Praying the Promises: Isaiah 33:2


I have shared before on one method of praying through Scripture as a way to focus your attention during prayer and ground prayer in the soil of the Word. This has been a deeply fruitful and rewarding practice for me and I thought I would share a few verses that are personally meaningful that I use specifically in this way.

prayers

Hence I am beginning a Praying the Promises mini-series here on the blog. I have no idea how many of these I might do (though it will probably be at least three or four more…and maybe more depending on how they go!) but I am excited to share these verses. I pray they will either be directly helpful or at least provide a model to use other Scriptures in this way!

The verse I have chosen to begin with is a more recent addition to the verses I pray through like this: Isaiah 33:2. In the ESV, it reads:

O LORD, be gracious to us; we wait for you.
Be our arm every morning,
our salvation in the time of trouble.

 Why I pray this verse: I was reading through Isaiah for my Old Testament Introduction class last year when I stumbled across this verse. It stood out to me because of some difficulties my family was going through at that time. Without even knowing it, I was looking for a way to express the helplessness and lack of ability I was feeling in my circumstances.

What I love about this verse is that it is an excellent way to begin a specific prayer for help. Praying this verse at the beginning of a request for provision, strength, wisdom, or myriad other topics begins the prayer on a solid foot and helps segue into that next thought. Now, especially when I’m praying for my family, this is one of my go-to verses to begin a prayer with.

How I pray this verse: An example of what this might look like is: “O LORD, please be gracious to me. I wait for you. Please be my strength (in Hebrew, being someone’s “arm” is a metaphor for being their strength or deliverance) every morning, not just when I think that I need you, and be my salvation in the time of trouble. Lord, I’m struggling with…

And that’s it! Now here’s where I put in my plug for Scripture memory. Can you pray this by looking it up in the Bible and praying after you find it? Of course! But how much better to know this or a verse like it intimately and be able to pray it wherever you go? And immediately in response to whatever circumstance comes your way!

I once heard someone define Scripture memory as “a way to give the Holy Spirit a vocabulary to speak to our heart.” While that’s true, I also believe Scripture memory is a way to give us a vocabulary to speak back to God.

So there you have it: the first verse in Praying the Promises.

What verse(s) do you use regularly in your times of prayer?

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Assorted Goings-On (Or, Why This Blog Has Been Silent as of Late)


And just like that, I’m done with my first year in seminary! Wrapping up the year is my excuse for no recent updates here on the blog-first it was end of the year projects, then it was prepping for finals, THEN I got sick in the middle of all that (and the blasted sickness stuck around for over two weeks), and I spent all of last week catching up on rest and other things I had neglected–like cleaning up and sorting through all my mess haha–and all of the sudden it is JUNE.

Textbooks from the past year (and a few already for next semester)

There are way way WAY too many highlights from the year to share effectively or succinctly here on the blog, so I’ll content myself with a recent one. My Navigator background means I’m very interested in Scripture memory and I’m always encouraged and challenged by a good quote on the topic. So here’s a thought by Dallas Willard on memorizing extended passages of Scripture:

The practice of memorizing the Scriptures is more important than a daily quiet time, for as we fill our minds with these great passages and have them available for our meditation, “quiet time” takes over the entirety of our lives.

 

Challenging and encouraging and convicting and…yeah. Good stuff.

Now that summertime is here, you can expect more updates here on the blog! For now, here’s a mini-lightning-round of a couple of updates:

-My amazing wife ran her first 12k a few weeks ago!

Across the Bay

-She and I also attended my best friend from college’s wedding a few days ago:

And I’ve begun my summer reading-both for fun and for a summer class I have coming up.

For now, that’s where I’ll curtail my updates. But Coming Soon: Several Book Reviews and more updates!

Our Father (“Riffing” on the Lord’s Prayer)


A specific example Tim Keller passes on in Prayer of how to transition from reading and meditating on the Word to free-form praying comes from Martin Luther, who

…suggests that after meditating on the Scripture, you should pray through each petition of the Lord’s Prayer, paraphrasing and personalizing each one using your own needs and concerns.
-from Prayer p. 93

Keller uses the phrase “Spiritually ‘Riffing’ on the Lord’s Prayer” (which might be my favorite phrase of his ever, for various reasons haha) to describe the process. He suggests that this is a beneficial way to both provide structure to your initial prayers to help focus flighty minds like mine. To be very honest, distracting thoughts have often keep me from beginning or completing times I’ve set aside for prayer and have discouraged me in past pursuits of deeper prayer.

As such, I’ve found this to be an immensely helpful tool to add to my “spiritual tool belt” as it were-and it’s so simple! Who among us doesn’t already know at least most of some version (ESV, KJV, NIV, or a combination) of the Lord’s Prayer by heart? [Incidentally, this is an excellent example of the power memorization of the Word has to impact the other spiritual disciplines.] And who among us couldn’t benefit from implementing the model Jesus gave his disciples in answer to their request to teach them to pray?

Now neither Keller nor Luther (nor I!) are suggesting that this is something you must do every time you pray. To turn this into a law or requirement or “the” way to pray is to miss the point. Instead, it’s offered as a helpful tool. May we avail ourselves of it and other similar tools in our daily prayers.

Bonus Content:

Hillsong Worship’s latest cd has a song based on the Lord’s Prayer. There are plenty of other songs based on it, but I enjoyed listening to this one and thought I’d share it 🙂