray?
This past weekend Heb 12:11 got a whole new meaning to me. My toddler is testing boundaries and God reminded me that love means correcting my little one at times. It doesn’t make me a bad parent to tell him no, it makes me an irresponsible parent to give in to all his whims. He needs structure and sometimes that hurts me but in the end, it’s best for us all.
One thing I’ve been doing for a while is taking phil 4:8 and going through whatever problem I’m facing and asking God to help me focus on what is good, noble, and so on. It helps bring clarity to situations and brings me peace as I count my blessings and see my challenges as ways to grow and for God to shine!
That’s so great that you’re following through on correction. I think it’s important not only for structure, but also for self-control. If kids get to do whatever they want whenever they want they’ll have a hard time breaking the habit when they become adults and doing whatever they want gets them into trouble! I also like the Philippians 4:8 idea. I’ve done that with people too and it’s helpful.
Heidi Bylsma says
Barb, as always, your post is filled with practical wisdom that gives me something I can chew on and DO differently. Thanks for the reminder. I seem to need them a lot. :-) Thankful for you.
Thankful for you as well, Heidi!
Ngina Otiende says
Barb, I love this “You are the King of the Universe which would also make you the King of the publishors, agents, and editors. If you want something published, it will get published regardless of platform.” awesome awesome perspective. I always remind myself that when it comes to writing “God will get His message where He wants it to get to”. And this perceptive applies to every other area of life. That perspective really helps – He is King, my part is to trust and obey, even when it seems contrary to world and ‘common’ sense.
Praying Scripture is something my pastor taught us, a few years ago. I look for a rhema word concerning a particular situation in life and then speak the Scripture over the situation.
I’m not sure what you mean, Ngina – is that different than praying Scripture? (The speaking of a rhema word over a situation, I mean.)
Ngina Otiende says
from what i understood from the post, it might be slightly different (or not..! lol :). In this case, it’s meditating on the Word (primarily alone, without the added prayer) Meditation in this case implies to ponder, murmur, roar, speak softly, utter, talk, imagine. The Word IS the prayer. Speaking the specific scripture over and over again over the situation (actually the point is not to wander away with my own words, not even tongues.. :) ) Of course you later pray as you want but in this case, it’s sharply focused and speaking the Word only. It’s from the understanding that the Word of God is alive and it affects our outer situations and our inner attitudes. ( i must mention that we were going through a business course and he was specifically talking about business and life goals…although this applies to any area. ).
is it the same thing? :)
Ahh, yes, that is different. I also love meditating on Scripture. I can easily spend ten minutes meditating on just one verse and I get so much out of it. I don’t think I’ve ever tried speaking a verse over and over for a specific situation – I’ll have to try that! Although, now that I think of it, I do remember praying (and singing) the “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles etc” verse over and over again when I was in college and skiing up (and falling down) a mountain with my old non-telemark cross country skis that were not made for climbing mountains!
Loren Pinilis says
I love praying scripture, but I’m not great at knowing off the top of my head. For me, sometimes the scriptures are so personalized that I think the best approach is just to start making my own list. Any tips?
I did make my own lists. For writing I just collected some verses specially tailored to my own writing problems and then I also collected a bunch of verses for my iPhone app that work well with lots of different situations. If you’d like a copy of either of those, just e-mail me from the contact form on the About tab and I can send you them. I usually just use trial and error – does this verse help me when I’m in this situation? And then add it to the list if it does.
Dan Black on Leadership says
Great prayers, the writing example really hit home for me. I have gotten out of the habit of praying scriptures and your post reminds me I should implement it into my life and devotional time. Thank you for writing this.
It has really been helping me with writing lately. The other day I wrote for three hours and just prayed a Bible verse before each hour – it really kept me going. I’m hoping I can keep it up – I just have to keep remembering to do it!
Hey Barb, just letting you know that walklikeenoch.com has moved from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. Prob is that I lost all my subscribers and if you would like to keep subscribing you will have to visit and re-subscribe. Sorry about that. Bless you heaps! Glenn
That’s strange – I wonder why that happened? I’m thinking of switching my site too one of these days. Maybe I’ll try to copy my subscriber list before I switch it. Any tips to prevent that from happening? I re-subscribed – thanks for letting me know!
well I kind of messed the switch up a bit. Glad I switched but I should of done something like that though
Needing to be free!! says
Thank you for your blog on relationship. Reading it has truly blessed me because I am often very angry with my stepson.
When my husband I married he was too and I love him I hugged him,I would kiss him play with him. He was just the baby I really did love him..
As he grew he became very manipulative and deceptive and develop the lying spirit. His father and I believed it was the fact that he was missing his mother his mother lives in another country so we arranged it so that he could talk to her often and even visit but none of that seems to help his behavior.
Using your blog I have prayed to God to forgive me for my bitterness towards him and to help me learn to like him even love lhim. Pray for me
Barb Raveling says
I’m sorry you’re having such a difficult time – I will pray for you! That God frees you from the bitterness, helps you love him, and gives you wisdom in how to relate to him!
Rob Martin says
I’m glad Jesus directed me to this article! It’s really helping me heal a lot of bad habits that need to go away. I will read Philippians 4:8 every day during my prayer and scripture reading. God Bless….enjoyed reading your article.
Barb Raveling says
Thanks, Rob! I’m glad the article was helpful!