We can all agree that praying God’s Word is essential to our spiritual growth–but what does it actually mean to pray God’s Word? To answer this question, let’s first take a look at the definition of prayer.
What is the Definition of Prayer?
The definition of prayer, according to Oxford Languages, is “a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship”. The Hebrew word for prayer is tᵊp̄illâ, which means prayer, intercession, and supplication (source). When we go before the Lord in prayer, we can call on him to help us in our times of need. I love the Scripture in Hebrews 4:16,
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Praise God that we can approach his throne of grace with boldness and confidence, knowing that he is there to help us in our times of need!
According to the Oxford definition of prayer, we can also use prayer as a powerful way to express our gratitude and praise to God. I love praying the Psalms as a way to express praise, thanksgiving, and adoration to the Lord. These are powerful ways to use prayer as a way to draw closer to God as we reflect on the truth that he is GOOD–and is worthy of our praise!
What does it mean to Pray to Scripture (or to Pray God’s Word)?
Now that we have a better understanding of the definition of prayer, we can dive into one of my favorite ways to pray: praying God’s Word. When people talk about praying Scripture, they often refer to using Bible verses to guide and formulate their prayers.
It’s the idea of “praying Scripture back to God”, by using his words to pray for his will to be done in our lives. God’s Word is living and active–sharper than any two edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). His Word is useful in our lives for teaching, correcting, rebuking, and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). God’s Word is also incredibly useful when we pray!
How do you Pray Scripture?
We can pray God’s Word by choosing a Scripture to read and focus on. In this example, let’s use Matthew 6:25-34.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
When we read this passage of Scripture, the main theme we gather is not to worry. This is a great passage to pray back to God when we find ourselves worried and anxious about our lives. There are many principles in this passage that we can pray back to God.
We can pray and ask God to…
- Help us to not worry about our lives
- Help us to trust him to take care of our needs
- Help us to seek his Kingdom and his righteousness
Here is an example of a prayer you could pray using Matthew 6:25-34,
Prayer: Lord, thank you so much for the comfort and power of your Word. You say that I don’t have to worry about my life. If you care for the birds of the air, help me to trust that you will certainly take care of me and my family. I am much more valuable than many sparrows. Glory to your name!
Help me to not worry about the daily necessities of life–about what I will wear, eat, or drink. You will provide food, clothing, and shelter for me–for you are Jehovah Jireh–my God who provides. Help me to seek your kingdom, and your righteousness. I desire to seek you with all my heart. Lead me on the path of your righteousness, and help me to trust that you will provide everything else that I need. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Praise God that we can go before him and pray for his will to be done in our lives!
How do you Pray Scripture Over Someone?
You can also pray God’s Word over your loved ones. This simply means that you can pray specific Scriptures for friends and family members. I like to choose Scriptures that I want to pray for loved ones, and I either write those Scriptures and prayers down in a prayer journal, or there are times when I speak those prayers aloud over my family.
Want to pray powerful Scriptures over yourself? Check out this post on 40 Armor of God Scriptures that you can pray over yourself!
What did Jesus say about Praying?
Jesus had much to say about prayer! Many people look to the words of Jesus in the Lord’s Prayer to guide their own prayers. Not only do we pray God’s Word when we pray the Lord’s Prayer, but we are praying the very words of Jesus when we pray!
After Jesus finished praying, one of the disciples asked him in Luke 11:1 to teach them to pray. Jesus taught them to pray using what is now known as the Lord’s Prayer:
He said to them, “When you pray, say:
“‘Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.”
When Jesus taught the disciples to pray, he was instructing them to:
- Honor the Lord and praise his name (hallowed be your name)
- Pray for the Lord’s provision in their lives (give us today our daily bread)
- Pray for the forgiveness of their sins (forgive us our sins)
- Pray for protection from temptation and from the evil one (lead us not into temptation)
When we pray the Lord’s Prayer as Jesus taught his disciples, we are praying the very words of God, and proclaiming that his will be done in our lives!
Prayer Lessons from a Toad
A few years ago, I learned a valuable lesson in the power of prayer from a toad. Have you ever discovered that God sometimes speaks to us in the most unlikely ways?
In the particular story I read with my kids from Frog and Toad, Toad was very impressed by his friend Frog’s garden. “I wish I had a garden.” Toad lamented.
Frog gave him some seeds and told him that with a bit of hard work, he too would have a bountiful garden.
After Toad planted his seeds, the rest of the story describes the comical way Toad waited for his seeds to grow. He tried to “help” his seeds grow by performing various activities.
He talked to his seeds. Nothing happened. He impatiently yelled at them. Still nothing. He read stories, poems and played music to his seeds–all to no avail. Finally, frustrated and forlorn, he fell asleep.
A little while later, Frog excitedly woke Toad to show him the budding sprouts in his garden.
“Toad!” exclaims Frog, “Now you will have a nice garden!” “Yes,” Toad remarked. “But you were right, Frog. It was very hard work!”
The Power of Praying God’s Word
I love this story because it reminds me of a powerful spiritual truth: We are called to sow seeds of prayer.
But when we don’t see immediate answers to our prayers, we try to “help God out” by making things happen on our own. We yell. We shout. We try to manipulate people and situations.
We attempt to speak our prayers into fruition with our own feeble words; but ultimately God is the One who causes the seeds of our prayers grow.
God is the only One who can speak things into existence.
In the beginning when the world was formless and empty, God spoke–and things happened. Take a look at the pattern in Genesis 1.
And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters…”and it was so.
And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear…”and it was so.
And God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees…” and it was so.
God spoke… and it was so.
He is the only One with omnipotent power to speak things into life. But sometimes we act like Toad and work ourselves into a frenzy, taking matters into our own hands.
But there is a better way to pray.
God has graciously given us His words to speak, as He did through the prophet Jeremiah:
“I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” Jeremiah 1:9b-10
We don’t have to use our words to make the seeds of our prayers come to life. When we pray the Word of God, we always pray the will of God.
God’s Word is like a fire and hammer; a sword and a mighty shield. His Word snuffs out the enemy’s schemes against us and obliterates strongholds.
His Word breaks through chains of bondage and releases us from captivity. His Word rebuilds our teetering faith and revives our withered souls.
His Word is faithful, steady and true–and never returns void.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11
Praying God’s Word with Confidence
So instead of using our own words when we pray, why not try using His? There is great power in praying God’s promises.
Are you in need of peace? Ask that God’s peace, which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind (Philippians 4:6).
Are you lacking in strength? Pray that God will be your refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).
Are you battling fear? Praise God that He has not given you a spirit of fear, but of love, power and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).
Sow seeds of prayer today, and speak His Word over every situation in your life. He will give you an unspeakable joy, and in His perfect timing, you will reap an abundant harvest!
Download these free prayer printables to deepen your prayer life and powerfully pray the Word of God!
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.Galatians 6:9
Feel free to download this prayer printable for your personal prayer time. Click HERE to download this printable!
Here are other printables you can use to pray the power of God’s Word. Just click on the link and select the printable you want to download!
Looking for even more ways to deepen your prayer life? Check out the BOLD Prayers of Jesus Prayer Challenge! You will receive tons of prayer printables to deepen your prayer time with Jesus!