Teach Your Family To Pray The Word Of God (Part 1)
By Kim Butts
Years ago, I was taught how to pray the Word of God and it revolutionized my prayer life. I learned that the most important Book in my life is also the ultimate prayer manual, because it was written by God Himself. No one in your family should ever have to ask the question, "How do I know what God’s will is?" The Bible always makes His will clear to us through the written Word. Anything the Holy Spirit makes known to us will always be in agreement with God’s revealed Word. (And we should always assume that whatever does not agree with God’s Word is not from God.)
Praying the Word sets people free! Wouldn’t you like for every member of your family to be able to pray with complete confidence and assurance that the Lord God Almighty will hear and answer as they pray the Kingdom-advancing prayers that are on His heart? Praying Scripture allows those who are hesitant to pray out loud a tool with which to learn. Hearing one’s own voice praying God’s Word back to Him builds confidence in one’s ability to vocalize prayer.
Following are some reasons why praying Scripture can empower your prayer lives individually and corporately as a family. As you gain understanding and begin to incorporate the Word into your prayers, you will pray with greater boldness and effectiveness than you could ever have thought or imagined, because you will be interceding in God’s good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2).
Praying Scripture Is Powerful Because:
1. Jesus is the Word: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning…The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:1-2, 14). The Word of God will bring life to your prayers – the life of Christ Jesus! Prayer: Father, Your Word is Jesus! He was with You from the beginning. We have seen the glory of Your One and Only Son, who is full of grace and truth. Reveal Your grace and truth in us and through us so that others will recognize the Person of Jesus.
2. It is the example of Jesus: Jesus was tempted, just as each of us has been and will continue to be. If Jesus used the Word of God as a weapon against the devil, it is a good indication that we should do so as well. In Matthew 4:1-11, we see three times that Jesus fought His tempter with the Word: "It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God…it is also written: do not put the Lord your God to the test…Away from Me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only." Prayer: Lord, when I am tempted, may I fight against Satan as Jesus did – with every word that comes from Your mouth! Help me to remember that I worship You and serve You only every day of my life! Jesus is our intercessor: "Who is He that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us" (Romans 8:34). "Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them" (Hebrews 7:25). Do you think that perhaps every prayer Jesus prays on our behalf is the perfect will of God for us?
3. His Word is His will: Learning to pray Scripture teaches us to pray according to His will. Second Timothy 3:16-17: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
Scripture teaches us to know and fulfill God’s will: The number one question we are asked is, "How do I know that I am praying in God’s will?" People ask this because of the passage in First John 5:14-15 that states, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him." The best way to know God’s will is for God to reveal His will to us! There are two issues here:
God’s will for His Kingdom (knowing what is on God’s heart): What is on God’s heart? Jesus has always known, so we must take our instruction from Him in this regard: "For I have come down from heaven not to do My will but to do the will of Him who sent Me" (John 6:38). "The words I say to you are not just My own. Rather, it is the Father, living in Me, who is doing His work" (John 14:10). If Jesus knows that everything He does and says is the will of the Father, then everything He prays is also God’s will. If our job is to be like Jesus and to obey Him, then it is critical that we intercede as He would. We need to discover the will of God through His revealed Word and pray it for the sake of His kingdom! Here are just a few things that are on the heart of God: He wants us to love one another (John 13:34-35); He wants ALL men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:1-4); He wants us to pray for workers to be sent into His harvest field (Matthew 9:37-38); He wants unity in the body of Christ (John 17:20-26). As you pray these Scriptures, know that they are God’s will for you, and that He wants you to obey Him in response to the prayers you are praying.
God’s will for me and my place in His Kingdom: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17: "Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." Philippians 2:13: "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose." Isaiah 30:21: "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’" Isaiah 48:17: "This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go." Should we have any doubt that He is in control? He makes it so clear! Knowing this, how should we ask God about His will for us? Prayer: Gracious Father, teach me Your way so that I can walk in Your truth (Psalm 86:11). May Your Word be a lamp to my feet and a light for my path (Psalm 119:105). Help me not to conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but please transform me by the renewing of my mind so that I will be able to test and approve Your good, pleasing and perfect will for my life (Romans 12:2).
As we are faithful to listen to His voice, and to be obedient to His will, He will reveal more and more of His plans and purposes to us.
4. God’s Word allows us to pray the blessings and the purposes of God for ourselves and others: Example: One passage of Scripture I have prayed for my sons is from First Timothy 4:12: Father, don’t let anyone look down on my son because he is young, but help him to set an example for the believers (and the unbelievers) in his speech, in his life, in his love, in his faith and in his purity. Another powerful way to pray God’s will for others is to bless them. One I have used with my family is the beautiful blessing from Numbers 6:24-26. Here are some additional examples of blessings that can be prayed over people, congregations, neighborhoods, coworkers, classmates, etc.
"May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance" (2 Thessalonians 3:5).
"Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you" (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13).
"May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all" (2 Corinthians 13:14).
"May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word" (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).
Can you see how hundreds of Scriptures can be applied to people and situations as you intercede?
5. Praying Scripture is the example of the early Church: Read Acts 4:23-31 for a great example of a prayer meeting that was focused upon the Word of God! They corporately addressed God using Psalm 2, and He was so pleased that: "After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly" (Acts 4:31). The incredible boldness of these early Christians is astonishing, particularly because they were all relatively new believers! Does your house shake when your family prays?
6. Praying the Word gives us confidence and power in our prayer: "If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you" (John 15:7). When you pray Scripture, you can be confident and know that it is powerful! "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer" (Matthew 21:22). It is much easier for me to believe in God’s Word as I pray than to depend solely upon what is in my own heart, which can sometimes be selfish and not focused upon the plans and purposes of God. This is an excellent reason why we should memorize Scripture in our families! Knowing His Word well will improve our prayer lives, and will help us to believe that we have what we have asked of Him (1 John 5:14-15).
7. The Word of God gives us a beautiful, full, rich vocabulary of prayer: Example: Pray Psalm 145 back to the Lord. As you do, focus all of the words back on Him as a prayer of praise! Then, as you pray through this Psalm and others, write down words and phrases that speak of God and His character to help you to have ways to describe Him so that your prayers don’t wither from repetition. Now that you have this example from the Psalms, go to other books of the Bible and do the same.
8. The Word of God helps us to keep our prayer lives fresh and exciting: "For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12). Have you experienced dry seasons in your prayer life? Have you struggled for ways to teach your children to pray? Applying the vocabulary of Scripture to your prayer life will enliven it! Praying God’s Word will capture your heart and the hearts of your children so that they will always stay connected to the Vine that is Jesus Christ (John 15:7).
Part 2 of this article will be in the February 2007 issue.