By Sarah Frazer, Crosswalk.com
Several years ago we were in the process of adopting our first child from China. During that time our pastor was preaching through the power of prayer. He encouraged all of us to start praying specifically for things.
My husband and I started praying specifically for things like the paperwork to pass through, etc. And it seemed God was answering left and right. We were told to expect to be matched with a child in about 6 months. Instead, we received a match in 6 weeks.
Paperwork that normally took a few months took a few weeks. We felt such an open door with our first adoption, that when we traveled to China and things got very very hard, we looked back at our answer to prayer and realized God had indeed led us here. Just because it seemed almost impossible once we got her, we were confident because of the answers we had seen.
So I keep praying, but my prayer time is very simple. I pray before I open God’s Word each morning. I have a running list of people and things I pray through. And I sometimes ask God to bring someone to mind--which He does--and I pray for whoever He brings to mind. I wish I could say I spend large amount of time praying, but with 5 kids, homeschooling, I often find myself praying in the odd moments.
Between waiting in the car, or before bed at night, and each morning, before getting out of bed I speak to God in prayer. The most important prayer I prayer, however, is the one I pray before reading God’s Word.
So what do we pray when we pray over Bible reading? Well, what do we want to gain when we read God’s Word? The answer to that question reveals what type of prayer we will pray before Bible reading.
I’ve looked through Scripture and found these five things are reasons why we read the Bible. They will help us figure out what to pray. In each section below I’ll share the scripture you can use to guide you and a sample prayer to pray.
1. Open Our Eyes
When we ask God to open our eyes, it means we are asking Him to open the eyes to our heart. It means we need to have our hearts and minds open to what God will teach us. As we read God’s Word things might be confusing, distractions might try to keep our minds away from the truth, or lies of the enemy might cloud our thinking.
It is important that we ask God’s Spirit to help us get ready to receive the food of God’s word before we even begin to read. It is important that we be ready and willing and prayer helps tune our hearts to God.
“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” Psalm 119:18
Dear Holy Spirit, open the eyes of my heart that I might learn from you today. As I read the words, teach me what you would teach me, reveal truth to my heart, and quiet the doubts act rise up inside of me. Please be with me and help me to see what you would have me see from your read. I commit this time to you, so speak to me through your Word. Amen.
2. Change Our Heart
When we read God’s Word we want to be changed. We need to come to God with our requests, but we also want to pray and ask God for one specific thing when we read His Word. We want to be changed. We want our lives to reflect Christ and to get rid of sinful habits.
God is ready and willing to forgive us (1 John 1:9), but He doesn’t leave us there. He also wants to see our hearts changed! We are new creatures and we no longer have to live in our past, sinful lives. God wants us to have a clean and pure heart (James 4:8). Let’s be willing to change, but also ask for change.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that you will first forgive me for my sin, but also that you will create in me a clean heart and have mercy on me. According to your word I can come to you and obtain forgiveness. Please change my heart so that I no longer desire to sin, but also lead me to your truth. Wash away my sin, but also lead me to become a new creature in you. Teach me and change me. I desire to learn and grow. Teach me, change me, and lead me. Amen.
3. Teach Us God’s Way
What do we want to learn from God’s Word? One of the things we can do, other than learn how to live, is to learn about God’s character. Who is God? The Bible reveals it, but we need to ask God to reveal it as well. Where is God in this passage? Prayer helps us to try and find it. Praying God to reveal WHO He is important because we often overlook this when we read. So as we read God’s Word, during our Bible reading time, we can ask God to reveal who He is.
His faithfulness, mercy, love, and joy are found in the pages of scripture. To “learn God’s ways” means to learn about who God is and how He would have us live.
“Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.” Psalm 27:11
Dear God, I struggle with knowing which way to go sometimes. I want to understand what you would have me do. I want to live like Christ, be gentle, meek, and kind. Please guide my conversations today. Let my speech be a reflection of your love and heart. I also want to grow in my knowledge of scripture. What does it mean? Who are you, God? Teach me about your ways and about who you are. Guide my Bible reading today and help me discover more of who you are. Amen.
4. Gain Wisdom
While we are reading God’s Word, we not only learn God’s ways and who God is, but we learn how to live. We take the knowledge about ourselves and what we’ve learned about God and use those things to make decisions. We put that knowledge to work. Wisdom is knowledge applied.
But wisdom, as we know from Proverbs 1:7 comes from God. So it is only natural that we would ask God, while we are reading His word, to give us wisdom. How do we apply what we are reading? We need wisdom! The beautiful thing about wisdom is that God doesn’t keep it all to Himself. He loves to share it with us. We need only ask.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” James 1:5
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your willingness to share your wisdom with me. I confess sometimes knowing what your will is for my life can be so confusing. I want to make the right choices and choose the right path, but it is hard to discern. Lord, grant me wisdom in my daily decisions. Grant me wisdom when it comes to people and interactions. I pray that you will give me wisdom with those big decisions as well. Amen.
5. Praise to God after Reading
We are invited to read the Bible, but we are also invited to respond to the Bible. After we read the Bible, what would we do? Surely we will begin to live for God and reflect more of Christ’s character. But we will also automatically worship God.
It is a natural response to see God’s amazing character and worship. We see His faithfulness, love, and salvation only to turn around and worship. Prayer can simply be worship. We don’t have to ask requests or seek guidance with every single prayer we pray. We can pray simple to praise!
“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.” Psalm 95:6
Dear God of the Universe, our Maker and Sustainer. We give you thanks for everything that You are. We sing praise you, as the psalmist does in Psalm 150: “Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.” You are truly great and we praise you! Amen.
“Prayer does not fit us for the great works; prayer is the great work.” - Oswald Chambers
Developing a prayer life isn’t easy. It will taken time to keep going. But it is worth it.
Download this prayer planner to get better organized! In this download you will find several pages of prayer planners for daily, weekly, and monthly prayers!
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Sarah E. Frazer is a writer and Bible study mentor. Sarah is the wife of Jason and mother of five. She and her family serve as full-time missionaries in Honduras. Her passion is to encourage women to start today with a Bible reading and prayer habit. Sarah is the author of several self-published Bible study resources for women. She shares tools and encouragement for Bible and prayer study on her blog: sarahefrazer.com.