[Exclusive] Building a House of Prayer, Biblical Prayer, Series #1

Building a House of Prayer

Eighteen Prayer Models for Approaching God’s Throne

Author | Dr. Joshua Young-Gi Hong

<Biblical Prayer> Series #1

 

 

Scripture Prayer

“The Bible trains us how to pray.”—Judson Corwell

Scripture Prayer involves recitation of and meditation on Bible verses. Scripture Prayer leads us to pray correctly and gives strength to our prayer. The secret to praying well is to love the Word of God.

 

The Holy Place of Prayer

For Scripture Prayer, we have to get close to the Word of God. The Bible is the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Bible shows us the work of God’s salvation and the truth of salvation. It is the Book that shows us how the people of God should live. This is the authority that leads the faith of Christians. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105) The purpose of prayer is for us to change according to God’s will and receive the power to carry out God’s work.

Thus, we cannot pray apart from God’s Word.

 

The Holy Place of Prayer 1

The Word of God Teaches Us How to Pray

It is a sad reality that so many Christians do not know that the Bible is a prayer book. We can find so many prayers in the Bible. Abraham’s intercessory prayer (Genesis 18:22-33), Moses’ prayer (Exodus 33:12-16 and Psalm 97), Solomon’s prayer (1 Kings 8:22-53), Agur’s prayer (Proverbs 30:7-9), Nehemiah’s prayer (Nehemiah 1:4-11), the Apostle Paul’s prayer (Philippians 1:9-11), and others are examples that attest for the fact that the Bible is a great prayer textbook that teaches how to pray.

The Word of God invites us to the world of prayer, instructs us in prayer, inspires our prayer, and helps us in praying (Cornwall, 1990). The Word of God instills a strong desire to pray in our heart above all. In Daniel 9:1-4, it describes how strongly Daniel was determined to pray. “So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: ‘O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands . . .’” (3-4).

How did Daniel come to such a strong determination to pray to God? Daniel realized God’s plan and dispensation for Israel while reading Jeremiah. He said, “In the first year of his [Darius’] reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years” (2).

When Daniel realized the meaning of God’s Word through the Holy Spirit’s anointing, a fervent wish to pray to God was instilled in his heart. As an important leader of a nation, he was very busy. Nonetheless, he prayed regularly and had God’s Word nearby at all times. Much as Daniel prayed fervently to God while reading the Scriptures, we can have the heart to get closer to God when we read His Word. Thus, we must have a praying heart when we read the Bible. We cannot offer an earnest prayer to God if we are not deeply touched by the Word of God (Nam-Joon Kim, Prayer Master, Gyujang Cultural Company, 1999, p. 166).

 

The Holy Place of Prayer 2

The Word of God Instills Our Desire to Pray

For Christians, reading the Word of God should be made a routine regimen like eating a meal. We must place our spiritual priority in spiritual food (Deuteronomy 17:18-20). When we read the Word of God, we can receive spiritual nourishment (1 Peter 2:2-10, pure spiritual milk) and joy (Jeremiah 15:16). When reading the Word of God, it is important to make it a habit of regularity and priority. When we read the Bible and whenever the Holy Spirit touches us, we can use it as material for our prayer. For example, let’s suppose we have read Philippians 1:9-11, where the Apostle Paul prays for the spiritual growth of the saints at Philippi: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”

We can use these verses to pray by inserting our name or the names of people for whom we are praying—“And this is my prayer: that [Young-Gi’s] love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that [Young-Gi] may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”

This method is the most typical model of Scripture Prayer. Such prayer strengthens our prayer. We can use Scripture Prayer in many circumstances. When people are sick, we can rely on the Word of God, and pray reciting it. “And these signs will accompany [Young-Gi] who believe[s]: In [Jesus’] name [Young-Gi] will drive out demons . . .  [Young-Gi] will place [his] hands on sick people, and they will get well” (Mark 16:17-18).

When people are suffering from problems in life, we can also pray with the Word of God. “Come to me, [Young-Gi] who [is] weary and burdened, and I will give [Young-Gi] rest” (Matthew 11:28). “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your [Young-Gi’s] requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your [Young-Gi’s] heart[s] and mind[s] in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

We can use the Words of God to pray for another’s salvation. My father had not believed in Jesus for a long time. Thus, I used to pray for the salvation of my father from my childhood. My father used to hinder my mother’s Christian life. Therefore, especially when I was in a college, I was determined to pray for my father with a biblical Scripture. I used to insert my father’s name in Ephesians 1:17-19:

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give [my father] the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that [my father] may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of [my father’s] heart may be enlightened in order that [my father] may know the hope to which he has called [my father], the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength.”

This prayer rendered its efficacy soon. After a few years, my father received the Lord and now serves the church eagerly as a senior deacon. Likewise, when we apply the Word of God to all prayer topics, including the issue of salvation, the effort bears wonderful fruits.

One effective way to use Scripture Prayer is to use it when we pray for the spiritual blessing of someone. The praying for a spiritual blessing of someone is one of the highest forms of prayers. When many people of God pray, they earnestly seek their spiritual blessing from God. A Scripture Prayer that I like a lot is Ephesians 3:16-21. I substitute the name of the person I am praying for in this prayer:

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen [name] with power through his Spirit in [his or her] inner being, so that Christ may dwell in [name’s] hearts through faith. And I pray that [name], being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that [name] may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all [name may] ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within [name], to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

After praying like this, we don’t have to agonize over how to pray, and we give a wonderful intercessory prayer of the highest dimension.

 

The Holy Place of Prayer 3

Prayer through Meditation on God’s Word

Joshua 1:8 says: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” God commanded Moses’ successor, Joshua, to meditate on the Book of the Law day and night. Having engaged in the Canaan War and taking care of the Israelites, Joshua was a very busy person; and yet God gave him the command to meditate on His Word. This is not easy in today’s on-the-go culture. However, this could be the most blessed training. Meditating on the Word of God promotes spiritual growth and allows in-depth experience with God.

The Hebrew synonym for meditate is regurgitate. Having four stomachs, an ox regurgitates. When it eats grass, it swallows without chewing. At leisure, it regurgitates the grass and chews it to send it off to the stomach. Then, it regurgitates and chews again to pass onto the next stomach. At this time, the saliva and stomach acids are well mixed with it. Through this digestion process, the grass becomes the ox’s blood, flesh, and fat.

As the grass becomes nutrients for the ox when it is regurgitated and chewed several times, we can take in more spiritual nutrients from God’s Word when we hear or read the Word of God and meditate on it with prayer. We can choose one biblical verse that we want to meditate on every day. For example, the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it” (1 Timothy 6:6-7).

Now we can use this verse to meditate: “Oh, Lord, I was born alone in this land. Also, when I die, I cannot take anything with me. Why should I possess wealth, fame, and glory in this land? All I have was given by God. I thank you for giving me clothes and food. Please allow me a contented heart. Oh, Lord, please hold me so that I will not be greedy of worldly things. Let only the Lord be my hope.” If we pray like this, meditating on a Scripture verse or passage, we can keep growing spiritually.

 

The Holy Place of Prayer 4

Prayer through Reciting God’s Word

Reciting God’s Word changes the inner aspect of our spirit in revolutionary ways. Bob Garrison said, “The Word of God that has been recited repeatedly forms our frame of mind gradually.”

Recited Scripture changes our thinking pattern in accordance with God’s Word. It is for this reason that a church’s Sunday school lessons and discipleship training stress reciting God’s Word. I am leading a leadership training class currently and I give the task of reciting and memorizing two Bible verses a week.

Reciting the Bible is very important obviously, but it is not popular. I think it is because memorization is hard. The benefits of reciting the Word of God are numerous. Such benefits are explained in the following. First, it is useful when we counsel or advise someone (Proverbs 15:23). Second, it is useful when we confront Satan (Matthew 4:1-11). Third, it can be used to request God’s promises to be fulfilled in prayer (Ephesians 1:17-18; 3:16-21). Fourth, we can enjoy the grace of experiencing Rhema, the Word of God, which gives us courage, challenge, and consolation (Hong, Young-Gi, 1995: 15-148).

Reciting the Word of God is an excellent method to regain spiritual strength in distress or in the absence of the Bible. Jeremiah Denton was a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War for seven years. He spent most of his captivity in solitary confinement. He was one of the highest-ranking officials among the American prisoners and was tortured to the extreme so he would divulge military secrets. However, not only did he survive the ordeal but became a U.S. senator of Alabama.

How could Denton endure such agony, loneliness, and boredom? He believes that he was able to survive because he kept reciting Bible verses, which he had learned long before his captivity. The Word of God, which was kept inside him, was an invisible shield and weapon against the enemy’s attack. By meditating on the power of God, which held him and gave strength, he overcame the severe obstacles. The Bible verses he memorized became his prayer.

When we meditate on the Word of God and long for God while thinking of His promises and sincere work, our faith is strengthened and our fear diminished. David knew this very well. Many times, he thought of the greatness of God when he decided to seek refuge against Saul’s rage. At the same time, he praised, thanked, and prayed to God. Every time he did that, he gained strength. Likewise, when we apply our reading, listening, meditating, and reciting of God’s Word to our prayer, we can enter into the more mature world of prayer.

 

To be Continued…

 

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