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The Secret to Growing in Prayer

By Dan Vis
June 10, 2019
Comments: 52

As you probably know, our featured class this month is called Prayer Secrets. And it's free through the month of June. This week's memo adds right to that theme of prayer. Enjoy the reading, then head right over to the class and sign up if you haven't already!

A Bible and praying hands

Many people find growing in prayer a challenge. And there are plenty of opinions out there about how to improve. In the paragraphs below, I'd like to share one of the things that helped me learn to pray. It's something I call Scriptural Praying.

And I stumbled on to it by accident.

Prayer & Scripture

From the first years of my Christian journey, I felt it was important to connect prayer and Scripture. Memorizing verses like John 15:7If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. and Romans 10:17So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. strengthened that conviction. So I made it a point to attach specific promises to specific requests and claim them.

Later, I began to understand experientially the prayerful state we should be in when studying, and conversely, the need to listen for God speaking back through memorized verses when in prayer. In time, the link between prayer and Scripture became so close it was not always clear how to distinguish between them.

“Prayer and Scripture are so closely connected, it's not always easy to distinguish between them.”

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At some point, the idea occurred to me to use Scripture as a framework for prayer. I would focus my prayer time on the beatitudes in Matthew 5--asking God to build each characteristic into my life. Or I would pray through the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, asking God to search my heart for pockets of sin I had not seen before. Or I would pray through Ephesians 6, asking God specifically to equip me with each piece of spiritual armor.

It was a simple process. I would find a passage appropriate to my needs and turn to it in my Bible. Then I would go through the passage verse by verse, slowly, simply talking with God about what each verses said. And listening. After a few moments, I'd proceed to the next verse and continue. I could go as fast or as slow as I wanted.

It was always powerful.

Useful Passages

In time, I found many more passages that were useful for this kind of prayer. Psalms of praise. Praying through a string of proverbs--asking God for the wisdom of Solomon. And of course, many of Paul's epistles were filled with amazing statements about God's will for the believers he was writing. And there were plenty of model prayers recorded in Scripture I could pattern my prayers after. Even parables and familiar Bible stories, were easy to take and adapt to situations in my life. The more I looked, the more I found.

FREE Gift!

Want a list of some of my favorite passages for this kind of prayer? Check out this FREE download and get ready for some amazing prayer experiences!

More Info

Incorporating Scripture into my prayer life helped me stay focused. It also strengthened my faith, because I knew my requests were in line with God's will. In fact, they weren't just in harmony with Scripture, they were sparked by Scripture as the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart.

And this practice further deepened my conviction that prayer and Scripture are two sides of the same coin. Communication with God. Intimacy. The divine encounter. They shouldn't be disconnected.

Why not give Scriptural praying a try for your self?


What do you think of the suggestions in this article? Do you use Scripture in your prayers? How has it impacted your prayer life? How important is it to link prayer and Scripture together? Share a thought in the comments below...

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Posted by Dan Vis on 08/23/20
Sure, happy to share these resources Bert! Think of them as a birthday present, from us to you. :)
Posted by Bert Hopkins on 08/22/20
ThankYou for the special Scripture study note. And ThankYou for this study. Praise God .I was using it in my prayers occasionally but now will be more focused .
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/26/19
You are very welcome Denise! You can certainly add to the list, but it helps to have a few starter passages to, well, get started! :)
Posted by Denise Buglino on 11/25/19
Thank you for sharing the Scriptural Prayer passages (bonus) compilation Dan.
Posted by Dan Vis on 07/04/19
Glad you liked this Jaslyn! :)
Posted by Jaslyn C on 07/04/19
Posted by Dan Vis on 06/13/19
You are very welcome Emmanuel! I think you will enjoy it. Be sure to grab the free gift in the memo above!
Posted by Emmanuel Ajiroghene on 06/13/19
This is just great. I am willing to implement it God's grace. Thanks for sharing sir.
Posted by Dan Vis on 06/12/19
Nehemiah is a powerful book on Leadership. I'm sure there are several passages there you could adapt for this Valerie. Please see my note to Leslie about 6 or 7 comments down from here. It might be helpful.
Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 06/12/19
I will add Valerie to my prayers today.
Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 06/12/19
Thank you for this. I have also read about and practiced using God's Word in prayer because He cannot deny Himself. He is pleased when we use the Word in our prayers.
I like how you prayerfully read certain books and chapters using them in your prayers. I am reading Nehemiah and will apply this to the reading.
Posted by Dan Vis on 06/12/19
Amen to that John!
Posted by John Gilmore on 06/12/19
Yess! "... two sides of the same coin." The most valuable coin we can possess!
Posted by Dan Vis on 06/11/19
Happy to help, as always. :)
Posted by Leslie Caza on 06/11/19
Dan Thank you for the additional insight and practical application of this method- it's a helpful clarification.
Posted by Dan Vis on 06/11/19
It can be a powerful experience Leslie. I usually do this separate from praying through my prayer journal, which tends to focus more on individual, specific promises. And this approach instead focuses on a long passage and is typically a whole prayer session all by itself. I like to use it on retreats and getaways. But the more we do this with these easy passages, the more we can do this with any verse anywhere. Glad you found this helpful!

Always love to hear people commit to giving something a good try. Thanks for sharing Carole. And please feel free to put a request in our Prayer Chapel (in the Student Lab). It would be great to have our team praying for you.
Posted by Carole Bliss on 06/10/19
Praying back God's Word insures our Lord will bless us. This us in accordance to His will.
I am going to try and remember to implement this in my prayers. Speaking of prayer, may I ask you to pray for my daughter, Valerie, they are testing her for leukemia.
Our God is faithful to us all.
Thank you for the prayers
Posted by Leslie Caza on 06/10/19
Beautiful! On my index cards in my prayer box (my format for my prayer journal) I sometimes write a scripture promise to claim for the prayer request or praise on that card, but have seldom taken praying Scriptute to the level in this Monday Memo. Sounds so intimate with the Lord and I know it will be an extremely valuable help in my time with God.   
Posted by Dan Vis on 09/09/18
Glad this post could give you some ideas for how to experience that Edil! You are very welcome...
Posted by Edil Gordon on 09/07/18
I have always wanted to learn how to pray appealing to God,confirming his promises. as I pray so I am grateful for this experience which I know will make me dig deeper in the bible to find promises that relate to my needs as I make my requests,thank you, I will be helping the ladies in my soup kitchen as we all need help to learn how to reach our heavenly father.
Posted by Dan Vis on 08/27/18
You're welcome Stuart! I think that the approach we covered in the Prayer Secrets class is great for basic daily prayer, but using these passages as described here is like icing on the cake! :)
Posted by Stuart Clarke on 08/27/18
Love it
That is exactly how I'm using my prayer journal now
Thanks for the great class
Posted by Dan Vis on 08/27/18
Those are two of the passages I recommended in the FREE handout above. Both great passages I've used many times Carole. :)
Posted by Carole Bliss on 08/27/18
I am currently reading Ephesians chapter 6, and asking God to put on the Whole Armour of God.
Also, reading 1Corinthians chapter 13, praying over all I need to have His love in my life.

Posted by Dan Vis on 08/27/18
Pam, I was talking about the Prayer Secrets class! You'll notice Vicky's quote was from last year. And I mentioned I was planning to do it in the spring of 2018! :) Well, didn't do it until August, but it's finished at last! We will do Power in Prayer at some point, but not sure when. Most likely 2020, as next year is pretty much all scheduled out... :)

Glad you enjoyed the new handout Marion. I was just thinking about it last night, pulled out my own list of favorites, and added it to the reading. Love giving away little things that I know can be life-changing. This is my all time favorite way to pray--esp when I'm at retreats and getaways. Spend a lot of time planning ahead what passage to use, and then look forward to it with anticipation...
Posted by Marion Coppock on 08/27/18
No, I don't usually use Scripture and Prayer together, occasionally yes. This will be a wonderful tool for me. Thanks. Dan
Posted by Pamela Kendall on 08/27/18
I agree with Vicky Dan as I was reading this I was thinking it would be great to have a month's course on prayer ... so glad you are thinking of a longer challenge/live course on prayer next year - I will look forward to it!

I like this idea of scriptural prayers to... thanks for the free gift!
Posted by Dan Vis on 08/11/17
Vicky, we are planning a challenge on prayer for the spring of 2018. And another on how to study the Bible devotionally. Can't wait!

Thanks for the suggestion! :)
Posted by Vicky Lewis on 08/11/17
Dan It would be great to have a challenge all about prayer.
Posted by Helen De Coteau Grant on 06/05/17
Hi Dan, thank you for this guide on prayer. I recently said to God I feel a need for a deeper way of praying . I started the journey and started with the crash course. I am so excited about what I have learned about hiding Gods word In my heart and now I see how memorising meditating on the word and praying goes together. I am super excited !! God bless you abundantly.
Posted by Shanthi Solomon on 06/01/17
This article affirms what I do sometimes. Now that I have memorised so many verses, I am able to use it more often. Thank you for the clarity provided in His article. I have shared this information with loved ones.
Posted by Robyn Pearl Hattingh on 05/01/17
Wow!this is amazing.praise the Lord.pray for me as I follow this way of connecting prayer and scripture!thank you again Dan!
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/07/16
Happy to pass this on Linda. Let me know how it works for you!
Posted by Linda Gerace on 11/05/16
I hadn't considered before praying like this. Thank you for sharing this idea... I want to incorporate it into my devotional life.
Posted by Lillian E. Cepeda on 11/03/16
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/03/16
Thanks Shirley for sharing those ideas. Lillian, Vonda, so glad this content could be a blessing. Truly God's Word is powerful, and it does bring Jesus close!!!
Posted by Vonda Beerman on 11/03/16
I am glad you are sharing this with people because this is what has really strengthen my faith over the last few years. Taking God at His Word, literally. Each verse is meant for you and as we claim it and pray it our faith strengthens. Looking at each word slowly and absorbing it, and letting it soak in is important. Jeremiah 15:16Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. says to eat it! Your right when you say scripture and prayer are like both sides of the coin, they go together and since I have been doing this it has brought Jesus so close!
Posted by Lillian E. Cepeda on 11/02/16
This post is very encouraging to me. I need to learn to pray scriptural prayers more. The Word of God is so Powerful, and why not use it more often.

Thanks again, Dan. I am copying and printing your message to share it with my neighbors.
Posted by Shirley Alsop on 11/01/16
Hi again Jason Diehl, If you are able to download sermons and listen, here's a link to the devotional speaker's talks from our last Camp in South New South Wales, Australia:
As we chatted with Ben just before he left after camp, his last bit of advice was to "Live Dead" (Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.), and "Keep Dusty" (in Jewish culture, a disciple following his Rabbi would stay so close to his Rabbi so he could listen to every word spoken, that he would be covered with dust from the Rabbi's feet!) Hope you will be as blessed as I have been!
Posted by Shirley Alsop on 11/01/16
This post is so encouraging, thanks Dan Vis. And Jason Diehl, take heart... as you keep coming to God, and reaching out to Him, He will keep His promise to "never leave you or forsake you."
We also live in a rural area, 2 hours drive from our nearest church, and can only attend 1 to 2 times/month. I feel so blessed though that we have access to so much teaching online and on YouTube now. We love Hope Sabbath School with Derek Morris! I've also listened to Pavel Goia's presentations on prayer and been blessed. See if you can get a prayer partner you can pray with regularly (on the phone if you can't meet face-to-face) maybe each week for extra encouragement. Plan to attend camp meetings whenever possible - they are always a great source of encouragement.
When we were growing up we had Uncle Arthur's "The Bible Story" read to us, and as well as teaching your children the Bible stories, you will also learn so much from them. Another place to go for great Bible teaching and learning is and download the audio files for "The Picture of God in all 66" - Graham Maxwell talks about the picture of God in each of the books of the Bible. Great to listen to as you drive! Or if you can put them on your iPhone and listen as you work, etc. And of course Dan has a lot of excellent talks you can download from this site to listen to when you can!
I'm so glad for the promises in II Peter 1:2-42 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.:
II Peter 1:2Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.
II Peter 1:3According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the One who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.
II Peter 1:4Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world's corruption caused by human desires. (NLT2)
And Philippians 1:6Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: is one of my favourite promises: "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."
God bless you and your family as you continue to grow in Him!
Posted by Jason Diehl on 11/01/16
"Keep your ear open to the Spirit's promptings throughout." this is the part that seems strange and difficult to me. I've never been able to "hear" God, I spend about an hour every day on a walk through the woods and usually try to pray a little and spend the rest of the time just listening or relaxing. I just always thought I'm deaf, dumb, and blind when it comes to hearing God. Which is how as a Christian that's only been baptized for 2 years, I ended up in a church where I'm literally the last man standing (why don't men go to church anymore) and somehow leading this group of 12 or so. We did have a deacon for a short while but he barely moved his membership before he got a new job 3 hours away and moved. Feeling alone in a rural community with no training or support can be incredibly intimidating, frustrating, and I don't know.

I appreciate the support of a ministry such as this, if it wasn't for something like this I probably would have already felt so overwhelmed I would have walked away.
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/01/16
Thanks again for everyone's encouragement. I think we've had more comments on this than on any of our blog posts yet. Yeah!

Jason, you are kind of right. I mean, our study time should be a time of prayerful communion. But what I'm suggesting is our prayer time can also involve reflection on Scripture. But it is prayer. I usually kneel, put away my pen and paper. And I talk to God. Whereas in my study, I'm sitting at my desk with pen and paper, and perhaps listening more. And we can do either alone or in a group.

But both can be kind of a conversation with God can't they? We shoot up questions to God while studying. We look for principles in the passage to inspire our prayer. There's listening and talking to God in both. That's what I meant by the two by less different than we think.

Try experimenting with some passage--say Ephesians 3:14-2114 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.. Just pray through it verse by verse. Let each phrase spark your prayers. When you run out of stuff to say, move on to the next verse. Keep your ear open to the Spirit's promptings throughout. See what happens.

God will teach each of us the best way to connect with Him.
Posted by Jason Diehl on 10/31/16
Interesting method. I read the bible about 30-60 minutes a day normally, so I can just call this 'prayer time'? I already spend some time determining what the passages mean. I'm lost with the whole listening part though? Is this something you have to do with someone else? Like my wife and I would do this together and I'd just talk for awhile about my thoughts on the passage and then listen to her thoughts on the passage? That could be nice to get some 'prayer' time in together.
Posted by Arlene Webb on 10/31/16
This is a wonderful way to pray with the Bible. I have done it off and on for quite a while. After hearing a sermon by Mark Finley and how he does this, I started doing it again. It brings me close to God and I will try to be more regular.   Thanks for sharing it with us all.
Posted by Megan Johnson on 10/31/16
Thank you for writing this. At times, I have struggled with praying meaningfully and haven't really grown through it. I think this will help!
Posted by Joyce Augustinis on 10/31/16
This was a good article and gave me much more to incorporate into my prayers. I had been using the verses that I learned but to specifically take a passage and pray though it using it to build up my spiritual strength and the strength of others is something new that I can use to make prayer more powerful in life.
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/31/16
Thanks everyone! So glad this post could be a blessing, and an encouragement to you. It's amazing how several of you have said God taught you to pray like this, personally, yet it's not something I've seen taught in many places. Or anywhere, actually. It's as if God was teaching us to pray using Scripture without us even realizing it. Imagine if we were intentional about growing in pray using this method. Could be a huge blessing!!!
Posted by Becky Rich on 10/31/16
Well said, Dan. I've often found myself talking to God after hearing Him speak to me through something I've read in His word. God's word is His love letter to us and should be read faithfully and prayerfully. We will hear God speaking to our deepest needs as we do so, and speaking back to Him comes naturally.
Posted by Angie Leimena on 10/31/16
Oh how I am grateful. I had a longing to do so. Now you have put it in such a way that inspire me. Thank you. I long to be so immersed in the Word of God.
Posted by Jo Zumbluskas on 10/31/16
In the past,my go to place when I was praying was to the Psalms and often still is. I didn't realize that I was doing what you have so well explained. Now I have a better understanding of being more intentional in my prayer life with scripture, especially memorized scripture at the center.That's where God's word belongs, at the center of our lives.

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