A writer's hack that works for prayer
“May the God of hope
fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in him
so that you may overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Sometimes I don’t know how to pray. I don’t even know where to start. But I’m learning. Recently I stumbled onto a concept that has really helped me in my prayer life. I’ve been using the Bible as a prompt. This, of course, isn’t a new idea at all. Jesus prayed scriptures (Lk 4:16,17)- lots of people do.
Using scripture to pray is one of the basics. I’ve prayed the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6: 9-13) more than any other prayer in my life- but it didn’t really occur to me to use other scriptures as prayer prompts, not until recently. The light bulb didn’t turn on until I started I started writing daily. That was when I needed to develop more discipline-and when I had to find some hacks- to help me get the words flowing.
The discipline I’m learning through writing, and some of the same hacks that I use to get the words flowing onto a page, work great with prayer, too.
Prompts are helpful for writing when I don’t know where to start. Starting seems to be the hardest part. Once I get going, I’m usually fine. When I write, I often begin with a question in my mind that I want to answer. The first thing I’ll do is a search for a Bible verse or a quote that pertains to my topic- and then I use it as my prompt. When I find the prompt, I’ll type it onto my blank screen, and see where it takes me. The prompt doesn't always stay in my final draft, but it gets me going. It’s the old, just start writing hack- and it works. One word leads to another, and another…and before you know it, the ideas are flowing. It works for prayer, too.
When you feel like you’re at a loss for how to start praying, you can do a Google or an index search for a Bible verse that pertains to a topic or question that's on your mind. The verse, from Romans 15:13, that is quoted at the beginning of this post, was found with a simple search of “using the Bible to help us pray”. I used it as the writing prompt for what you’re reading right now- and I also used it as a prayer. Writing and prayer are both disciplines, and sometimes, they can both leave us at a loss for words. Just as it is with writing, sometimes we need to just start praying- and see where it takes us. If we need a prompt to get the words flowing, we can go to the perfect source- right to God’s word.
Romans 15:13 is a prayer that Paul wrote for the Roman church. I can use that prayer too -as is- to pray for people. I prayed it for you, dear readers. It’s also okay to personalize the scriptures for prayer. For example, if I want to pray Romans 15:13 for myself, here’s how it might sound…
God of hope, fill me with all joy and peace, as I trust in you so that I may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
It’s as simple as that. Maybe, your Bible prompt will be all you pray- or maybe, those words will prompt you to say more. The important thing is that you started praying- that’s usually the hardest part. Also, just as writing gets easier, the more you practice it- so does prayer. So keep praying. The words will come.