If you’ve heard me preach you now that I like to encourage prayer, from passages in the Word. But the practical question is, “How do you do that?” And the simple question has a simple answer, “meditate on it!”
Let me give you an example. The example is from a Daily Devotional I recently read. The author is F. Hammarsten. In this day’s Devo he gives his meditations upon a famous “prayer passage,” namely 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22. I will quote it in the KJV because of Hammarsten’s wording of his meditation on the passage further down the post.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 (KJV)
16 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
19 Quench not the Spirit.
20 Despise not prophesyings.
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
The exciting part of the devotional occurs below where Hammarsten merely meditates on these passages. What I have done is simply lifted his words and placed them here. Again, these are NOT my words. I wish they were. They are his. All I did, was add a word here and a word there, to make his “meditations” into a very practical prayer. I think I changed all of ten (10) words:
Dear Lord, give me grace to listen when Thou speakest.
– Rejoice evermore. Lord, at once I begin to enumerate my reasons for not rejoicing, and I find that weeping would become me better than rejoicing. I feel like the child, when in sorrow or grief, thinks it strange that his mother tells him to be glad. But the mother knows better than the child whether he should weep or rejoice. It is Thy will O God, that I should rejoice. Thou permittest me, nay, Thou bidst me to rejoice. I thank Thee, Lord, for this gracious privilege.
– Pray without ceasing. Accordingly, dear Father, Thou permittest me always to be in close communion with Thee. Thou are ever ready to hear my faintest prayer when I am all undone. Continually and without ceasing I may approach the throne of grace; and this means that I may ever there abide, always sending up my prayer to Thee. This I will never forget; help me to remember it, O God.
– In everything give thanks. In every thing? This means that the bitter cup which Thou sendest me to drink has been prepared for me as a blessing. It means that all the power of the enemies is in Thy hand and that their attacks upon me shall come to naught. It means that even my own transgressions — if I confess them before Thee and truly repent — will be included in those things which, according to Thy Word, work together for good to them that love Thee (Romans 8:28). Thou art with me in trouble, Thou art present even in the clouds of darkness, and I will use my best endeavor to learn the difficult lesson of giving thanks the Thee for every thing.
– Quench not the Spirit. I realize the need of this warning Lord. At times Your Spirit is about to be quenched by reason of treasonable influences which find lodgment in my heart. The frosts of worldliness, the sultriness of worldly anxieties, and the poisonous winds of error, unbelief, and temptation have often threatened to quench the Spirit. I have, furthermore, forgotten to feed the sacred flame with the oil of God’s Word, and through failure to make a bold confession of my faith before men I have hindered the fire of the Spirit from burning brightly. I fear lest I may quench the Spirit. Thou knowest it, O Lord; help me in accordance with Thy promise.
– Despise not prophesyings. I understand so imperfectly the word of prophesy. It was designed to be my guide. Teach me, Lord, to understand it aright.
– Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. This means that I should examine all things in the light of Thy Word. Many things have I accepted without thus proving them; often I have cast aside the good and held fast to the evil. But Thou, O Lord, art my lamp; Thou wilt illumine my understanding.
– Abstain from all appearance of evil. Father, I want to abstain from the evil which appears innocent as well as from the evil which is manifest. Lord, I want to abstain from the evil within myself, the evil in others, all evil. I do not want to temporize with it, but rather, flee from it. Preserve me, O God: for in Thee do I put my trust. I have said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord: I have no good beyond Thee (Psalm 16:1, 2 R.V.). Amen
He brilliantly shows us how to pray Scripture Back to God.