I think I have taken it for granted that everyone who is excited about prayer is also excited about Scripture. But several conversations I’ve had recently have caused me to start questioning that assumption. So, by way of encouragement—or perhaps challenge—I want to share with you some reasons why as a pray-er, I can’t live without spending time in God’s written Word.
1. It helps me get to know and love the God I’m praying to. Which helps me to understand what He’s like—what brings Him joy, what grieves His heart, what He longs for, what He likes doing, how He feels about me, about my friends, about my enemies—it reveals what kind of Person He is. Which is not just making requests at a celestial service desk—it’s relating with a real Person who has feelings, opinions, and a definite personality.
2. It shows me what kinds of things God has already done—as well as the things He has opposed. It teaches me about what kinds of prayers He loves to answer, and which ones He doesn’t. It helps me see His purposes in history—which helps me to better align with what He is doing now.
3. It helps me to pray beyond my personal scope and small perspective on the world. I see how big God is. And as I become better acquainted with the things that concern Him, I pray larger, broader prayers.
4. It gives me faith-building promises that give me confidence as I pray.
5. It provides a way for God to initiate conversation with me. Instead of prayer always starting with me talking to Him, I can let Him talk to me through His Word and respond to Him. In this way He gets a chance to talk about what He wants to talk about for a change.
6. It teaches me what God’s voice sounds like and the kinds of things He says so that when He speaks to me, I can be assured that it’s really Him.
7. It introduces me to prayer mentors from whom I can learn how to go deeper with God in prayer.
8. It gives me words for prayer—words to express praise, adoration, wonder, thanksgiving—as well as words (and permission!) to cry for help, complain and groan, lament, or express my contrition.
9. It inspires me to persevere in prayer, grow in faith, live honestly before God, and love others—because in His Word I learn that God especially honors the prayers of those who seek to live in these ways.
10.It shows me the possibilities for relationship with God. When I look at how Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, Paul, and others related to God and enjoyed Him, I am inspired also to go after a similar degree of intimacy, companionship, mutual trust, and meaningful partnership with God. His Word lets me know that He wants to have that kind of closeness with me, too—and teaches me how to cultivate that relationship.
How does the Bible help you in prayer? Or, perhaps you struggle to get into the Word. I’d like to hear about that, too. Let’s keep learning from each other.