When you read the Bible, it’s always a good idea to pray – before, during and after you open the Word of God. The Bible is a supernatural book and you’ll need supernatural help to read it and apply it.
The purpose of this article is to introduce you to how to pray biblically while reading the Bible. Specifically, what should you pray about? To answer that question, we turn to Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, and the passage of Scripture most devoted to Scripture, since almost every one of its 176 verses is about the Bible.
The psalmist includes many prayers in Psalm 119. Here are 3 great prayers to pray while reading the Bible. They are short and simple, but don’t let their brevity fool you – they are powerful and effective.
Some of the best prayers you can pray are the shortest. There are only two words in this prayer, but isn’t this a great way to start your conversation with God?
Of course, you should always let God know what it is you are thanking Him for, and that is what the psalmist does in Psalm 119:62 – “At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws.”
He is thanking God for His Word. Why not make this prayer a daily habit, for every day is a day of Thanksgiving for the Christian. We have so much for which to be thankful, and should not the Bible be at or near the top of that list?
Here’s yet another two-word prayer. And it’s the most common prayer of Psalm 119, for it appears 10 times in this chapter! (Check out verses 12, 26, 29, 33, 64, 66, 68, 108, 124, 135.) Isn’t that amazing?
The psalmist comes to God with an attitude of humility and dependence. He wants God to instruct Him. This is how we come to God, with faith in His ability to provide the guidance and direction we need to live a life pleasing to Him.
And he wants to be taught the Word of God – 7 times he says “teach me your decrees“; 2 times he says “teach me your law“; and on one occasion he says “teach me knowledge and good judgment”.
3.Give me understanding.
The third prayer is only three words. Again, a good prayer need not be long!
This prayer is similar to the “teach me” prayer, as the psalmist repeatedly wants God to be the source of his ability to understand what he reads in the Word.
The psalmist likes this prayer almost as much as the “teach me” prayer. Four times he prays, “Give me understanding” (verses 23, 73, 144, 169). And verse 27 says, “Cause me to understand the way of your precepts”. Note also verse 125, “Give me discernment that I may understand your statutes”.
One final comment about the “give me understanding” prayer – in verse 34, note how the psalmist wants understanding for a specific purpose. “Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart”.
He doesn’t ask for understanding for the sake of understanding. Comprehension is never an end in itself. Rather, he seeks to understand the Bible so that he can obey it.
My Christian friend, may this be how we approach God when we read the Bible. Let these three prayers be the cry of your heart as you spend time with Him in the Word.