This article is part of the How to Study the Bible with Jen Wilkin series.
Study the Bible with Prayer
Prayer is the means by which we implore the Holy Spirit to take up residence in our study time. Without prayer, our study is nothing but an intellectual pursuit. With prayer, it is a means of communing with the Lord. Prayer is what changes our study from the pursuit of knowledge to the pursuit of God himself. You may be familiar with the acronym PART as a memory prompt for the key elements of prayer:
Praise: glorify God for who he is and what he has done.
Admit: confess to God where you have fallen short.
Request: ask God to forgive your sin and to meet your needs.
Thank: give thanks to God for who he is and what he has done.
Let’s consider how to incorporate prayer into our study efforts—before, during, and after we study—using PART as our guide. You probably already have a practice of everyday prayer that involves the elements of PART. Your study time offers a unique additional opportunity to tailor your prayers specifically to correspond to the ministry of the Word. Your prayer time may be long or short. It may be intermittent as you study. Recognize the benefit of praying at all stages of your study, but give yourself room to incorporate it as you are led to do so. Pray from a sincere desire, not from a sense of obligation to “do things the right way.” If you lack the desire to pray, confess that to the Lord and ask him to increase that desire within you as you study
Prayer is what changes our study from the pursuit of knowledge to the pursuit of God himself.
- Pray before coming to the text.
- Pray during time in the word when something is confusing or boring to you.
- Pray after asking the Lord to help you retain the word.
- Pray using the language of the text you’ve been reading.
- After working through the text yourself, use your study Bible to learn from the notes and teachers, and compare what you’ve learned with what they say. Use discernment.
- Find other people with whom you can study the Bible.
This article is adapted from Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin.
To start this 5-day devotional via your browser or as a daily email, simply visit ESV.org.
Download a bookmark outlining the 6 Ps of Sound Bible Study here.
Popular Articles in This Series
Every good endeavor should be done with purpose. Without a clear sense of purpose, our efforts to do a good thing well can flounder.
A good literacy-builder honors the learning process by moving through three distinct stages of understanding: comprehension, interpretation, and application.
We must always keep in view that each of us individually is called to love God with our minds.
After establishing what the text says and what the text means, we are finally in a position to ask how it should impact us.