Last week I shared something I was going to try in order to help my prayer life. This first step was reading through passages of scripture and praying about some of the things that I read. (If you’d like to read the original post: Wanting to Grow in Prayer) The hope was that this would help me focus and know what to pray about when I might not know what I should be praying for. I chose to read through the books of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus to start off. I would read through one of the books each night and would pray through different parts as I read.
So, after close to a week of doing this, what did I notice?
I was praying about and for things I didn’t normally pray about. One of the easiest habits to fall into while praying is to pray for basically the same things each and every time. We pray for our families. We pray for ourselves. We pray for forgiveness. We’ve all got our list and that list is easy to fall into each time we pray to God.
In praying through a section of scripture, my mind was drawn to things that don’t tend to fall on my radar. I prayed for my need to be an example as Paul called Timothy to be one in 1 Timothy 4. I prayed for leaders based on 1 Timothy 2. Topics like teaching, money, fleeing wrong and pursuing right, and many others are brought to mind that likely aren’t normally in my thoughts during prayer.
So, if you are someone who finds yourself struggling to develop a broader prayer life; one that focuses outside of just the things that first come to mind about yourself and your family, this is a worthy exercise. It helps you read the text with a particular focus on how it applies to your life.
This next thing isn’t surprising but it’s still true: I’ve still got a long way to go. Even though this process has been good for me, I can still see the struggle I have in prayer and the room I have to grow. I still tend to focus my thoughts only on myself. I tend to lose focus pretty easily. My hope is that the more I continue this practice, the better I will be in overcoming those particular struggles.
In writing this article I started considering what I might do the same and differently over the next week in continuing this practice. Here are my recommendations to myself and any who would like to do this:
When possible, read through the whole book. If you want to plant on a particular passage and really pray about one idea, please do so. I think what is going to help me the most currently is praying over the themes and focuses that jump out over the whole book more than one particular section.
I also think that this time I will try to do my reading from several different translations. This last time I used the ESV for the most part and possibly the CSB as well. I will attempt to do the reading from the NASB, NIV and NKJV, in addition to the first two. While the translations will say essentially the same thing, the way they say it may spark something that really helps me consider another way to pray.
This next week my plan is to tackle the books of Colossians and Ephesians. These two books cover very similar issues so I’m hoping my prayers will be particularly focused since I will be coming back to similar ideas each day.
If you have any insights you’ve gained from this experience, feel free to share them!