Monday, May 5, 2008

The Practice of Prayer: Praying the Scriptures

God has given us His Word so that we may know what He wishes to say to us regarding His salvation for us.

What is our response? A simple definition of prayer is talking to God. It certainly is that, but it’s so much more. Paul says “pray constantly.” We can’t do that unless there’s much more to prayer than “talking to God.” The entire life of the Christian is prayer to the Heavenly Father.

So how do we pray? A “new” (or at least new to many of us) way is to pray the Scriptures. We don’t just read them. We don’t just study them. We read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them—and pray them. If we want to know what it is that we are to say to God, well, He tells us in His Word. There is nothing better we can respond to God with than what He has already given us in His Word.

We certainly should engage in the discipline of reading the entire Word of God over and over through our lives. But we should also learn to pray the Scriptures. An invaluable way of doing this is by learning by heart the core of the Scriptures: the Catechism. The Catechism is our guide for the practice of prayer; for praying the Scriptures.

The Catechism itself is texts of Scripture which give us the summation of the entire Word of God: The Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer. Luther’s Catechism gives “meanings” (the parts he wrote in which he says “What does this mean?” and then gives an “explanation” of each part of the Catechism) to the Catechism. These meanings help us see how the Catechism isn’t just something we memorize, but truly learn by heart, actually praying it, and thereby learning what it means to live life in Christ.

We’ll begin (within the next few days) with the Ten Commandments. Join me in the practice of prayer and praying the Scriptures.

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