The Bible is our prayer manual, because through the Bible the Lord reveals Himself to us. God speaks to us through His Word and through prayer we respond. As we read the Bible and listen to God, it will change our behaviour, our way of thinking and our prayers. Anyone who neglects his study of the Bible runs the risk of going astray. The following are guidelines for Christians on how to use their Bible in prayer.
- Start your quiet time by reading a portion of Scripture. Pray through that portion. Take note of the admonitions, sins, promises, orders, examples and warnings and pray about them.
- Make notes on prayers in Scripture. Start with Psalms and learn from David’s prayers what you can, may and ought to pray.
- Underline the commands and promises in the specific passage. Ask yourself how you must and can apply these commands and promises in your daily life.
- Enrich your prayer with Scripture.
- Study the lives and prayers of people in the Bible: Jesus, David, Elijah, Moses, Paul, Abraham, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and others.
- Every believer should have a Bible study programme and a Bible reading programme. It is not so far-fetched to read through the Bible at least once a year.
- Ask at least the following questions about each portion of Scripture:
- What do I learn about God?
- What behaviour does it encourage in me?
- What promises, commands and warnings are there in this passage?
- How should or can I pray about it?
- It is important to memorise portions of Scripture. Try to memorise three verses a week. Very few people can manage more than three per week.
- Scripture is important to prayer, because it is what God says Himself. To use The Word in prayer is to take God at His Word. God is faithful to Himself and His Word.
- It can be meaningful to use coloured pencils to underline or colour certain things in your Bible in order to emphasise them.
…my heart being nourished by the Truth…
The example of George Müller
The following is an extract from the autobiography by George Müller. The method used by George Müller for his personal quiet time and enrichment can be effectively used by all believers. The most important thing, he said, was first to concentrate on reading the Bible, then meditating on a chosen portion.
“… that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that therefore, by means of the Word of God whilst meditating upon it, my heart might be brought into communion with the Lord… The first thing I did (early in the morning), after having asked in a few words the Lord’s blessing upon his precious Word, was, to begin to meditate on the Word of God, searching, as it were into every verse to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of preaching on what I had meditated upon; but for the purpose of obtaining food for my soul.”
“The result I have found to be almost invariably this; that after a few minutes my soul has been led to confession or thanksgiving or intercession or supplication; so that though I did not as it were previously, give myself to prayer but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately more or less into prayer.”
“The difference then between my former practice and my present one is this: formerly when I arose, I began to pray as soon as possible and generally spent all my time till breakfast in prayer or almost all the time… But what was the result? I often spent a quarter of an hour or half an hour or even an hour on my knees before being conscious to myself of having derived comfort, encouragement, humbling of soul, etc; and often, after having suffered much from wandering of mind for the first ten minutes or a quarter of an hour or even half an hour, I only then began really to pray.”
“I scarcely ever suffer now in this way. For my heart being nourished by the Truth, being brought into true fellowship with God, I speak to my Father and to my Friend (vile though I am, and unworthy of it!) about the things that He has brought before me in his precious Word. It often now astonishes me that I did not sooner see this point…”
Müller wrote some years later: “In addition to this I generally read after family prayer large portions of the Word of God, when I still pursue my practice of reading onward in The Holy Scriptures; sometimes in the New Testament and sometimes in the Old and for more than thirty-nine years I have proved the blessedness of it. I take also either then or at other parts of the day, time more especially for prayer.”