A Simple Prayer for Bible Reading
We need God to do a miraculous work when we read the Bible. So we must pray. In chapter nine of When I Don’t Desire God, John Piper introduces a memorable and helpful acronym for what to pray: I. O. U. S.
Incline my heart to you, not to prideful gain or any false motive. (Psalm 119:36)
Open my eyes to behold wonderful things in your Word. (Psalm 119:18)
Unite my heart to fear your name. (Psalm 86:11)
Satisfy me with you steadfast love. (Psalm 90:14)
An unfortunate side effect of repeatedly praying the same prayer is that, over a period of time, it can lose its sense of pertinence. One way to keep it fresh is to unpack the content with language that expresses what you mean in a new way.
For example, here’s an amplification of the I. O. U. S. prayer:
Incline my heart to you, not to prideful gain or any false motive. That is, focus my affections and desires upon you, and eradicate everything in me that would oppose such a focus.
Open my eyes to behold wonderful things in your Word. That is, let your light shine and show me what you have willed to communicate through the biblical authors.
Unite my heart to fear your name. That is, enthrall me with who you are.
Satisfy me with your steadfast love. That is, fulfill me with the fact that your covenant love has been poured out on me through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
As we continue hide God’s word in our hearts each week, let’s really ask that he do this inclining, opening, uniting, and satisfying work every time the passage comes to mind.