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October 10, 2020

In Touch with the Divine: How to Pray the Bible

By Jayson Curry

I think the best summary of 2 Peter 1 goes something like this: God’s grace grants godly living.

Too alliterative? I bet you won’t forget it though! So what exactly do I mean by “God’s grace grants godly living”? Let’s start by looking at the beginning of 2 Peter 1. After Peter is introduced in the first couple of verses, we arrive at one of the most important verses in the chapter, verse 3: “By His divine power the Lord has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of the One who called us by His own honor and glory.”

This verse tells us that the God of the universe has, quite literally, given us all that we need through Jesus. The most powerful being in the entire universe used His divine power to grant us everything necessary for life and godliness. Better yet, Peter doubles down on this statement in the next verse: “Through His honor and glory He has given us His precious and wonderful promises, that you may share the divine nature and escape from the world’s immorality that sinful craving produces” (2 Peter 1:4).

By His grace, God offers salvation to those who confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in their hearts that He rose from the grave (Romans 10:9). Through salvation, we receive the divine nature of God. No, this doesn’t mean you get to fly around like Superman. What it does mean, is that by sharing His divine nature with us, God has given us a means of escaping the world’s immorality. He has given us a way to be close to Him.

In the midst of a difficult and sinful world, God has empowered us to shine as light in the darkness, living lives that are not only fulfilling, but also showcasing the glory of God to the world. Now, you may be thinking, “How do we do that?” How do we live personally fulfilling spiritual lives, and simultaneously exemplify godliness? 

Throughout the rest of 2 Peter 1, those questions are answered in deep and meaningful ways. But for now, I want to share a single, practical, and applicable way to connect with God. 

You need to pray. 

You need to pray the Bible.

Maybe in the past, you have felt unfulfilled in your prayer life. Don’t let that discourage you. Instead, for a short moment, put all doubt and fear aside and think through these next few paragraphs with me.

If you are in a relationship with someone, conversing with them is key. Communicating is one of the main ways we get to know one another. I would argue that because God wants a relationship with us, He provides a means for us to talk with Him. He provides a way for us to hear what He has to say, and for us to tell Him what we are thinking. One of the most powerful ways to communicate with God is to pray through the Bible. In his book, Praying the Bible, Donald Whitney explains it this way: “To pray the Bible, you simply go through the passage line by line, talking to God about whatever comes to mind as you read the text.”

That’s it. Go line by line, verse by verse, sentence by sentence though the Bible. As thoughts go through your mind, simply say them to the Lord. Whitney suggests that the easiest place to start is in the Psalms, and I agree with him. The Psalms contain words that many Christians before us have already sung and prayed to our Heavenly Father. 

Here’s an example using Psalm 100. The first verse says, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!” To that, maybe you say something like this: 

“Lord, you are good. Thank you for waking me up this morning and thank you for helping me through the day. It has been difficult, but I know that you provide joy for us. Please help me be joyful around my coworkers and family today.”

As you finish up that thought, move on to the first part of the next verse, “Serve the Lord with gladness!”

“God, I have a hard time serving others sometimes. Help me serve You and others today. I want to serve You well. You are a good, good Father who loves me so well. I want to be joyful and glad while serving You at home and at work. You have done so much for me, and I want to happily do more for others.”

And that’s it. That is all you have to do. If your mind wanders, gently come back to the Word and read the next verse. If you come across a verse you don’t understand, hop on to the next one. Later, you can explore the meaning of that verse with a pastor, Bible commentary, or a Christian friend.

For me personally, if I’m alone, I like to pray out loud to help me stay on track. Maybe for you, writing down your thoughts after every verse would be helpful. Or you may prefer to just think through your prayers. Regardless of what approach you take, just start talking to God about God and about yourself. As you faithfully show up in prayer, your prayers will begin to reflect what He desires. That divine nature inside of you will become more and more evident as you’re fulfilled by God’s Word and your thoughts begin to mirror His thoughts.

Now – and this next step is the most crucial part of you reading this article – go pray through a psalm on your own. Right now. Don’t think about it or justify it away. (Whitney interrupts his readers and tells them to go pray through a psalm in his book, too!) So, go pick a psalm and pray through it right now. Go take this next step toward Christ! He will faithfully meet you there.

 

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