By Debbie Brown
Anyone ever have trouble concentrating or finding the right words to say when you sit down to pray?
However, I’ve learned a very good method of fighting the distractions, the wandering thoughts, and even the unbelief and hopelessness that try to keep me from prayer: praying Scripture.
Over the past few years, I’ve had my favorites. The Lord’s Prayer, of course, is a great one. Psalm 23 is also a classic. I also pray through the passage that describes the armor of God (Eph 6:10-17), “putting on” each piece and claiming its strength. Another favorite is Ephesians 3:14-21 (I’ve spent years praying this one for myself and my family). Over the past few months, I’ve been praying a new passage that has had a powerful effect on my prayer life as well as my daily life, and I want to walk through it with you.
11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
Coming to prayer with some sort of awareness of WHO GOD IS is extremely important. If you don’t have a clear understanding of who you are talking to, your words and thoughts will probably go amiss. Remembering how BIG God is also helps me. Everything is his; he sees and knows and understands everything.
11:33-34 How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?
Along with knowing who we are talking to, we must remind ourselves who we are in relation to him. Jesus tells a story in Luke 18:10-14 about how we must approach God with humility. Even though we’d like to have understanding about our situation, or know why things happen the way they do, we must remember God is so much bigger than us, and we are so much more limited than he is.
11:35 Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?
Again, humble yourself even more. Remember who God is. He doesn’t owe us anything. Everything is a gift from him.
11:36 For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
He is the beginning and the end of all things, and all of life exists and lives through him. Nothing even comes close to him. Life has no meaning without him. He deserves all worship and praise. (“Amen” doesn’t mean the prayer is over; it means “so be it.” So here is a great place to worship God, and give him the rightful place in your heart and mind and spirit.)
12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Here is the next action. And I love how the Amplified version puts it: “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God.” Decisively dedicate yourself: your heart, mind, body, soul, spirit and will to God. Dedicate your day to him. Set yourself apart for his will and purpose for this day. He has already planned good things in advance for you to do today. Tell him you are willing to follow him, and give him permission to interrupt your day and change your plans. This is how you continue to worship him throughout the day. You are a living sacrifice, holy and well pleasing to him. He delights in you. You are special. There is great joy here!
12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Here is where you reject the lies and the distractions of this crazy world. Ask God to help you clean the junk from your mind and let him restore and renew your thoughts. Only then can you know and agree with his will and plan, which is always good, always satisfying, and always perfect.
12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
Here is where we get to humble ourselves in our relationships with our fellow human beings. Start your day by preparing yourself for all the interactions you will have with all the different people in your life. Remember your faith, talents, and abilities were given to you by God, and he didn’t give them to you to make you feel superior. He gives to each of us exactly what we need. And we are his body, working together, for his will and his glory.
The time I spend in this prayer varies, as each section might need more or less time, depending on my present situation. But I encourage you to try it today, and make praying scripture a habit in your prayer life. May it bless you in so many ways!