I want to address some of the motivations for a Christian to pray the Word. Many of the reasons to pray the Word relate how we practice prayer.
- If we want to pray the will of God, we must pray the Word. The Bible is the only certain revelation of God’s will to man. To pray in accord with His will we must pray the Word of God.
- Many times we do not know what requests to make. The practice of praying Scripture teaches us what and how to ask when we do not know what to pray.
- Praying the Word gives words for our emotions, thoughts and desires, especially in times of intense need. Jesus modeled this in the garden when He referred to Psalm 40:7-8 and on the cross when He quoted Psalm 22:1.
- Praying the Word helps shape our emotions, thoughts and desires to be in line with the Bible.
- Praying the Word helps us conform our requests to be in agreement with the character and will of God.
- Praying the Word is the Biblical model of prayer. Many of the prayers of the Bible are built on other portions of the Word. For example, Jonah’s brief prayer in Jonah 2 is rooted firmly in Psalm 18 and 69. The study of how the saints in the Bible prayed the Word is fascinating.
One quick warning needs to be given. Praying the Word is not a formula for getting your prayers answered. Quoting a verse about a request is not going to force God to do what you want. Praying the Word seeks to conform the person to the will of God, not conform God to the person’s will.
The above reasons for praying the Word are all good reasons, but I would say the greatest motivation to pray the Word is our love for God. We who desire Him will desire His Word. Love for God creates a hunger for what He has said and results in a deeper knowledge of the Word.
A man who loves his wife will know her. He will know what pleases and displeases her. He will know how she thinks and what opinions she holds on various subjects. His love will motivate him to spend time with her. He will eventually spend enough time with her that her words will become his own. He will find himself shaped by her thinking and by her speaking, often without even realizing it. I do not mean to imply he will be manipulated by his wife into agreeing with her. I mean their relationship together will transform them both to make them more like one another. Her words and thoughts will naturally begin to take on a likeness to his, and his will take on a likeness to hers.
For the Christian the process of becoming like God is intentional. God is working to transform us to be like Him. We who love Him ought to be like little children who try our best to imitate our beloved Father. (Ephesians 5:1) When we love God we will spend time with Him in His Word. We will listen to what He has said. We will want to be like Him. Minds marinated in the Bible will give Scripture flavor to all our words. Love God so much that His Word fills your mind and your heart. When the Word fills your heart it will flow from your lips and fill your prayers. (Luke 6:45)