12 Tips on How to Pray-read the Word of God to be Spiritually Nourished

Does your Bible reading  leave you feeling nourished? Does it leave you inwardly satisfied, strengthened and happy in the Lord?

Paul exhorted his young co-worker Timothy saying,

“If you lay these things before the brothers you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, being nourished with the words of the faith and of the good teaching which you have closely followed”  (1 Tim. 4:6).

The striking expression in this verse is “being nourished.” The only way for a believer to grow spiritually and live a normal Christian life is by being nourished.

 But how can we make our contact with the Bible “nourishing,” full of spiritual supply?

In this post we’ll consider twelve tips on how to pray-read the Word of God to be spiritually nourished. By “pray-reading” we simply mean turning God’s Word in the Bible into prayer—mingling prayer with our reading and study of the Bible in order to receive spiritual nourishment from God’s Word.

First, call on the Lord and speak to Him from deep within.

By calling on the Lord’s name we exercise our deepest part—our spirit to contact the Lord Himself. Calling brings us to the dining table of our spirit—the  place where we can feed on the One who is the Bread of Life (John 6:48; 2 Tim. 4:22).

Simply speak to Him—“Lord Jesus! O Lord, I love You! Lord, I open to You. I’m coming to You in Your Word.”  Since our spirit is the organ to contact and receive the Lord, we must learn to use it whenever we come to the Word.  We must pray with our spirit if we’re going  contact the Lord who is of the same substance (Eph. 6:17-18, John 4:24).

Second, read a few Bible verses.

Two or three verses—sometimes even a part of a verse—may be more than adequate for one spiritual meal. For example, certain golden verses like John 3:16 might provide spiritual food for more than one meal.

This verse says,

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that everyone who believes into Him would not perish, but would have eternal life.”

Third, with your eyes still on the word, take a short phrase, and repeat it back to the Lord.

For example, using John 3:16, you might say,  “For God so loved the world…O God, You really love  this sinful world!”

Fourth, try saying Amen! to the Word of God.

Amen is our agreement with God’s sure words. It means firm, steadfast, and trustworthy. It’s also a name for Christ (Rev. 3:14). He Himself is “the Amen,” the fulfillment of all the promises of God to us (2 Cor. 1:20). So it’s another way to touch Him in His Word.

Fifth, you may want to read certain words with emphasis.

For example, you might be inspired to say, “SO loved…Oh Lord, You SO loved the world! How much You loved the world!”

Sixth, you may be touched to personalize your pray-reading.

Continuing the example, you might say, “Oh God, since You loved the world, that means You loved ME! Oh Your love reaches even ME!”

Seventh, you might be touched to confess your sins to the Lord.

Being convicted by the Word, you might confess, “Lord, You loved me so much, but I confess, I don’t really love You; I love other things more than You. Forgive me Lord.”

Eighth, then you might be inspired to thank the Lord for whatever He touches you with.

You might say, “Thank you God. Though I didn’t love You, You loved me so much that You gave Your only Son to die for me. ”

Ninth, you might also want to declare something to the Lord.

Then you might read, “That everyone who believes into Him. Lord, I’m included in “everyone.” Lord, I believe into You!”

Tenth, you might spontaneously feel led to petition or intercede for someone the Lord has placed on your heart.

The Word your reading may touch you concerning the need of  someone you know. You might say, “Lord, my friend John has not yet believed into You. Cause him to believe into You so that he too may have Your eternal life.”

Eleventh, you might sing the Word with your own tune or one you can remember.

Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…singing with grace in your hearts to God. ” Here is  a song written by a believer who was being nourished with the words of  John 3:16.

Twelfth, then you might want to praise the Lord according to what you’ve seen in the verses.

You might continue by praying, “Might have eternal life! Oh Father, praise You for Your eternal life. Praise You that You give this life to everyone who believes. Father, I believe. Praise You I have eternal life!”

By applying these twelve tips, I believe we’ll daily  enjoy the Lord as our Bread of Life in the words of the  Bible. Whenever we touch Him by pray-reading in such a way, we’ll  receive the best spiritual nourishment to live the normal Christian life.

These twelve points are just an opener. Please share your experience of how you’ve been helped to receive spiritual nourishment from pray-reading God’s Word.

For more  on pray-reading the Word, I’d recommend a booklet by that title for starters. You can find it online at ministrybooks.org (in Additional Titles by Witness Lee) or get your free copy as part of  Bibles for America’s free literature series. It is the last chapter in Basic Elements of the Christian Life, Vol. 3.  You can also find an excellent hymn on feeding on the Word at hymnal.net (be sure to click “View Lyrics”).

photo credit: TheCulinaryGeek (Creative Commons)

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About the Author

Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions or to subscribe to future posts if you'd like them to be delivered to your inbox. Thanks!

Comments

  1. Amen! Thank you, brother, for these 12 simple tips. I’ve been practicing most of them and I’m learning to pray over the Word of God so that I may get nourishment!

    Even though I’m going through 2 Kings right now in my Bible reading, I enjoy musing on the Word in a prayerful way… Many times repentance and confession comes out as a result, and I love the Lord more! Oh, to take the word of God into us in a living way so that we may be exposed, nourished, and supplied!

    • Tom Smith says:

      Thanks for the confirming comment. That is a wonderful testimony–repentance and confession even while reading 2 Kings! Amen, may we take the word in such a living way to be exposed nourished and supplied.

      I’d add…
      Whether we’re new to the practice of pray-reading or simply need some refreshing, I believe that there is much more for us all to learn in the matter of receiving spiritual nourishment. Especially, new believers and young people need some more particular help to really draw the nourishment from God’s Word. It is not uncommon for parents to tell their children to slow down and chew their food. I’m afraid that we’re often like such children that bite and swallow. We fail to extract all the healthy nutrients from God’s Word by adequate chewing, and thus have poor digestion and assimilation needed to grow. I’m endeavoring to learn, step by step how to properly receive God’s Word for nourishment so that I can then pass on this benefit to younger believers.

  2. Kelvin Dapash says:

    This is awesome and incredibly easy-to-follow!God bless you..

    • Tom Smith says:

      Thanks. It’s encouraging to know that people are being helped to receive more nourishment from God’s Word by a small post on the practice of pray-reading.

  3. Great post! I appreciate the matter of turning the word of God into prayer and even using it as a base for our intercession for others. Praying over the Word of God is an excellent way to fellowship with God and to enter into His heart for man, His people, and so forth. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • Tom Smith says:

      Thanks for the encouraging comment.

      Seeing the relationship between the Word and prayer is really a key to a vital, supplied Christian life. In a book, ‘Lord Thou Saidst,’ it quotes two statements from The Necessity of Prayer by E.M. Bounds: 1) “The Word of God is the food, by which prayer is nourished and made strong” and 2) “The Word of God is made effectual and operative, by the process and practice of prayer.” I believe your comment on the Word turned into prayer as a base for intercession underscores the first point–out of taking the Word with prayer, enlightened intercession will flow out that is full of revelation, and faith. Praying into the Word will bring us into fellowship with God and merge our heart with His. May so many younger believers discover this key of mingling prayer with the Word!

  4. Nathanael Stone says:

    This was a very helpful post. Having it all broken down into 12 tips is very useful. I’m a Christian and I love His word, so this is a great addition to my “toolbox.” Praise you Lord! I can say from my own experience that if we put these twelve tips into practice, we will find His word ceases to become letters on a page and will instead nourish, supply, wash, and strengthen us!

    • Tom Smith says:

      Glad you enjoyed it. There are so many ways to contact the Lord in His Word–calling, thanking, confessing, petitioning, praising, and more. I just hope that the readers of this post would apply these tips by following the Spirit to pray as He leads. These 12 tips are. as you said, part of a “toolbox.” The main thing is that we always contact the Lord a the living Person embodied in, revealed by, and conveyed through the words of the Bible. I hope that many more of God’s children will learn the secret to contact the Lord in the Word by pray-reading to be nourished and grow in Christ for the building up of the Body of Christ.

  5. This is awesome! Thank you so much for posting this!

  6. Vinu Varghese says:

    Yes, this word on pray-reading is “simple yet elegant” to borrow a phrase. Just reading these words encouraged me to continue this practice as often as I handle the word of God. I’m also reminded of my experience, that as with physical food, I may not remember everything I have eaten today but I’m strengthened by it none the less to continue living. In the same way, as I take in our dear Lord’s nourishing word regularly, I’m simply supplied to continue living the Christian life. Thanks for the encouraging words.

    • Tom Smith says:

      Thanks for the encouraging comment. I believe that we all need a fresh reminder–”…so he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me” (John 6:57b).

      It’s not just ingesting good food that counts as healthy eating. We need to chew more, digest more, to assimilate all the healthy nutrients into our being. This applies both physically and spiritually. Just like parents remind their children to slow down and chew. I think we need such encouragement to chew God’s healthy words by praying with more emphasizing, personalizing, confessing, thanking, declaring, singing, and praising the Lord.

      May the Lord recover the proper spiritual eating that makes us His fullness for His expression.

  7. Tom, great post. I am considering sharing with local brothers and sisters who will not see in on your blog nor on G+.
    Also, thanks for putting some verses on your hymns page. I followed your example and added a verse to my hymns page.

  8. Vasile Ilas says:

    Thank you so much! Amen.

  9. This post is very good and very practical to apply for our pray-reading the Word of God. I’ve just translated it into Vietnamese to post in my blog.Praise the Lord, Hallelujah, Amen!

  10. OH LORD JESUS! AMEN! OH LORD JESUS! AMEN! YOU ARE EVERY THAT I NEED! LORD I WANNA BE ONE WITH YOU! SORRY FOR WHAT I DONE TODAY SORRY FOR WHAT I DID DO TODAY!OH LORD JESUS! JESUS IS LORD! I LIKE YOU VERY MUCH LORD PLEASE LET ME STAY WITH YOU…. OH LORD JESUS AMEN!

  11. Kevin Lee Poracan says:

    Pray-reading, mingling prayer with God’s Word, was a practice vital to many Christians in their communion with God. This means that rather than approaching God solely according to their own feeling or inclination, they simply took the Bible as their prayer book. As they read, they prayed, turning God’s Word into a personal prayer or petition using His own language. By praying over the Word they were enabled to receive spiritual nourishment as well as strength for their soul. Through pray-reading, they also entered into an intimate fellowship with God to receive enlightenment and a deeper understanding of the Bible.

    The following excerpts are drawn mostly from the various sources compiled by Ray Graver in his book Lord Thou Saidst…(published by Living Stream Ministry). These excerpts record the experiences of many Christians throughout history who have mingled the Word of God with their prayer.

    Origen
    (AD 185-254)
    George Müller
    (AD 1805-1898)
    Jerome
    (AD 340-420)
    C. H. MacKintosh
    (AD 1820-1896)
    Augustine
    (AD 354-430)
    Andrew Murray
    (AD 1828-1917)
    Martin Luther
    (AD 1483-1546)
    Hannah Whitall Smith
    (AD 1832-1911)
    John Bunyan
    (AD 1628-1688)
    Charles Haddon Spurgeon
    (AD 1835-1892)
    Madame Guyon
    (AD 1647-1717)
    R. A. Torrey
    (AD 1856-1928)
    August Hermann Francke
    (AD 1663-1727)
    John Hyde
    (AD 1865-1912)
    George Whitefield
    (AD 1714-1770)
    W. H. Griffith Thomas
    (AD 1861-1924)
    John Nelson Darby
    (AD 1800-1882)
    Witness Lee
    (AD 1905-1997)

    http://prayreading.org/testimonies/index.html

  12. Can one also pray-read the old testament since it always refers to the Isrealites. Use zephaniah 3v18-20 for example. How am I going to pray-read it?

    • Pray-reading is not just a routine or a technique. It is a living contact with a living Person, Christ. John 5:39-40 reveals that whenever we come to the Scriptures, we also need to come to Him so that we may have life.

      So when you pray-read verses like Zephaniah 3:18-20, you might read, “I will gather those who mourn for the appointed assembly…” You might go on to pray, “O Lord, you are the gathering One. Lord, gather me out of everything into Yourself. I was mourning but You gathered me. Thank you for saving me. I was spiritually lame…Thank you for enlivening me to walk in You…Praise you Lord for Your promise to make us a praise…even a praise among all the peoples of the earth. Thank you for turning our captivity. Lord, where You are there is real freedom. Praise you Lord, we’re freed in You!”

  13. Dear brother John in Christ,

    Greetings from India!

    It was so wonderful to read this simple but perspective-changing approach towards prayer. I have to confess that I have not regularly practiced it. But now I am determined that I will practice in my daily prayer. Thank you once again. May God bless you abundantly.

    • Tom Smith says:

      Glad you enjoyed the post. Praying with God’s Word is such an effective way to handle both prayer and the Word. E.M.Bounds points to this effective relationship between prayer and the Word in The Necessity of Prayer:
      “The Word of God is the food, by which prayer is nourished and made strong.”
      “The Word of God is made effectual and operative, by the process and practice of prayer.”
      By such a practice–mingling prayer and the Word–we receive greater benefit from both our prayer and our Bible reading, first, nourishing our inner man and second, causing our prayers to be powerful and weighty before God’s throne.

Trackbacks

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  9. [...] For more specifics on how to pray-read the word, you may want to read my previous post, “12 Tips on How to Pray-read the Word of God to be Spiritually Nourished.” [...]

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  14. […] into our reading and study of the Word. As we read the Bible, we can contact Him in prayer and turn the words we read into prayer. When our reading is thus mingled with prayer, He shines on the written word, enlightens the eyes […]

  15. […] To learn more specific points on how to pray with God’s Word, you may want to follow up by reading my post “12 Tips on How to Pray-read the Word of God to be Spiritually Nourished.” […]

  16. […] 16 2. Drink of His Spirit with your spirit by calling on the name of the Lord—1 Cor. 12:3, 13 3. Feed on Christ’s words to live because of Him—John 6:57, 63 4. Be led by His Spirit to grow and be transformed in His […]

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  18. […] by the operation of God’s Spirit of life. You may want to try the practical  points in this post to enjoy more renewing from God’s […]

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  23. […] we want to understand and be nourished by the Word, we must use our spirit to contact God, the writer, and touch Him as the Spirit in the […]

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