Submitted by: Joe Putnam (Irvine, CA)
Recently, I’ve been enjoying an uplifted view of pray-reading, particularly that pray-reading means we’re praying over the words of the Bible and we’re using the words of the Bible as our prayer.
Based on the first definition, to pray-read is to pray over the words of the Bible that we’re reading. As we read any portion of the Word, we can turn that portion of the Bible into prayer, both for ourselves and for others. As we read Matthew 5:8 , for example, we can pray, “Oh Lord, my heart is not pure. Lord, purify my heart.” By praying in this way, we apply the words of the Bible to ourselves in order to experience what we’re reading.
We can also do this for others. Ephesians 6:17 speaks of taking “the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the Word of God,” and verse 18 goes on to say, “by means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit concerning all the saints.” What we see here is that this “by all means of prayer and petition” is not just for ourselves but is for all of the saints. As we read the Word, we can apply what we’re reading to others. Using the example above, we can pray, “Lord, purify ‘so-and-sos’ heart. Cause his/her heart to be pure and to be the good earth for your life to grow.” In doing so, we have the utterance and the way to pray for others and to help them to grow in the Lord.
However, pray-reading doesn’t stop here. Pray-reading also means to use the words of the Bible as our prayer. This can be in a prayer meeting, a table meeting, a home meeting, or when we’re alone with the Lord.
To do this, we use the words of the Bible as our prayer. We may be in a prayer meeting and pray, “Lord, bind the strong man and plunder his house. Release ‘so-and-so’ to be saved!” Or, “Oh Lord, strengthen ‘so-and-so’ with power through your spirit into his inner man and make your home in his heart. Make his heart the good earth and cause him to grow.” By praying this way, we use the words of the Bible as the utterance for our prayer and allow the Lord to carry out what He desires.
As we’ve seen, pray-reading can be richer than simply repeating the words of the Bible as a group prayer to the Lord. This can be considered ‘Pray-reading 101.’ We want to go on to experience 201, 301, 401, and 501. May the Lord grant us His mercy that we would all have a deeper experience of pray-reading by learning how to both pray over the words that we’re reading and to use the words of the Bible as our prayer to the Lord.