Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
When I served as a pastor in local church ministry, every January I preached on the spiritual disciplines of Bible reading and prayer. Though these are not the only spiritual disciplines, they are two of the foundational God-ordained disciplines that are foundational for spiritual growth. It is true that any spiritual discipline can be undertaken for wrong reasons and with wrong motives. The solution to that is not to avoid the disciplines but to engage in them by the Spirit for the purpose of godliness (1 Tim. 4:8).
Yesterday I focused on the discipline of Bible reading, while today the emphasis is on prayer. One of the important things I learned when I was a seminary student at TEDS regarding prayer was the discipline of actually praying Scripture, praying the Word back to God. Furthermore, I also learned the importance of connecting as many of my prayer requests as possible to Scripture so that what I requested was formed and shaped by God and His Word, of learning to desire what God desired. These two emphases of praying have profoundly shaped how I think about and engage in prayer – communion with God the Father, through God the Son, by/in God the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:18).
Andy Naselli recently wrote a helpful article giving “12 Reasons You Should Pray Scripture,” which supports what I write above. I list below the reasons he gives for praying Scripture, while commending the whole article to you.
You should pray Scripture because God’s people in the OT and NT did.
You should pray Scripture because Jesus did.
You should pray Scripture because it glorifies God the Father.
You should pray Scripture because it helps you focus on what is most important.
You should pray Scripture because it helps you focus on praying.
You should pray Scripture because it is entirely truthful.
You should pray Scripture because it helps you pray confidently.
You should pray Scripture because it kindles your affections.
You should pray Scripture because it helps you express yourself appropriately.
You should pray Scripture because it keeps your prayers fresh and specific.
You should pray Scripture because it keeps your prayers in scriptural proportion.
You should pray Scripture because it helps you understand Scripture better.
A few questions of application: