A few months ago, one of the wonderful shepherds at PV suggested a book to me by Beth Moore, entitled "Praying God's Word". This book is about overcoming strongholds in your life through praying scripture-prayers. It is a wonderful book, divided up into different chapters that deal with different issues that a lot of people face, and it is filled with scripture after scripture, prayer after prayer written to help a person to overcome whatever it is that they are facing.
Beth teaches that prayer and God's Word are two of the most powerful tools that we, as Christians, have to help us both draw near to God and fend off the attacks of Satan. Because these two, prayer and scripture, are so powerful, when we combine them together, Beth compares that to tying two sticks of dynamite together. It can be explosively effective in our lives.
This idea intrigued me because, although i've got an ever-increasing love for scripture, prayer is usually more difficult for me, especially if I don't have something specific to say or to pray for. For example, if I wanted to pray for this wonderful elder (or any of them, for that matter!) that recommended this book, I wouldnt have much specific to say, beyond asking God to be with them, give them wisdom in making decisions, etc. That's okay, I suppose, but for me, I can only say/pray the same thing so many times before I feel like I'm just talking to myself.
However, taking Beth's advice, I can instead pray something to the effect of, "Please help _____ to be a shepherd of Your flock that is under his care, serving as an overseer—not because he must, but because he is willing, as You want him to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to him, but being an example to us as his flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, Lord, please give him the crown of glory that will never fade away." In such a way, I feel like Beth's suggestion of praying scripture has added substance to my prayers. It's given me words to say when I didn't have the words myself. More and more often now, whenever I feel like I need to talk to God, I feel like I need to go to His Word.
With that in mind, I went today, looking for some prayers of thanksgiving. Below are some of the verses that spoke to my heart, and I wanted to share them, along with the idea of praying God's word. If you've not done it before, give it a try sometime. It'll change the way you talk to our Father.
"Blessed are You, O Lord God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name. But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given you."--I Chron. 29:10-14
"Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me; O Lord, be my helper. You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, that my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord, my God, I will give thanks to You forever."--Ps. 30:10-12
"Come, let us sing with joy to the Lord. Let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. For the Lord is a great God, the great King above all gods. in His hands are the depths of the earth. The mountain peaks belong to Him, the sea is His, He made it. And His hands formed the dry ground."--Ps. 95:1-5
"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so...Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men! For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good."--Ps. 107:1-2, 8-9
"I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I jofully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"--Rom. 7:21-25
"Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."--I Cor. 15:55-57
"Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place."--II Cor. 2:14
"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"--II Cor. 9:15
"Give thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."--Col. 1:12-14