Reading the Bible to Learn How to Pray

I’m slowly reading this book on prayer by Tim Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God. Having heard how he speaks, it takes several times listening to a talk to digest and get the denseness of thought that he presents. Same thing with the book.

One chapter talked about praying to God requires that I know who I’m talking to. That’s reasonable; that makes sense. Who is this God? It cannot be just be what I hope or wish God could be. My own imagination isn’t swift and smart enough to conceive of a God big and strong enough that can get me through the storms and challenges of life.

In fact, if I believe the Bible to be the revelation of God, it is then those very words that reveal who God is, what He is like, and how He thinks and how He feels. I confess there’s a lot in the Bible that I don’t understand; and studying seminary helped some, but there’s so much more to getting to really know and understand God. It has to come through life experience and not merely cognitively knowing the words in the text. In other words, it’s not the Bible that we worship; it is the God who spoke those words that were written down by humans throughout history and how they echo what God wants to convey to me and to all of humanity. 

When God Speaks

As it was in the beginning, when God spoke, then it happened and it became. God said let there be light, and there was light. (in Genesis) God’s speaking is intricately connected to the thing that he speaks of, so closely connected, it’s practically and actually simultaneous. God did not speak and then He worked on creating something. There’s a saying that “words create worlds.” In the cosmic and biblical sense, God’s words literally created the world.

It follows then that the other words spoken by God, what we can read in the Bible, are words that are in process of creating a new reality in the world as we hear His words and respond in faith and obey; follow the prompting of His Spirit in us and be doers of the word and not merely hearers of the Word. (in James)

How the Bible and Prayer are Connected

As I started this experiment, I had no idea where this would go. I could have made a plan, but not being the planning type, I did not want to create more work for myself than I wanted to do in devoting my time and energy to praying, not to planning. I would talk to God through my blogging. I still haven’t quite figured out whether to write in first person or third person; or speak to God in second person. What I’m settling in on is to write, to type, with my own voice as my thoughts come to mind, and present these words with a posture of prayer. So I’m typing as if having this conversation with God, knowing that some readers are watching over my shoulders here. And that’s okay.

So what came together for me as I read that chapter on prayer, is, as I went on this path of demystifying prayer, it led me to this connection with the Bible. That to learn how to pray, I needed to read the Bible, not only to get to know who I was talking to and talking with, but also to receive and to get the words to pray and to speak back in response to God who has created with His words. When I get in sync with that, I’m getting more of the vocabulary and the words that form and shape my language, my voice, my prayer language.

I thought I was demystifying prayer by using my own language. And that is what I’m doing. Plus, my language is being refined and shaped as I pray in response to the words I read and understand in the Bible. What I can understand then is what has become demystifyed to me. And, that’s how it all comes around. I’m doing both demystifying prayer and demystifying the Bible!

I don’t know how well I’m articulating this for my readers; I’m glad you God know what I’m thinking and feeling here.

I’m really blown away and amazed at how demystifying prayer got connected so fittingly with demystifying the Bible. So the domain name for this blog was no accident. Demystifying.Bible has been the home where I am capturing a record of my words of prayer; they’re also capturing my growing understanding of who You are and growing in the experiential knowledge of your Word in the Bible. Voila.

Thank you God for a great Thanksgiving week last week with my family. I’m grateful for growing in my appreciating and desire for gratitude. It has been a long road to get here. And, there’s a lot more road to go, I think, whatever it is your will may be. You’ve numbered my days.

The countdown clock of my life is ticking. While I’m here on earth, I shall be grateful for every breath. Thank you for breathing life into me, every day, every moment. One day you will take my breath away and return me to dust. Thank you for that day when I’m absent from body and I’ll be present with you Lord. Instantly.

In the meantime, help my heart to rest in You. Keep reminding me that your goodness and mercy is following me all the days of my life. Your presence is always near. You will never leave me or abandon me. Be still my soul.