How many of you all would say you have a dynamic, enjoyable prayer life? If you’re like me, it’s not really either one of those adjectives. Instead, it’s something you feel like you should do, but it’s not necessarily something you’re excited about. If you know me well, you know I’m not exactly an extrovert. I can do well in conversation, but I can’t carry a conversation if you’re more introverted than I am. So, when it comes to prayer, it can feel like I’m carrying the conversation, and so I tend to not pursue it as much as I know I should.
In family gatherings, I tend to sit and listen. When it comes to my relationship with God, I tend to do the same. Bible study comes easy because reading comes easy. Talking, not so much. Also, I feel like a lot of times I say the same old things about the same old things when I pray. When I was younger, and prayed way more consistently, my prayers were pretty rote. By that I mean I prayed every night but I basically prayed the same prayer every night. Being older, doing that feels, well, boring. This is a problem since prayer is essentially “talking to the most fascinating Person in the universe about the most important things in our lives,” as Donald Whitney puts it in Praying The Bible.
He goes on to say,
Indeed, why would people become bored when talking with God, especially when talking about that which is most important to them? Is it because we don’t love God? Is it because, deep down, we really care nothing for the people or matters we pray about? No. Rather, if this mind-wandering boredom describes your experience in prayer, I would argue that if you are indwelled by the Holy Spirit— if you are born again— then the problem is not you; it is your method (Kindle Loc. 102-105).
Whitney’s book then is offering readers a new method for praying. Well, it’s not really new. It basically comes down to using the words of Scripture to shape the language of your prayers. Whitney observes that we all tend to pray about the same half dozen things: our family, future, finances, work, Christian concerns, and current crises. Praying about these things isn’t bad or problematic in the least. But, because that’s what we tend to always pray about, we tend to often say the same things about these same things.
By praying through a passage of Scripture, specifically psalms and prayers of Paul, we are “taking words that originated in the heart and mind of God and circulating them through your heart and mind back to God” (Kindle Loc., 299-300). To put this into action, “you simply go through the passage line by line, talking to God about whatever comes to mind as you read the text. See how easy that is? Anyone can do that” (Kindle Loc. 305-306).
Praying The Bible is ultimately a pretty quick read. But, it’s probably the most important “short” book I’ve read in a long time. I immediately used the material in a chapel message at school and then put it into practice when we take prayer requests in class on Friday. I am implementing it into my devotional life and so far am enjoying Whitney’s approach to Psalms of the day. He suggests taking the Psalm that matches the day (so Psalm 11 on the 11th) and then add 30 (so Psalm 41), and repeat until you have 5 Psalms. You quickly scan each and then pray using those Psalms for however much time you have. It could be 5 minutes or 50. Regardless, you won’t exhaust the text of Scripture and you’ll avoid needless repetition in your prayer life. If you’re like me, this is something you’ll want to take, read, and implement sooner rather than later.
Read an excerpt
Visit the publisher’s page
Thanks to Crossway for the review copy!