Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

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 you’re 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 into Your Son, Jesus Christ. Father, I believe in Him. Praise You I have eternal life!”

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

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References and Recommended Reading:

About 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. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

107 Replies

  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!

    1. Tom Smith

      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.

      1. Sarah

        Thank you so much I like it

        1. Tom Smith

          Glad you enjoyed the post. Practicing to pray over the words of the Bible is a simple way to enter into God’s heart and to be nourished by the spirit and life in His words (John 6:63). Thanks for sharing.

    2. Crystal

      so clear and helpful!

    3. Jerry loud Salzmann

      AMEN. Sometimes I become quite dry and lacking in prayer with substance, until I come to the word in prayer as I read. Even before ever hearing the “teaching” of PRAY READING the word, in 1972, it was my practice! Although I didnt know it. That’s how I came to love the word, and prayer flowed accordingly. Now, 44 years later, after first hearing the teaching and expanding the practice with light from the ministry, there is a daily battle to come to the word in this manner. My realization is that it is through the Lord”s word, everything of life, God”s purpose and heart”s desire is so very clear. When dry, listless, sensing a lack of purpose, I find calling out loud on the name of the Lord, firstly energizes my spirit to overcome the fight to get to the word; then, once that battle is won, our faithful high priest according to the order of Melchizedek comes with bread to nourish, wine to cheer, and pure fuel for prayer. His word truly IS living and OPERATIVE!! THIS then, becomes the bread which a man may eat and not die. THIS is how we set our mind on our spirit, and THIS is how we set our affection on things above. If it were not so, there would be no battle. And, the greatest joys in gathering with those of the household of GOD over the years, have come from the Lord”s visitation, corporately, through PRAY READING! This is a matter of life or death, being one with the Lord”s heart in prayer, and therefore in carrying out the authority of His body, the church given to the church by the Lord Himself.

      1. Tom Smith

        Thanks for sharing your testimony of being helped by pray-reading the Word. We do hope that all the Lord’s children would make this awesome discovery and find the Word to be the gladness and joy of their heart. One of the first verses that I remember pray-reading was Jeremiah 15:16, “Your words were found and I ate them, and Your word became to me the gladness and joy of my heart.” It is so good to discover that we can “eat” the Lord’s words every day by praying them in our spirit. As we pray the word, sing the word, psalm the word, and thank through the word, we digest the divine essence, the Spirit in the word, making it our divine constituent. In such a way we are daily being renewed and transformed into image of our dear Lord so that to our God there will be glory in the church (Eph. 3:21). Praise Him!

  2. Kelvin Dapash

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

    1. Tom Smith

      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.

    1. Tom Smith

      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

    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!

    1. Tom Smith

      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. Kelli

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

    1. Tom Smith

      You’re welcome. I hope the Word becomes more nourishing to you through these simple tips. 🙂

  6. Vinu Varghese

    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.

    1. Tom Smith

      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.

      1. Vinu Varghese

        Amen. I believe He is doing it, even right here.

  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

    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. Ed


  11. Kevin Lee Poracan

    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.

    (AD 185-254)
    George Müller
    (AD 1805-1898)
    (AD 340-420)
    C. H. MacKintosh
    (AD 1820-1896)
    (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)


  12. pascal

    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?

    1. Tom Smith

      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. BENNY

    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.

    1. Tom Smith

      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.

  14. Tonny

    wow! This is great. I desire to get the full nourishment of the word of God in Jesus name.

  15. tish

    I love the 12 step i will re read it so i can apply it to my own life Amen

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you were helped by these 12 points. With things of life, both physical and spiritual, there always the need for continual reminder to keep us healthy. We need to come to word in such an uplifted way that we touch the Lord, enjoy Him and are fully nourished by Him in His Word. In this way we receive the life supply we need to grow and live a normal Christian life.

  16. I am very grateful with this 12 steps of pray_reading. I Will re read it again and put it into practice. l pray that the grace of the Lord Jesus would be sufficient to me and others to practice it daily. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  17. Thanks brethren Tom for giving me a postive turning point in my life.God bless you so much.

  18. Adriana Rengifo

    Thank you brother for this fellowship. We practiced it last night in our home pray meeting and made a big difference in the enjoyment of the word. We were able to pray in such a sweet way after we pray read the word that all of us got encouraged by coming to the word of God by prayer. We wish it was in Spanish for others to be able to have this rich word. I will try to translate at least the titles 🙂 Praise the Lord

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad the twelve practical points on pray-reading the Word made a big difference in your home prayer meeting. It’s so good that we can handle God’s Word in such a spontaneous and refreshing way by applying these twelve tips. I’m reminded that pray-reading God’s Word should include thanks, praise and singing. We can “thank-read,” “praise-read,” and “sing-read” the Word. This enables us to touch the Lord in a richer and higher way. May many more of the Lord lovers enjoy this blessing and be richly supplied through God’s Word. Thanks for the encouraging comment.

  19. Angela

    Feeding and drinking, Lord Jesus, of Thee,
    Feeding by reading, and drinking by prayer;
    Reading and praying, I eat and I drink,
    Praying and reading-Lord, Thou art my fare.

    Here, O my Lord, may I feast upon Thee;
    Flood with Thy Spirit and fill by Thy Word;
    May, Lord, Thou be such a feast unto me
    As man hath never enjoyed nor e’er heard. Feed me Lord Jesus!!!

    1. Tom Smith


      That is a great hymn to support the point of this post. That is, our coming to God’s word should be mainly for spiritual nourishment. This was the pattern of the Lord Jesus when He said, “Man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God.” May we pray-read the Word to live on every word. Thanks for the confirming comment.

  20. chitanika bwalya

    I want to know GOD MORE AND MORE

    1. Tom Smith

      Amen! Me too. That is why I come to Him in His word each day, to know Him by being nourished with Him. Keep feeding on His word, just a few verses, properly digested each day, will cause you to grow in the Lord and live because of Him (John 6:57).

  21. Tawana

    Thank you for this simple and direct tips!!!

  22. Rose Rowe-Taylor

    Thank you bro Tom for providing these 12 tips to effectively pray-read and get the nourishment in the word. I tried it sequentially and it worked. I must confess even though I love pray-reading it became a routine with little enjoyment but now when I pray-read the word I feel nourished and satisfied. I intend to pass them to others as well so that we will be filled with the word of God

    1. Tom Smith


      Thank you for your sharing your experience in practicing these 12 tips on how to pray-read the word to be spiritually nourished. Sadly, our reading of the Bible easily becomes routine. I believe that we all need this reminder to receive God’s Word in a finer and more thorough way. It’s like chewing our food more to have better nourishment, better digestion. Even the best food (the word of God), won’t adequately nourish us if we receive it in a hasty or routine way. We need to extract the essence of God’s word, which is spirit and life (John 6:63) and the best way I know to do this is by means of “all prayer,” (Eph. 6:17-18) that is, all kinds of prayer–calling prayers, thanking prayers, petitioning prayers, singing prayers, praising prayers. It is in this way that we receive the word that is the Spirit to be our daily life supply. May the Lord richly supply you as you pursue Him in His word.

  23. Tsegaye

    It’s wonderful and helpful Thank you you service God bless you more and more.

  24. Ruak Redniham

    I thank the Lord for revealing this page to me on facebook and how to receive nourishment from the Word of God. This is something i have been desiring because i am so ignorant of how to pray and connect to the Lord in spirit and have a meaningful conversation with him. Thank you Tom Smith for the 12 tips on pray reading and God bless you.

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you enjoyed the post on pray-reading. I have found this helpful practice to be a source of spiritual nourishment over many years. By receiving the word by means of all prayer in spirit, the the Lord speaks to us and supplies us with Himself as life to live a normal Christian life. May the Lord supply you richly as you come to His words by means of prayer.

  25. Philipose

    Amazing, this very effective way to contact the wonderful person our Lord Jesus Christ

  26. Seongyong

    This is quite a practical and detailed way to practice Pray-Reading the Word of God. I will print this posting and share this with other saints. Thank you!

    1. Tom Smith

      Seongyong, Glad you found the post helpful. Sadly, pray-reading can become routine for many. If we take it merely as a technique without a personal contact with the Lord even the best ways won’t work. But I’m reminded of the Lord’s words in John 5:39-40, “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that testify concerning Me. Yet you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” We need to be reminded to come to the Lord Jesus whenever we come to God’s Word. IN the next chapter. the Lord Jesus promised “he who comes to Me shall by no means hunger” (John 6:35b). So we need to consider that our coming to the Word is coming to the Lord and turn our heart to the Lord that the veil may be taken away and so that we can enjoy the Lord as the life-giving and freeing Spirit (2 Cor. 3:16).

  27. Annis Andrews

    This is the first time seeing this post , and find I very interesting, I am starting right now, thank you I needed this.

    1. Tom Smith

      When we realize that the Bible is the God-breathed word, we must also learn to touch the Word in a new way. We cannot merely read it for biblical knowledge. We need come to the Lord Himself, as the Living Word (John 1:1, 14; 1 John 1:1-2) contained in and conveyed through God’s written word (5:39-40). When we receive this word by means of prayer with our God-contacting spirit (Eph. 6:17-18) we get spirit and life from the Word that nourishes us and enables us to grow in Christ (John 6:63). Pray the Word; sing the Word and speak the Word and I believe you will discover a fresh supply to live the Christian life.

  28. angelina.rafael

    thank you so much for the tips on how to pray the words.God Bless You.

  29. Tom Smith

    Pray-reading the Word has been such a blessing to me for many years so I can’t help but testify to its benefits. Proper pray-reading enables us to receive the nourishment to grow in Christ so it is my desire to help others also learn the effective way to daily receive God’s Word by means of prayer. Thanks for the comment and keep practicing to pray with God’s word.

  30. Oyefunke Koleowo

    Pray-reading has been a blessing to me. the technique is so simple and very effective. i am using it today as a bible study reference on a Topic; “Living by the Word” God bless you and the Ministry Tom Smith.

  31. Tom Smith

    Glad you found pray-reading an effective way to digest the Word of God. Such daily nourishment is essential to our growth in Christ. Thanks for the confirming comment.

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