An earlier blog gave 4 eternal values that make a difference to praying. The fourth value put importance on AGREEING with God. I wrote: Our eternal Home will be one of perfect union and accord with the Lord. Until then, agreement with him is something we must pursue in a world that contests it. Shaping prayer from his Word strengthens our agreement with him, which makes a big difference to what and how we pray.
The shaping power of God’s thoughts
Seeing the Lord as the lead Speaker in the prayer relationship is important. Whatever we pray – whether admiring him, asking him for something, or any other type of prayer – allowing his thoughts (his Word) to shape what we say to him builds our agreement with him. And agreement elevates authority
As light, and as sword of the Spirit, the Word exposes and separates; it helps us recognize and lay aside thoughts and motives that aren’t in line with his (Heb 4:12, Eph 6:17). This shaping power of the Word makes a difference to our praying on a number of levels.
Apart from filtering for purity and accuracy, it also feeds prayer passion. Prayer rooted in the Word connects the heart of the pray-er to the feelings of the Speaker concerning the truth being prayed. The Spirit uses the Word to engage both mind and emotion of the pray-er in agreeing with the Lord.
The point of using the Word is not to embellish our praying with lots of scriptures, but to be one heart and mind with the Speaker; to agree with what he says about himself (his desires, plans, perspective and feelings) as it relates to the focus of the prayer.
Important enough to pursue
I wrote that “it is something we must pursue”. I’d like to encourage our movement in this value.
In Chapter 7 of Shaped for Prayer Enjoyment, I give 4 pathways for shaping prayer using scripture. One of the pathways involves praying from a verse. For most of us, this isn’t a well-used pathway. It’s a learned discipline which, through practice, can become a really enjoyable prayer habit. I’d like us to stick with this emphasis for the next few weeks (or months?).
The Wingspan Prayer website includes a Pray Scripture Bank. It lists ‘prayable’ verses under various themes. In each of the coming blog posts, I’ll use one of the scriptures in the ‘bank’ as an anchor, set the focus, give a sample outline for praying from it and suggest types of prayer.
Feel free to use the outlines, adjust them, or create entirely new ones from the anchor scriptures.
Conversations in the rain
The first outline will be in the next blog post. Meanwhile, use parts of Isaiah 55:8-13 as conversation pieces with the Lord about deepening agreement with him in prayer.
- Reflect on his promises in v12-13. Look at them through your New Covenant lens in Christ. Note what their fulfilment means for you, through you (for the world you move in), and for the Lord’s fame. Then rejoice (share in his joy) over the promises.
- Pray in the rain (10, 11). Notice how the promises are connected to the Lord sharing his thoughts with us. As rain transforms the land, his Word effects our hearts. Speak to him of your desire to grow your agreement with him as a pray-er. Tell him of your hunger for a prayer life that ‘buds’ and ‘flourishes’ under the soaking of his Word.