If you are wondering how to find a good starting point for prayer, an excellent place to begin is to learn how to pray Scripturally informed prayers.        

A Pattern from the Old Testament

Being a person who is a student of prayer, I was fascinated when I learned about different daily prayers that Jewish people have been praying for thousands of years.  Many of these prayers are taken straight from the Old Testament scripture.  One such prayer is the “Ve-Yiten Lecha” which is for the “conclusion of Shabbat.”  This prayer uses texts from Genesis, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Joel, 1 Chronicles, 1 Samuel, and the Psalms.[i]  This is a process of praying the Scriptures of the Old Testament.

The new streaming series The Chosen has led me into this discovery.  One of my favorites that I have discovered is the bedtime prayer, of which a version is heard on the program and goes something like this:

Praised are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings sleep to my eyes, and slumber to my eyelids. May it be Your will, Lord my God and God of my ancestors, that I lie down in peace and that I arise in peace. Let my sleep be undisturbed by troubling thoughts, bad dreams, and wicked schemes. May I have a night of tranquil slumber. May I awaken to the light of a new day, that my eyes may behold the splendor of Your light. Praised are You, Lord whose glory gives light to the entire world.”

I thought this was incredible the first time I heard it.  Parts of this prayer are from Genesis, Deuteronomy, Ezekiel, Esther, and Hosea.  It is a time-honored tradition of both the Jewish and Christian faiths to use sacred Scripture as prayer.   

Jesus Taught Us to Pray Using Scripturally informed prayer

Ponder a question: If these prayers have been around for centuries, including the time that Jesus lived on the earth, how probable is it that Jesus prayed these same prayers?  Yet when His disciples asked their rabbi to teach them to pray, this is what Jesus taught them:

“Therefore, you should pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,Your name be honored as holy.

Your kingdom come.

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:9-13, HCSB)

In this model prayer, Jesus uses verses from Proverbs 30 and Psalm 103.  Jesus himself uses the Scriptures to teach his disciples a new way to pray, but includes a portion of the Wisdom of Solomon, and words from his genealogical father, King David.  Jesus did not remove the practice of praying the Scriptures, but created a prayer that his students could use in their daily lives to connect with the Father.

Use Your Knowledge of Jesus to Pray Scripturally Informed Prayer 

One take on praying Scriptures, and I believe is accurate, is the following paragraph from The Gospel Coalition:

“So, when we internalize Jesus’ individual utterances (i.e., his words remain in us), we will make scripturally informed requests, and God will answer them. So what is the “fruit”? I think that the fruit in this context is the answer to those prayers. That does not refer exclusively to when we pray Scripture; it refers to scripturally informed prayers. But that certainly includes our praying Scripture. When we pray Scripture, we demonstrate explicitly that Jesus’ words are remaining in us.  And when we are bearing much fruit through our praying Scripture, that is a way that we glorify God the Father: “By this my Father is glorified.”[ii]

So, by praying the Scriptures we are showing that God’s words are in us, and we are glorifying Him by praying His words.  It shows that the fruit we are bearing has come to light because of our connection to the Father, by the Son, and through the Holy Spirit.

Many times, I have written articles for this website and provided words that people can use to pray in several different situations.  The ultimate goal is the relationship between the person praying and the One who hears.  It is an amazing phenomenon when we grow this relationship to the point where each one of us has put more effort into growing this relationship by discovering more of what God has to say to us individually by the process of consuming the Word of God through the Scriptures we have been given.  That’s a long sentence that says: We know more of what the Bible says, and it comes out in everything we do and say, including prayer.

My friends, discovering that Jesus prayed the Scriptures should not come as a surprise, nor should you feel that you have been praying wrong.  Amazingly, God hears every prayer lifted up to him in every situation.  The more one gets to know the Lord our God and the more familiar the relationship becomes, the easier it is to pray His words back to him.  We can claim His promises to us by reciting His words that contain the promises in the expectation that He is faithful and true and will keep those promises.  It is an act of worship that brings us closer to the King of the Universe, the One who loves us beyond our wildest imaginations.

Start Where You Are

If you’re concerned about your depth of knowledge of the Scriptures, don’t be. 



Find comfort in knowing that the twelve men who followed Jesus around for three years had to be taught to pray.  They, in turn, taught the world. 

If you’re not sure what to pray today, let me assure you the place you can begin is the same place the disciples started.  The best thirty seconds of your day may be found right here in Matthew, chapter six: 

“Our Father in heaven,Your name be honored as holy. 

Your kingdom come. 

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 

Give us today our daily bread. 

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. 

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:9:13 HCSB)

[i] Chabad.org – Ve-yiten Lecha Text

[ii] The Gospel Coalition, Themelios, Volume 38, Issue 3, “12 Reasons You Should Pray Scripture”

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David Shelton