“Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’” Matthew 6:9-13 (ESV)
The beginning part of Matthew 6:9 is so helpful. Jesus, God in the flesh, teaches us exactly how to pray. When I have to select the words of prayer on my own, I struggle. My prayers become repetitive, and usually self serving. I want to pray the way God has instructed me. This is the importance of praying the Word back to God. God wants to hear from His people, and in His loving kindness gives us insight into the prayers He desires. The Lord’s prayer is one such example. This thought was spurred on in a recent shift of focus in our weekly men’s prayer meetings. Nate, our Discipleship Director, leads these meetings, and has recently incorporated reading a section of Scripture and then praying through different aspects that come to light in the reading. This practice has been an encouragement to me. Here are some reasons why:
Praying the Word is truthful
Praying God’s Word back to Him guards our hearts against self-centered prayers to the Almighty. The Bible provides guardrails against my own selfishness, and self-centered ideas. I’m focused on praying the very Words of God, right back to Him, and His Words are always truthful.
Praying the Word grows me
Each time we pray in this manner I grow spiritually. I learn about God, and I am reminded of how the Bible is applicable to so many of the issues that concern me. Just this past Monday we prayed Psalm 93. It reminded me, in the midst of the chaos that is ensuing all around us, that our God reigns. There is not one thing that moves outside of His control. It taught me that His Words are trustworthy! I needed this comfort and reminder early on a Monday morning when the week ahead can seem so daunting.
Praying the Word focuses me on the Lord
Lastly, praying God’s Word back to Him focuses my heart on what God wants above my own desires. I’m reminded of so many of His attributes. In Psalm 93, I am reminded of His comforting sovereignty, trustworthiness, holiness, mightiness, and eternality. All this came from one Psalm that was read through and prayed over by four different men on a Monday morning.
I encourage you to search the Scriptures and pray the Word of God back to Him. His Word is truthful, it is sanctifying, and it focuses our prayers on the desires of God. I cannot help but add that this moment came in our weekly men’s prayer meeting. Because I dedicate 30-40 minutes of my Monday morning to a Zoom prayer meeting with other men, the Lord opened my eyes to this practice. Perhaps you can learn with us. Feel free to join us for the men’s prayer meeting on Mondays at 8 am. Email Nate Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org for the meeting information. If this time doesn’t work, link up with other Christians and do this on your own. Above all, pray the Word right back to God!