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Praying with God's Word

I’ve been saying formal prayers since I was sticking blueberries up my nose, barely old enough to string together more than a few words. But I’m still learning new prayer rhythms and reflecting on how I can “pray without ceasing.” 1 Thess. 5:17

I am blessed to have been born into a faithful family with a rich prayer life where prayer was modeled by parents, grandparents, and siblings.  Over the years, I have developed new rhythms but none of them seem to stick. Too often, I find myself forgetting to pray way more often than I’d like to admit. I’d land in seasons of frequent prayer, especially when big things were happening. But then I’d settle into dry seasons, usually when life was calm. I longed to be more intentional about prayers!

I am thankful that my salvation is not dependent on me checking the “prayed today” box in my planner. I also know that God is not evaluating how “good” or creative my prayers might be. He delights in all our prayers!

But recently, I’m focusing on one personal prayer struggle. When I pray spontaneous prayers, they sound the same. The repetitive nature of my prayers seems feeble or lackluster. I long for more oomph. And where is the best place to find that oomph? Of course, in God’s Word.

John Piper writes, “If I try to pray for people or events without having the word in front of me guiding my prayers, then several negative things happen. One is that I tend to be very repetitive . . . . I just pray the same things all the time. Another negative thing is that my mind tends to wander.” That’s me. Is that you?

One way to guide our prayers is to pray the Word of God back to God. Christ did this, and we would be blessed to follow His practice. The Psalms is a beautiful start.

One way is to insert your name or the name of a loved one into the Psalm or passage. Sometimes I will paraphrase the passage and meditate, allowing quiet for the Holy Spirit to get through the cobwebs in my crazy brain. 

Lord, You still bless me even though I’m not always walking in Your way. I sometimes sit with scoffers. I sometimes don’t speak up when people speak poorly of You. And fool that I am, I don’t always delight in Your law, and I certainly don’t meditate on it day and night. Help me to meditate on it more. Teach me how to love Your Word more each day.

As I pray this way, I am also reading and inwardly digesting Scripture. What a joy!

One Visual Faith® coach, Jenny Long, suggests using Psalm 103:1-5 as a prayer for healing. Another coach, Carolyn Bira, invites us to a “breath prayer” where you repeat a short passage which can be said in one breath. Her current breath prayer: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on me, a sinner.” (A paraphrase of John 1:29). She also encourages using Colossians 1: 9-14 as a good verse to fill in the blanks with your own name or the name of a friend or loved one. 

If you are also looking for new rhythms in your praying life, consider opening your Bible as another way to “be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12 

Beth Foreman is a Visual Faith® Coach and contributing writer for Visual Faith® Ministry.

This is an excerpt from a blog post originally published at

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May 09

Thank you Beth for your own story of prayer 'hiccups' and the encouragement for getting unstuck!


Apr 18

Your words truly explain my struggle over the years. I finally decided recently that my many brief prayers thoughout the day are ok! But, I need quiet and calm to find the words for more in depth prayer I come! Thank you, Beth!


Another stumbling block well presented and well thought out. I love the idea of praying the scripture, but have never given it a real chance. This is a good day to start!

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