Sometimes people say that prayer is a two-way conversation, where God speaks to us and we speak to God. But the Bible never uses the word “prayer” in this way. Prayer is simply when we talk to God.
Others think of reading the Bible as a conversation, in which God speaks to us, and we bring our own meanings to the text so that in some sense we find a voice, too. That’s not right, either.
We have a conversation when we hear God speak to us in the Bible and then we speak to him in prayer.
There’s a vivid description of that dynamic in Nehemiah 8–9. For seven days Ezra the scribe read the words of the Law of God (part of the Old Testament) to the people. As they heard God speaking to them, the people were deeply moved to sadness and to joy; there were tears as well as rejoicing and great feasting. And in response to what they heard, they poured out their hearts in prayer to God.
In our churches, though, the things that we share “for prayer” at the end of an evening’s Bible study are often completely unrelated to the passage we’ve been studying. While it’s true that nothing is too small to bring before our heavenly Father, it’s a shame when the tiny things—the health of someone’s neighbor’s dog, for instance—take over, and we forget the amazing truths that God has been speaking to us minutes before.
Get into the habit of praying these kinds of prayers:
- “Sorry for X, which your Word has shown to be wrong in my life.”
- “Thank you for Y, which you have shown us this evening.”
- “Please, by your Spirit, give me power to change Z in response to what you have been saying.”
Learn more about Dig Deeper.
by Nigel Benyon and Andrew Sach from Dig Deeper: Tools for Understanding God's Word.