One way to teach and encourage prayer is to model it for others. It's not done with a mindset of, "Hey, look at what I can do," but is done out of a humble desire to love and encourage others to pray and practice a similar manner of prayer within their own devotions and ongoing personal relationships with God through Jesus Christ.
Some ways to begin this practice of prayer include:
* Prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to bring your attention to specific points or details as you read.
* Read through the chapter, or section of Scripture, two or more times. You may want to jot down specific points, ideas, or concepts that the Holy Spirit points out as you read (even ones that may seem unrelated to the text as they come to mind).
* Ask the Holy Spirit to help you pray through the Scripture the final time you read through it. Then begin praying through as you read.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to show you opportunities to pray with prayers of praise, thanksgiving, confession, petition (asking), and more.
Today, we read Hebrews 5.
Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. And no one takes this honor on himself, but he receives it when called by God, just as Aaron was.
In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,
“You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”
And he says in another place, “You are a priest forever,in the order of Melchizedek.”
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Warning Against Falling Away
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
Father, I praise you for being God of all. In your many perfections, you display your perfect wisdom. You watch and engage your creation and call forth your children to come before you in prayer. Thank you for calling each Christian man, woman, and child to pray! Although we no longer sacrifice animals to atone for our sins, we do offer you a sacrifice of praise, for you are worthy to receive it always, in all places, and times. I worship you alone. Thank you, Jesus, for being the perfect sacrifice for all my sins, past, present, and future. You alone are worthy and capable!
I confess that I seldom deal gently with those ignorant or who are going astray. I have established a pattern of quickly judging others in my heart and impatiently relegating them as a waste of my time. I am weak, as they are, but fail to invite you to do what pleases you within me or through me. Lord, forgive me for my arrogance and pride. Renew my mind and heart by your Word and Spirit. I long to obey and follow you humbly. I desire to humbly lead and help others to know you, and know you deeply.
Jesus, I thank you for refusing to take glory in yourself or in the power you received from the Father. You perfectly glorified your Father, and He did mighty things through you. Help me to do the same; to look to the Father- to bring Him glory in all He does in and through me; taking none for it for myself. Thank you, Father, for calling me one of your many children. Oh, how I long for your glory to be reflected from me toward you and others! Guide me by your Word and Spirit accordingly!
Father, I also confess that the words, obedience, and suffering, are not popular words in our time. But Jesus, I praise you for living, and modeling, the importance of obedience following suffering. You've promised that we will suffer for our faith in you. Help me to hold my focus on you in times of suffering, as well as during times when it seems I'm not suffering. I desire to follow you, and all you perfectly modeled during your physical time on earth. You are my Rock, my Source, my Strength, regardless of circumstance!
Lord, I desire to consume the appropriate food within the teaching of your Word. Please reveal to me what to read, learn, take to heart, apply, and more in this latest step in my walk with you. I ask that you would do similar for my brothers and sisters in Christ. Help us to accurately assess, and accept, where we are, regardless of how much or little of our lives we've walked with you. We desire you, and to grow in you alone. Teach us to pray, and lead us in your way everlasting.
Father, I continue to exalt you above all; all that could distract me from your presence or attention; all that would seek to tear me away from you. And as I exalt you, I desire that many more would join in doing so. You are perpetually worthy to be exalted; lifted up in our hearts and lives, in our countenance, in the outward living of our moment-to-moment lives, and more. Equip us to humbly yield to you in all manners of our lives.
I worship you alone. In Jesus' name, Amen.
What you've read is a model of how it's possible to pray a portion of Scripture. It's an excellent way to read, pray, and grow in your study of the Word and your personal walk with God.
You may find that when you pray Hebrews 5 (or any portion of Scripture) on your own, that your prayer and praise may look much different than mine. Guess what? It probably will, and in my opinion, it should! Your relationship with God is different from mine, and any other Christian's! Talk to God with your own voice and heart. He made them, gave them to you, and desires your praise, thanksgiving, worship, petition, and more through all He's given you.
This is also true if you practice praying Scripture with a spouse or friend. Scripture is an excellent foundation to pray from- whether individually, with a spouse, or together as a family!
Attempt this form of prayer once or more this week, and let me know your impressions.
Also, if there's a portion of Scripture you'd like to see modeled in prayer, or would like to model in prayer yourself, please email me.
Thank you for reading the Word, and praying today!