Why don’t Christians pray more? For Christians, it’s so often that when we pray, we say the same old things about the same old things: “Lord, bless my family,” “Lord, help me in my job,” “Lord, bless this food to our bodies” (whatever that even means!). With all due respect to our families, jobs, and the food, praying about the same things using the same phrases over and over and over tends to douse our intercessory fires. What is the result of such rote praying? Christians who don’t pray very much. Again, the problem is not praying for the same old things. The problem is saying the same old things when praying about the same old things.
Enter the Bible. And Don Whitney.
Indianapolis Theological Seminary recently co-sponsored Renew: Praying and Pondering the Word of God, an event where Dr. Don Whitney explained a method to revitalize one’s prayer life, namely, by praying God’s Word back to Him. It’s as simple as opening up to a passage of scripture (preferably the Psalms), reading a few verses, and then praying what comes to mind based on the words just read. So Psalm 23:1 reads, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” How might we pray this verse?
You might thank the Lord for being your shepherd.
You might ask Him to shepherd your family that day, to guide, protect, and provide for them.
Pray that He will make your family members His sheep; that they will look to Him as their shepherd.
Ask Him to shepherd you through the decision you must make at your job.
Thank him for providing food like a good shepherd does.
See what we’ve done? We have prayed for the same old things (family, job, food) but in biblical, and therefore dynamic, terms.
When you’ve finished that verse, move on to the next one, and the next, and the next, until you run out of time or you run out of Psalm.
Sometimes the smallest of changes can have the most tremendous effects. A simple adjustment to our method of prayer can help us to pray, to pray more, and to pray more biblically-informed prayers—which stokes our intercessory fires.
Is your prayer life bland, boring, or non-existent? Pray the Bible, see your prayers grow, and know that your family, your friends, your job—and maybe even the food to your body—will be better off.
To learn about Dr. Whitney’s counsel regarding how to pray through all of the Psalms, listen to his messages here. The language above, including the example, reflects notes from Dr. Whitney’s teaching at this event.