Georges River Congregational Church Devotion from Pastor Haydn Sennitt –
Prayer Stage 3: Reading a Bible Passage
When coming to God in prayer, it is tempting – and common practice – to ‘cut to the chase’ and begin gushing forward to God with requests. As I’ve mentioned earlier, there is a time and a place for us to bring God our specific petitions, but we need to keep in mind that praying to God is not primarily about asking for things. With my daughters, I know there are things they wish to ask me, but I would feel awkward if I were to bring them home before they began a conversation with ‘Daddy, gimme some candy’. If they did that, I would feel used, as if I were a servant.
It’s the same with God. One way to avoid this is to choose a Bible passage to reflect on and pray through. Perhaps it might be half a chapter, a full chapter, a single verse or even half a verse – the length doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you read something from God’s Word.
There are some very important reason that we read God’s Word before praying. Firstly, it lets God set the agenda for our prayer; it reveals things about ourselves that we may have been overlooking. Unconfessed sin – like impatience or pride – may be revealed by meditating on a particular passage, a sin which may have been blocking God’s answering of your prayers (Ps 66:18).
The second benefit of reading a Word before prayer is that we get a bigger glimpse of who God is, which captures your heart and helps you to prioritise your prayers and engage in heart-felt adoration (e.g. Ezekiel 1 or Psalm 103).
The third benefit is that often we don’t know what to pray for specifically, and the Word gives us something that God considers important, such as interceding for non-believers. Our prayers tend to get jumbled up with whatever circumstantial stuff is going on in our world, and we can lose track of what God values (Isaiah 55:8-9). We can still tell God about our own concerns, but the Word helps us to focus on His concerns and gives us substance to our intercession.
Perhaps you’re going through a Bible-in-a-year Bible plan or going through something at a slower pace. Regardless of your speed, try reading part of the Word before you pray, so that your requests can be those things that are close to God’s heart.
~ God bless, Pastor Haydn.