Recently, I’ve been convicted by the casualness I bring to my faith. Don’t get me wrong. I read my Bible and pray regularly. I genuinely make time to praise and worship the Lord and actually enjoy it. I’m learning to love others more selflessly and value God’s kingdom and not just my own comfort. But as I’ve read accounts through history about prayer and get a bigger picture of the global church, I know there’s so much more work God is doing in me.
Take this eye-opening hypothetical:
Imagine losing access to your Bible.
How much would you be able to recall or write down from memory? Or how much would it matter to our day-to-day?
It feels almost unnecessary to ask this in a country where we have several copies of Scripture in our homes and over 100 translations in our pocket. But I think that’s precisely why we forget what we have access to.
I heard a story about Chinese Christians (you can read it here) who would have a torn-out page or two of Scripture in prison and memorize it as fast as they could in case they were taken away. Heavy to think about, right?
They said, “They can’t take what’s hidden in your heart.”
I pray we never lose access to Scripture, but when I recognize the incredible privilege it is to have 24-7 access to Scripture, I’m a bit embarrassed by how I have forgotten what we have.
What a gift it is to read Scripture whenever we like. Are we taking advantage of that?
Are we tucking God’s Word in our hearts so we can recall the truth found in it’s pages anywhere and at any time?
While driving this morning, the sun rose so bright and beautifully, and within a moment, dark but translucent gray clouds crossed in front of the sun. It was so captivating!
2 Corinthians 3:8 came to mind immediately. Well, I should say, the words “unveiled” and “glory” came to mind and then I searched those words in my Bible app when I got to my destination.
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
The beauty of what we have access to is so easy to forget.
Instead of being really grateful, we have access to Scripture, we’re bummed our usual coffee shop discontinued our favorite drink (totally me!). We’re bummed our kids are sick when you just paid for a camp for the week. We’re bummed it’s too hot and humid to be outside. We’re bummed we can’t eat gluten, sugar, dairy, or soy for the next 12 weeks. You’re getting that these are all me, right? 🙂
I want to be excited about Scripture and not wait until I no longer have access. I want to soak up God’s Word right now.
And here’s the thing, we can’t really pray with confidence or consistency without spending time in our Bible.
Andrew Murray said, “Little of the Word with little prayer is death to the spiritual life. Much of the Word with little prayer gives a sickly life. Much prayer with little of the Word gives more life, but without steadfastness. A full measure of the Word and prayer each day gives a healthy and powerful life.”
Knowing Scripture transforms our prayers in two ways:
1. It increases our confidence.
John 15:7-8 says “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” One reason we feel held back in prayer is feeling like we don’t know if what we are praying aligns with God. When we have His Word hidden in our hearts, we can pray confidently that our words agree with God because they are the very Words that are God-breathed. Here’s an example of what it adds to my personal section of my prayer journal.
2. It increases our hearing.
Priscilla Shirer says “The more Scripture you hide in your heart – the more frequently and diligently you read it and reread and meditate on its truths – the more opportunity you give the Holy Spirit to bring it quickly to mind, punctuated at a specific moment with a personalized message for you.” How powerful!! Doesn’t it make sense that as God seeks to speak to us, He’d use His very Word to prompt us?
I shared these points in a module on how to use Scripture in our prayers in our Developing a Fluency of Prayer course. (The module also includes tips for memorizing and a beginner’s guide of how to use Scripture in our prayers.) I want to add one more though.
3. It increases our joy and passion.
When I know the God I am praying to, I genuinely enjoy praying more. When I acknowledge that God is the creator of the universe and read passages like Psalm 29 and am reminded that prayer is speaking this same God, it turns words that we feel we’re speaking into powerful words to our maker. Another great place to start is in the Gospels and we get to see the human picture of the Son of God.
It’s really easy for the abundant gift of Scripture to get lost on us, but the beauty that awaits us as we tuck Scripture in our hearts and let it transform not only our thoughts, but our prayers too. Why would we ever want to miss out on that?
If you want to see what it looks like to incorporate Scripture into prayers, check out our Springboard Prayers book. It’s 125 prayers that guide you into meaningful conversation with the Lord broken up into different topics like circumstance, time of day, emotion, etc. All prayers incorporate at least 3 Scriptures!
Share your best tips for memorizing or what gets you excited about Scripture below!
Such a wonderful reminder. Let us hold dear God’s Word!