Recently I received an email with a question that made me think twice. The question is:
How do I pray Scripture back to God?
And it’s a great question because I believe there are different methods you can use to pray God’s Word. The reader posing this question said “I’m afraid to ask my pastor what he meant by that.” We all have different personalities, backgrounds, and perspectives. And my heart goes out to her. For many reasons, but mostly because I know, she is not alone.
So choose the idea to which you most relate, and enjoy the reminder of God’s promises to you. Let’s take a look at 5 ways to pray Scripture back to God.
1. Read the verse to God.
I know, it seems simple, doesn’t it? But when we read a verse during our prayers to God, we are reminding God of His Word and he loves this! It’s not as if he needs the reminder. Oh no. He knows his own Word! But he surely loves to see that WE are reading and learning His Word! So in the middle of your prayer, you could just pause and read the verse, asking the Lord to give you a better understanding of what the verse means.
2. Rephrase the verse using your own words.
Many times after I have completed my daily Bible reading and meditated on just one verse or phrase, I will rewrite the verse in my own words. Sometimes it is very close to the original wording. Sometimes I substitute a word or two that is easier for me to understand. I often read the daily passage in multiple translations so that I can think through the words and phrasing and gain perspective of the passage.
For example, this morning the passage for the True Love Bible reading plan was Galatians 5:1-6. I use the Olive Tree Bible app and typically read in the English Standard Version. Verse 6 in the ESV says:
For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
So what does that mean to a woman who lives in the 21st century? Paul is speaking to the Galatian church people, who were caught up in keeping all the religious ceremonial laws of the day. And he is telling them that this issue of whether or not one keeps the religious laws of the day doesn’t matter in Jesus. So when I looked at the NIV translation, it says:
For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Wow. That phrase “has any value” arrested my attention. So I started to pray this concept back to God, something like, “Lord, please don’t let the logistics of the day hold the value of my day. Jesus, let my to-do list be less and my love be more. Help me remember that the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”
That last phrase changed my perspective of the entire day. This prayer was both a rephrase and a repeat of God’s word! Isn’t it incredible what God does through His Word?
3. Further define a broad term as you meditate and pray.
Today I zoomed in on the phrase “faith expressing itself through love.” I thought about the word “expressing” and as I prayed, I used words like: acting, speaking, writing, singing. All of these words are action words that further described what it means to “express.” The broad term of “expressing” took on more meaning when I started to list out the unique words that make up our expressions. Through looking at the word “expressing,” I also discovered that it doesn’t have to be a verbal expression necessarily. No, expressions come through all different forms; they are words of being AND doing. And it led me to pray, “Lord, let my prayer itself be an expression of faith through love.”
4. Substitute synonyms in place of one word of a verse as you pray.
For today’s example of Galatians 5:6, the focus phrase I chose was “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” You could choose any one word in this phrase to substitute like words and meditate on the meaning, but let’s look at the word “counts” for a moment. When thinking through this phrase, we could place other like terms in place of the word “counts” in order to increase our understanding of the passage. So maybe:
The only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love.
The only thing that adds up is faith expressing itself through love.
The only thing that means anything is faith expressing itself through love.
If you wanted to be thorough in this method, you could use a thesaurus app, online thesaurus, or do a quick Google search. After thinking through the words, pray the isolated phrase to God with your word substitutions and then read the original text to God again, thanking Him for the meaning of His Word.
5. Pray against the lies that Satan promotes against the passage.
No matter the truth we read in God’s Word, Satan’s attacks will come in the opposite form. I often find myself praying against the attacks of the enemy when I meditate on God’s Word. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, Satan tried to use God’s Word to convince Jesus to sin. But Jesus fired back with the TRUTH! We have to know God’s Word to be able to fight against the lies of the devil, Amen?
In the example of today’s passage, I would pray, “Jesus, I know that today, Satan is going to try to make me believe that there are more important things that loving you and loving others. He is going to try to sidetrack me and get me to focus on burdens instead of blessings, on particulars in place of people, on lists and not love. But I’m asking you now to give me a faith that expresses itself in love and does not waiver. Thank you for your Spirit to remind me that my expressions, everything I do today, is a reflection of your love. May it be so. Amen.”
Choose one of the above ways of praying Scripture back to God and write it out in your prayer journal! You could begin with a blank journal, writing the date and Scripture at the top, then choose a method and write out your prayer!
To the sweet lady who emailed me and asked how to pray Scripture back to God, thank you. Thank you for reminding me of the privilege we have to read God’s holy Word and saturate ourselves in truth, as well as the privilege of praying directly to our Father in heaven, who loves to hear his children whispering his promises, because they know them and want to know him more.
By his grace,
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