—Carol J. H. Kobulnicky
I first encountered the idea of praying Scripture over 20 years ago when I picked up a copy of Kenneth Boa’s 1997 book: Face to Face: Praying the Scriptures for Intimate Worship. At the time, my only experience with the beauty and power of praying Scripture was through formal church liturgy—something that I found can become rote and have less meaning if one is not intentional. Because of the authors’ rewriting and positioning of Scripture as prayers (he follows the format and basic content of the Lord’s Prayer through much of it), I realized how easily I could open my copy of Scripture and simply, but powerfully, pray it back to God.
The other day I took some unstructured time to pray. I didn’t know what I was going to pray, but I felt called to set more time aside and I brought my Bible. As I waited on God, I found myself reciting a memorized verse from Psalms. It was simply: “Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Ps 8:1). I opened my Bible and began to speak the words of the Psalm aloud. I then prayed them back (aloud) to God and found my heart worshipping Him who set His “glory above the heavens”.
I soaked in the words—familiar words that I’ve read many times before. But, as we know, the Word is living and active. It spoke to me in new ways that day. Declaring the truth that God has ordained praise “from the lips of children and infants” (v. 2), moved me to pray for the Emmaus Kids’ Klubhouse. Acknowledging that God, in His glory and majesty, has crowned us with glory and honor, I remembered the verse in Psalm 103 that states “He has crowned us with love and compassion.” I found myself talking to God about what His Word said. The slow meandering journey through Scripture took me to Colossians 1:15-20 where I declared aloud the supremacy of Jesus Christ, and then Isaiah 61 where I was reminded of Jesus’ reading the first couple of verses in his synagogue, declaring that the prophecy was fulfilled that day (Luke 4).
When I set aside time to be with God, I don’t always take so much unstructured time to allow myself to be led by the Holy Spirit through His Word. But, when I do, I am incredibly blessed. The time spent was time in prayer AND worship. The two are hard to separate when you pray the Scriptures, and of course, why would we want to?
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name! Thank you for ordaining praise from the lips of children! Help us to never be a stumbling block to their growing faith in You. Thank you for crowning your people with glory and honor, love and compassion! Help us to lives of obedience, and to stand in awe of you, so as to display Your splendor. Dear Lord, help us to realize more and more how blessed we are when we set aside time with You. Holy Spirit, lead us as we pray Your Word back to You—declaring truth, seeking Your comfort, learning more about Your character and who You desire for us to be. Amen.
Contact the Rhythms of Grace Intercessory Prayer Team: firstname.lastname@example.org