After many years of diverse career experience, I was excitedly counting down the days until my retirement. I eagerly anticipated being in control of my schedule and time while enjoying a slower pace of life. I envisioned more days devoted to serving in ministry at my church and deepening relationships...
The Bible contains some marvelous prayers that were breathed out directly by the Spirit of God. You find them in the Psalms. Using these Psalms to shape your prayers is a great way to discover the help of the Holy Spirit.
The whole Bible was written as men were carried along by the Holy Spirit and, as you fill your mind with God’s Word, you will begin to think God’s thoughts after him. Your prayers will begin to reflect the purposes of God and play a role in bringing these about.
As you learn to form your prayers from the Bible, you will be praying in the Spirit because you are praying in a way that reflects the heart and mind of God.
Turning the Scriptures into prayers will help you keep your prayers fresh. Every day you will see something new as you read through the Scriptures, and you will be able to return God’s thoughts back to him in your prayers. As you soak yourself in the Scriptures, your mind will be guided into the thoughts of God.
Let’s take the first Psalm as an example.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers. (Ps. 1:1)
Reading these words, you could ask God to help you recognize advice that dishonors him and to resist following it. You could ask that God would keep you from cynicism. You could ask that he would help you to identify wrong paths and overcome the desire to pursue them. You could offer thanks for ways in which God has done this already. You could pray for colleagues who do not know or love Christ and ask God’s help to be a light to them.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. (Ps. 1:2)
Here you could ask God to increase your love for him and for his law. You could ask him to help you see the blessing of walking his own way and to give you greater joy, freedom, and wholeheartedness in doing so.
There are many benefits to this approach to prayer:
- First, it keeps your prayers from becoming dull and repetitive.
- Second, it keeps your prayers from becoming self-centered.
- Third, you can have confidence that what you are asking is in line with the mind and heart of God.
There is a great difference between Christian praying and eastern mysticism. Mysticism says, “Empty your mind so that you can pray.” Christianity says, “Fill your mind so that you can pray.” Let an open Bible guide your praying, and you will begin to discover what it means to pray in the Holy Spirit.
Rediscovering the Psalms will transform your prayer life. They will give you words that have been breathed out by the Holy Spirit, bringing balance and perspective to your prayers.