Praying Scripture

By Jesse Johnston

In my walk with Christ, my practice of spiritual disciplines has evolved as I grow in maturity and go through different seasons of life. In the last few months, I have started the practice of actively praying through scripture. This is a new discipline for me that I learned about more in depth in a recent seminary course. My goal in this article is to simply encourage and give you some ideas about praying through scripture. One tool I discovered was the Book of Common Prayer. Within this little book of liturgy the Psalms are broken up into morning and evening prayers. Over the course of a month, if you stick with each morning and evening prayer (which I have not yet been successful at doing), you will have gone through every Psalm. This has been a beautiful experience because of the depth of emotion that is expressed in the Psalms.

Over the months, I have prayed prayers of pure joy in the Lord! I praise Jesus in all His beauty and love. For example, Psalm 100 (which is included in the 19th day’s evening prayer) “Shout for Joy to the Lord, all the earth”, (this scripture is deserving of an exclamation point) [!] “Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.”

I have also prayed prayers of deep anguish that comes only from the worst of human experiences. Psalm 6:4-6 (found in the 1st day’s evening prayer), “Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave? I am worn out from my groaning.”

By praying through scripture, we discover that the Word of God can be used for something more than simply memorizing facts. Jesus invites us into His Word and we get to engage in the depths of its stories. This is our story today, and God is inviting us in many ways to take part in the story.