Memorizing portions of the Bible gives substance to prayer. In this special Fighter Verses post, David Michael encourages one generation to pray biblically-shaped prayers for the next.
Biblical prayers for the next generation resonate with the heart of God’s people and often inspire vision and hope as we pray them. In John 15, Jesus makes an important connection between His Word and our prayers, as well as a breathtaking offer: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7). Our big prayers for the next generation and the boldness we have in praying them stand on Truth revealed in the Bible. I am convinced that one of the ways the Holy Spirit has already helped us for those times when “we do not know what to pray for as we ought” (Romans 8:26) is by giving us a Bible filled with words of Truth and glorious promises that we can pray.
Spurgeon’s words to his students are instructive: “Be constant in reading the Word and meditation thereon…The sure words of Scripture are the footsteps of Jesus imprinted on the soil of mercy—follow the track and find Him. The promises are cards of admission not only to the throne room, the mercy-seat, and the audience-chamber, but to the very heart of Jesus. Look aloft to the sky of revelation, and thou wilt find a constellation of promises which shall guide thine eye to the Star of Bethlehem. Above all, cry aloud when you read a promise—Remember Thy word unto Thy servant, on which Thou has caused me to hope” (The Saint and His Savior: or, The Progress of the Soul in the Knowledge of Jesus, p. 147).
The reason D. L. Moody and countless others were so moved by Spurgeon’s prayers had less to do with Spurgeon and more to do with the fact that his prayers were so saturated with the Word of God.
Even when praying with no one but God listening, my hope and confidence rise when I am praying the Word of God. Praying with my Bible open and letting prayer rise from reading God’s Word strengthens my faith. I have also discovered that having portions of the Bible memorized gives substance to both my private and public prayer. Also, since I am not naturally articulate, it is so helpful, especially in those spontaneous moments when I am called upon to pray, to have the words of my prayer flow from something that I have memorized.
By encouraging biblical prayers, I am not suggesting we should just open our Bibles and start quoting verses. When we abide in Christ and in His Word, our biblically informed, biblically minded, biblically shaped prayers will come naturally without necessarily quoting any particular portion of Scripture.
In an effort to pray “biblical prayers,” I sometimes hear people say to the Lord something like, “I thank You for Your Word that says the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I thank You, Father, that against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). Taking such a prayer at face value, this person is expressing gratitude to God for a particular portion of Scripture that is meaningful. There is certainly nothing wrong with expressing gratitude to God in this way. Sometimes, however, I sense the person is saying less to God in those moments and more to the people who are listening.
Spurgeon warns his young students to “pray to God right through the prayer, and never fall to talking or preaching—much less, as some do—scolding and grumbling” (Lectures to My Students: Complete & Unabridged, p. 58). “Let the Lord alone be the object of your prayers. Beware of having an eye to the auditors; beware of becoming rhetorical to please the listeners. Prayer must not be turned into an oblique sermon” (Ibid, p. 55).
Paul ends his list of various parts of spiritual armor by identifying the one offensive weapon we have been given for the fight, namely “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”(Ephesians 6:17). Even though the sword completes the list, Paul finishes the sentence by adding, “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:18). And he continues the thought: “To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:18-20).
We have been given a mighty sword with which to fight. Whether we consider prayer a powerful strategy or another weapon for the battle, the combination of the Word of God with prayer is a powerful force for advancing the glorious purposes of our King, for whom we are all ambassadors. May God grant us every grace we need to be alert with all perseverance and boldness in prayer and supplication so that the next generation might know the mystery of the Gospel, “the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God” (Psalm 78:6-7).
This post is excerpted from Big, Bold, Biblical Prayers for the Next Generation. Visit Truth78.org/prayer to download a free digital copy and to join a community of people committed to praying for the next generation.