In a recent conversation with a friend, she told me about her struggle to get beyond the “help this person here and that person there” form of praying. She longed to go deeper. I shared with her some techniques in turning scripture into prayer, and looking to scripture for insights on how to pray for people, and for ourselves. When we look to scripture to frame our prayers it helps us in ways that move beyond the obvious physical and circumstantial needs of those for whom we pray to those deeper spiritual and eternal purposes and consequences. It is a practice that I’ve found beneficial for decades now, and turns scripture into dialog, where God speaks in His word, and we respond through prayer.
There’s a handy bookmark I’ve given out in some of the teaching sessions I’ve done on prayer which asked these following questions to assist in Turning a Passage to Prayer:
1. A reason to praise God?
2. A reason to give thanks?
3. A promise to believe? (Ask for God to fulfill it in you or others.)
4. A command to apply to our lives? (Ask God to enable you to obey Him.)
5. An example to follow? (Ask God to help you develop the discipline.)
6. A truth to accept? (Ask God to apply it in your life.)
7. A sin to confess?
8. An error to correct?
9. An attitude to change?
10. A nudge of the Spirit to intercede for someone?
11. A need we sense?
12. A prayer we can echo?
13. A special message from the Spirit to our heart?
14. Something that draws us closer to the Lord?
15. A Kingdom prayer to pray?
These questions are a great way to start to figure out how to use the scriptures as starting points for prayer. The scriptures which follow are excerpted from a list I made a few years ago to pray for my children and those I mentor/disciple/counsel, entitled “Lifting them Up—Scriptural prayers for Spiritual Growth.” These are phrased in petitionary language to aid in their use. The first section is taken from Romans, and is designed to be an example of how to utilize other scriptures as petitions—looking for commands, principle and promises to pray.
Because both the Old and New Testament are such gold mines of powerful petitions, I have included examples from other scriptures, as well. My hope is these will open your eyes to new ways to pray the power of the Word into your own life and the lives of those for whom you pray.
Lifting them Up—Scriptural Prayers for Spiritual growth
• May sin will not be allowed to reign in their mortal bodies so that they obey its evil desires. Romans 6:12
• May they not offer the parts of their bodies to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer themselves to You, as instruments of righteousness. Romans 6:13
• May sin not be their master. Romans 6:14
• May they remember that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
• May they have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. Romans 8:5
• May they not have sinful minds which are hostile to You and will not submit to You. Romans 8:6
• May they learn that their current sufferings are not to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in them. Romans 8:18
• I plead Your promise over them that Your Spirit will help them in their weakness, will intercede for them with groans which words cannot express. May He search their hearts and intercede in accordance with Your will. Romans 8:26
• Help them to realize they are more than conquerors through You who loves us. Romans 8:37
• Help them to deeply know that nothing can separate them from Your love. Romans 8:3; 35, 36-9
• Teach them that their salvation does not depend on man’s desire or effort, but on Your mercy. Romans 9:16
• May their zeal always be based on knowledge. Romans 10:2
• Please remove and/or do not permit any spirit of stupor which would not allow their eyes cannot see truth and their ears cannot hear Your truth. Romans 11:8
• May they never stumble beyond recovery. Romans 11:11
• May they not be ignorant, conceited or hardened. Romans 11:25
• May they present themselves to You daily, in body, mind and spirit, as living sacrifices—making the choice daily to yield to You. Romans 12:1
• May they not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world; but be transformed by the renewing of their minds. So they will be able to test and approve Your will. Romans 12:2
• May they not think too highly of themselves, but rather with sober judgment—relying on Your for the measure of faith You give them. Romans 12:3
• May they use their gifts in proportion to this measure of faith. Romans 12:6
• May they love sincerely, hate what is evil, cling to what is good, be devoted to other believers in brotherly love, honor others above themselves, never lack in zeal, but have a spiritual fervor in serving You. Romans 12:9-11
• Help them to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
• Help them to be able to bless those who persecute them and not to become bitter or curse them. Romans 12:14
• May they not repay evil for evil, but do what is right. May they not take revenge, but leave room for Your justice and wrath. Romans 12:17, 19
• May they not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
• Help them put aside all deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light, and clothe themselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 13:13
• May they not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature, or indulge in impurity, dissension and jealousy. Romans 13:14
• May You, as our God of hope, fill them with joy and peace as they trust in You, so that they will overflow with hope by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
• May they see You have filled them with Your goodness, completed their knowledge, and made them competent to instruct one another. I plead this promise on their behalf. Romans 15:14
• May they be tested and approved in Christ, chosen in the Lord. Romans 16:10, 13
• Keep them from smooth talking flatterers who would seek to deceive them from the truth. Romans 16:18
• When they have stumbled, may they be refined, purified and made spotless until the day of Christ Jesus. Daniel 11:35
• May they see themselves as God’s temple, and keep themselves holy, pure, devoted, honored. 1 Corinthians 3:15, 6:19-20.
• Because the kingdom of God is not about talk but about power, may they not just give lip service to truth, but walk in truth as the Spirit empowers them. 1 Corinthians 4:20
• May their sorrow not be a worldly sorrow that is full of shame and death, but a godly sorrow marked by true repentance and abundant life. 2 Corinthians 7:10
• Help them to stand in the reality that by Your power You raised Jesus from the dead and You will raise us, too. 1 Corinthians 6:14
• May they not run aimlessly and thus be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:26-27
• May they look to You and be radiant that they will never be covered with shame. Psalm 34:5
• May they taste and see the You are good—so good that no earthly delights can tempt them away from You. Psalm 34:8
• Give them new hearts and new spirits. Remove from them the stony places in their hearts—any place that is unyielded or hardened to You.Put Your Spirit in them and move upon them to follow Your decrees and be careful to keep Your laws. Ezekiel 36:22,26-27
• If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Exodus 33:13
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries