A practice that many have found useful is to offer prayers based on the word of God. The idea is to personalize a text to yourself (if in private) or a group (if in public).
Praying Scripture in Private
· Scriptures should be chosen along the path of need and growth. For example, Heb. 13:5 becomes:
[Heb 13:5] "Lord, make sure that my [instead of your; you get the idea...] character is free from the love of money, making me content with what I have."
· Here are three examples of paraphrased, personalized prayer based on the Phillips, NIV and NAS translations. In actual practice it might be good to stop along the way to thank God extemporaneously or to confess a particular failure, but for the sake of example we will stick fairly close to the text.
[Eph 4:17] "Lord, I pray that out of the glorious richness of your resources you will enable me to know the strength of the Spirit's inner re-enforcement--that Christ may actually live in my heart by faith."
[2 Peter 1:3-11] "Lord, you have by your own action given me everything that is necessary for living righteously here and now, by allowing me to know and have Jesus--who has called me through his own glorious goodness. It is through Christ Jesus that these great and precious promises have become available to me, making it possible to escape the inevitable corruption that lust produces in the world and for me to share in your essential and permanent nature. For this very reason, Lord, I must do the utmost from my side, and see that my faith results in real moral excellence--real goodness of life. My goodness must be accompanied by knowledge, my knowledge then by self-control, my self-control by the ability to endure. My endurance too must always be fueled by complete devotion to you; which in turn will result in my showing the quality of brotherly kindness, and my brotherly kindness must lead on to supernatural Christian love. Lord, if I have these qualities manifesting and growing within me then it means that I really do know Jesus as Lord, and I can be sure that the power of Christ in me will keep my life from becoming either complacent or unproductive. If I fail to exhibit these qualities it means I am blind or short-sighted--that I can't remember how great your salvation was from my former sins. I want to set my mind, then, on endorsing by my conduct the fact that you, God, have really called and chosen me. If I grow in these qualities there is no reason why I should ever stumble. As long as I am living a more and more Christ-like life then I can be completely sure that the Father will grant me a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
[Phm 1:6] "Lord, give me grace and opportunity to be active in sharing my faith, so that I will have a full understanding of every good thing that I have inherited in Christ."
Praying Scripture With Others
· For group or public prayers, "us" or "we" replaces "me" or "you". Best in this venue are Scriptures that are prayer-like to begin with. Here are three examples.
[Eph 3:16-19] "Father, we pray that out of your glorious riches you may strengthen us with power through your Spirit in our inner beings, so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith. And we pray that, being rooted and established in love, that we may have power--together with all the saints--to grasp how wide and long and high and deep the love of Messiah is. Lord, we want to know of your love that surpasses knowledge, so that we may be filled to the measure of the fullness God."
[2 Thes 1:11-12] "O Lord, we pray that you may count us worthy of your calling, and that by your power you may fulfill every good purpose we have and every act prompted by our faith. We pray this so that the name of the Lord Jesus may be glorified in us, so that we might be glorified together with him, according to the grace of God and the Lord Jesus Christ."
[Col 3:15-16] "Lord Jesus, may your peace rule in our hearts, since as members of your body we were called to peace. Give us a thankful instinct and disposition, Lord! And may your word dwell in us richly as we teach and admonish each other with all wisdom, and as we sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in our hearts to you."