Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Praying the New Testament

I often feel that Christians need to capture the language and grammar of the NT in their prayer life. Not for the purpose of impressing others with the number of Bible quotes you can fit into your prayers. Rather, we should allow the rich and vibrant language of the NT to shape the most intimate aspects of our prayers offered up to God. Let me give two examples:

1. A godly lady at my church drew up a prayer card using Paul's language from Ephesians. It is an interesting exercise to look at the things that Paul prays for:

That God will give us the spirit of wisdom and revleation in the knowledge of Him.

That we would know the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe.

That God would grant us according to the riches of his glory to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in our inner-being.

And so on. I keep the card in my office on my desk and during the day I try to pray through Ephesians!

2. A second thing I do is use Revelation 1.5 as a concluding benediction in prayer time with my daughter Alexis (5 yrs old). We always finish our prayers together with the words:

"And we pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ - the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth."

Not only a prayer couched in biblical language but also (I hope)enriching her understanding of who Jesus is!


J. B. Hood said...

Great thoughts, Mike. The changes in our prayers (language and emotion/affection) should be one of the biggest assets we derive from the study of Scripture. Granted more knowledge doesn't guarantee we won't be praying to the god of the philosophers, but I believe it can lead to the worship of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to a more passionate pursuit of the kingdom of that God in prayer and action.

My cousin-in-law, Robby Holt, is doing a PhD on Paul's Prayers in the Prison Epistles with Craig Bartholomew (Thiselton is his second). His methodological emphasis is on Scripture as 'dramatic model'--that is, Paul is praying this prayer "out loud" for a reason--to encourage his people to pray it after him, and to encourage them to LIVE INTO this prayer, to actualize their roles in God's Drama based on what Paul says about their "part" in this prayer.

Brandon Wason said...


You've really hit the nail on the head. Too often we pray about what we think we need, rather than what really matters--and scripture helps us to know what really matters. And, I do like the Rev 1.5 colophon.

Anonymous said...

Of course, if you'd been praying Jabez instead of that Rev 1:5 stuff, maybe you'd be making twice as much by now...

Sven said...

Great blogm I enjoyed reading it :)