Praying God’s Word—An Unexpected Experience
A BfA staff member talks about his experience of praying with the Word of God.
In Ephesians 6, the apostle Paul tells us to receive the Word of God “by means of all prayer” (vv. 17-18).
There are certainly many ways to understand and practice this charge, and probably all are profitable. If the content of our prayer mirrors the content of God’s speaking to us in His Word, we’re probably on the right track.
I once read a book that used an illustration likening the words in the Bible to a tree with limbs full of fruit, and that by prayer, we can shake a limb until some fruit comes down for us to eat. I read the Bible regularly, chapter by chapter, but I decided to experiment and add a little bit of “pray-reading” to my daily Bible reading.
So I began to occasionally pick a verse or two from whatever chapters I was reading that day and simply prayed aloud with the phrases and words, repeating them and emphasizing them out loud.
On some days, a general appreciation resulted, but no “fireworks,” you could say. On others, though, I really sensed the Word coming alive as I prayed. That kind of specific, focused prayer made the verse vibrant, bright, and as Hebrews 4:12 says, “living and operative” to me.
A particular occasion stands out to me. I was waiting for a friend to pick me up at a bus stop one day and casually reading through Ephesians 4. The chapter ends with what I thought was a rather unremarkable verse about being kind and forgiving one another.
But I stopped and began to pray over that final verse. Very unexpectedly, I was made keenly aware of some fair but harsh remarks I had made to some of my coworkers. As I repeated the words again and again, “Be kind. Be kind. Be kind, forgiving one another…” so much light shined from them. I saw how cold and strict I was with certain of my coworkers. I was stricken, suddenly realizing how tyrannical I could be at times. I didn’t expect that realization to come, but through my prayer over the words, it almost knocked me over!
Under the shining of the Lord’s light from His Word, I just confessed to the Lord, and let the words from that verse wash away all of my unhappiness with others. As I “ate” the words of Ephesians by praying with them, I felt the kind, forgiving One spread into new areas of my heart. I even shed a few tears.
When my friend arrived to pick me up, he took one look at my face and asked, “What happened?” How do you answer such a question? By means of prayer, a verse printed in black and white on a page became a very personal light shining within me and provided an opportunity for Christ to expand into more of me.
What a tremendous miracle that we have a book as rich as the Bible in our hands, and furthermore, that we have prayer as a means to actually realize what lies printed on every page! This experience and many others like it have taught me to always take the time to pray over one or two verses. I simply don’t want to miss any experience the Lord has ready for me in His Word.