Life Lessons: Learning How to Pray

A great way to pray is to simply pray the Scriptures. One way is to simply pray the Bible verbatim. Another way is to make slight alterations that do not change the content but personalize the passage. Not everyone can do this and you should exercise great caution if you do so because you never want to change the meaning of God’s Word or take it out of context. For a quick example, here is an adaptation of Psalm 23 changed in order to personalize it. The Bible is listed first and then the adapted prayer in quotes second:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 

PRAYER: “LORD, You are my Shepherd. I don’t lack for anything.”

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

PRAYER: “LORD, You lead me to rest in peaceful places to restore my soul. Thank you for leading me to do what is right for your glory. May I be a vessel that honors You with my life.”

 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

PRAYER: “Though I walk through life with dangers all around me, I will fear no evil for You are with me. You protect me, discipline me, and use these trials to make me more like Christ. You clear out the dangers around me and provide abundantly for me. Again, I lack for nothing that I truly need.”

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

PRAYER: “I am assured of Your goodness and mercy following me all the days of my life because I am Your child as I enjoy You, now and forever, Lord.”

Now, I did this quickly and you might do it differently but these are some of the key themes you can pray according to this psalm. When we pray the Scriptures, we are truly praying the promises and truths from God’s Word rather than our own ideas and expectations of what God should do. Praying the Scriptures is praying what God says He will do and can be very different.

You are always safer to pray the actual Bible without changing the words to personalize it when possible. If you don’t want to do this, no problem. I understand. This is simply a suggestion to help you to understand God’s Word better, pray more biblically, and draw more closely to the One True God.

For more on this topic, Pray with Your Eyes Open by Richard Pratt and Praying the Bible by Don Whitney are two solid resources.

-Mark and Rachel Shaw (learning to trust God for what He has actually said and not what we think He has said)

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