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Praying the Scriptures (Part 1) – November 2016

Dear Peddie Church Family,

I wish you a very blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

In these Pastor-to-People columns, I’ve been emphasizing the centrality of the Bible as the only authoritative guide to our spiritual life. I would like to continue along the same theme as we anticipate the 500-year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, which began in 1517.

One of the founding principles of the Reformation is Sola Scriptura (By Scripture Alone), which teaches that the Bible is the only authoritative, infallible rule of faith and practice. It means that there is no higher authority than the Bible to guide our life. All other things, such as tradition, ecclesiastical authorities, private dreams and visions, and experiences, must come under the authority of the Bible and be subject to correction, cleansing, and reform.

In the same way, prayer must come under the authority of the Bible. It is true, as the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:6, we are to bring our requests to God “in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving.” Yet ‘everything’ does not mean everything we want. Our wants are corrupted by sin and are often contrary to the will of God. Our prayers, therefore, must come under the authority of the Bible and be corrected, purified, and sanctified.

To help bring our prayer in conformity with God’s will, I would like to suggest the ancient practice of praying the Scriptures.

Praying the Scriptures is turning the Word of God into our prayers to God. We first listen to the Word of God by meditating on it, and then we lift it back to God as our prayer to Him.

This ancient practice has immense benefits. Most of all, our prayers spring up from the purest and holiest fountain, the Word of God abiding in us (John 15:7). As we immerse ourselves in this holy fountain, our mind becomes soaked in the truth, and our prayers arise from this wellspring of truth, enabling us to pray for the very thing He wants us to pray for.

Another benefit of praying the Scriptures is that it moves us beyond what we habitually pray for. We naturally pray for what concerns us immediately, such as our family, our children, our success in school or work, and our health. All of these are important, but we often get stuck in a rut, unable to see beyond our immediate needs. Praying the Scriptures breaks us out of this mold and enables us to pray for what concerns God and His Kingdom.

All this might sound abstract, so next month, I will lay out a practical way of praying the Scriptures.

In the service of Christ,

– Pastor James