The idea of praying the promises of God sounds lovely. If you are like me, it doesn’t take much to convince you that you need to pray.
And praying Scripture? Well one can’t really improve upon praying the very words of God, so praying promises is sort of a no brainer.
In theory, yes. In practice, however, maybe not so much.
Last month, I asked nearly 2,000 people what obstacles they faced when it comes to praying the promises of God. I was surprised to find every single response fell into one of five reasons. My inbox filled with messages from men and women saying they all encountered the same five roadblocks.
One of the greatest obstacles was simply knowing how to pray a promise.
“I’m stumped!” one lady said. Those words summarized it for many others as well.
Despite all our talk and great intentions to pray God’s word, a great many of us simply don’t know how to take a scripture and pray it back to God. I understand! When we sit down with the Bible to pray it, we sort of start scratching our heads.
How do we do this again? Do we just read the verse out loud and pretend it’s a prayer? Do we put it into our own words? Do we agree with the words in our heart? How exactly are we supposed to pray God’s word in a way that is meaningful and authentic?
I personally believe this is something best caught from another person in real life. Hearing parents, pastors, teachers, friends or godly examples pray God’s word is one of the best ways to learn how to do it.
Sadly, many of us do not have the opportunity to learn from others, for a variety of reasons. So today I’d like to share a simple 3 step approach to praying a promise. This is the way I pray God’s promises.
This isn’t the only way to pray, of course; I’m sharing this method simply to give an idea of how to begin praying scripture. Once you get the hang of looking for a few things in the verse and articulating them back to God, you are good to go!
3 Steps to Praying a Promise from God’s Word
1. Read the promise and articulate it in your own words.
Sometimes this step is simple. Other times you’ll need to dig a little bit to really get a grasp on the promise. When I find myself struggling to articulate the verse in my own words, I ask a few basic questions, such as,
“What does this scripture say about God (who He is, what He’s like, what He has done, or what He will do)?”
“What does this scripture say about me?”
From these questions and answers, articulate the promise of the passage in your own words. Be sure to write it down!
2. Next, apply the promise to your particular situation/need.
God wants us to take His promise and place our circumstances or feelings within the framework of His word. My favorite example of someone who did this is Abraham. Romans 4:13, 18-21 says this:
“For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants was that he would inherit the world.” (That’s the promise)
“He considered his own body to be already dead (since he was about 100 years old) and also considered the deadness of Sarah’s womb, without weakening in the faith.” (That’s his circumstance)
“He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, because he was fully convinced that what God had promised He was also able to perform.” (He placed his circumstance within the framework of, and subjected it to, the promise of God.)
Abraham took his situation (Sarah’s barrenness, their age, both as good as dead) and placed it under subjection to the larger authority of the promise of God.
Daily, we can choose to do the same thing! Once you have a promise articulated from step one, the second step is to place your particular situation within that promise. I suggest you write this part out as well 🙂
3. Verbalize the promise OF God back TO God.
This is where we choose to believe God’s word over our circumstance and tell Him so. We choose to say, “Lord, I believe what YOU say is true, not what my circumstances or feelings say.” This verbal affirmation is what II Corinthians 1:20 refers to as an “amen.”
This is an important step because it is a decision of our will to give greater weight to the word of God than to our circumstances or feelings. This step involves expressing that choice of faith verbally. Many places in scripture instruct us to speak what we believe aloud with our mouths.
So let’s do it! If you’d like to begin praying the promises of God, an easy way to do so is to join the 40 Day Praying the Promises Challenge here.
This challenge will walk you through praying promises from God’s word. Hope to see you there!
Arabah Joy is wife to Jackson, adoptive and biological mom to 4 little ones, and missionary to East Asia. Her adventures span far and wide, from eating pig snouts to giving birth in three different Asian countries. Mostly though, she is a broken woman redeemed by grace. She has written several books including the 40 day devotional, Trust Without Borders. You can find out more and connect with her at ArabahJoy.com.