For the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing devotionals from the book Let’s Pray: Talking to God with the Words of the Bible, by Dr. James Banks, who serves as a pastor at Peace Church in Durham, North Carolina and is a regular writer for Our Daily Bread.
In this short book, we are reminded that the prayers of the Bible are an amazing gift from God and they have so much to teach us. They help us understand how our Bible heroes like Jesus, Job, Mary, Moses, David, Samuel, and many others talked with God. These prayers can also help us talk to God. Just as Jesus used several of David’s prayers in his final moments on the cross in Matthew 27, we can find the prayers of scripture.
This is what Alex and Stephen Kendrick talk about in their book The Battle Plan for Prayer in the chapter called ‘Praying the Word.’ In the prayers of scripture, we find words that can help carry our thoughts and emotions to God. When we use the prayers from God’s word, humbly and expectedly, to encourage us in our own prayers, we can open our hearts and lives to deeper faith, renewed strength, blessings and God’s power. God invites us closer to him through the prayers of the Bible.
Today we’re going to share a couple of prayers to praise and honor God. This is what Dr. Banks writes: true praise is praise with an active faith that is greater than just emotion. It is a daring thing. It challenges us to reach for something beyond ourselves, giving ourselves up to God.
Sometimes praising God will not come naturally to us because we all struggle with self. And self is like a river…it can have a dangerous current that runs strong and deep in our hearts. Yes, the Bible tells us to always be joyful to never stop praying, and that it’s God’s will that I be thankful in all circumstances, but we all have times that we just don’t feel like it.
Still, by the grace of God we can learn that delight is not just something we FEEL, it’s something that we DO. God’s word commands us to take delight in him in Psalm 37:4. “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
This command confronts us in our complacency and calls us to a higher way of thinking. This isn’t easy, because it costs us something. But even though it begins as work, it doesn’t end that way. God never leaves us where we are. With every effort we make to draw near to Him, we’re promised that he will come close to us.
That promise comes in James 4:8, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
We should dare to delight in God…and not only will he give us the desire of our hearts, he becomes it. So over the next few weeks will be sharing verses that are the spirit-inspired praises of God’s people. We can make these our own when we dive in and pray these prayers will discover the God is moving to meet us.
Our first prayer from the word comes from Exodus 15 verses 6 & 7.
“Your right hand, O Lord, is glorious in power. Your right hand, O Lord, smashes the enemy. In the greatness of your majesty, you overthrow those who rise against you. You unleash your blazing fury; it consumes them like straw.”
Thanks for listening!
– Joe and Todd