The Role of Prayer in Bible Study

I’m guessing you are a student of God’s Word. You probably wouldn’t be reading this blog unless the study of God’s Word was important to you. Perhaps you’re evenbible like the noble Christians of Berea who “searched the scriptures daily!” Whether we are a devoted, daily student or a sporadic reader with intentions of doing better, we all want to get the most out of our time studying the Word.

I noticed something recently while attending a prayer meeting at our church that has changed how I study God’s Word. As I was praying, I paused for a few moments to read some scripture, then went back to praying. After praying awhile, I again opened my Bible and spent some time reading. Throughout that hour-long prayer meeting I went back and forth between praying and studying the Word. I noticed during that time of study, the Word seemed to come alive! I sensed a remarkable clarity as I read. Meaningful insights and revelatory concepts leapt from the pages. I saw things in the Word that I had never seen before.

It dawned on me that by studying God’s Word while in a season of prayer I was bigstock-Man-Praying-4785565putting myself in a spiritually receptive position. While praying, I was connecting with God and tuning out the world. I was drawing close to Him and was attentive to His voice. And in that spiritual setting, my mind and spirit were very open to what God’s Word was saying.

I’ve always tried to be consistent in daily prayer and in daily study of God’s Word – I just haven’t always practiced those spiritual disciplines together! You may be thinking, “I already knew that!” I realize it seems somewhat obvious, but have we really intentionally linked prayer with Bible study? Have we purposely prayed, while studying, and asked God to help us open our hearts and minds to what He was speaking?

I encourage you to try it! Don’t begin your Bible study without some meaningful time in prayer. And then while you are studying, pause occasionally and pray. Draw near Him, not only with your mind as you study, but with your heart and ears as you pray.

Here are a few suggestions of how to pray during your Bible study time:

Repentance: Before you even open your Bible, spend some time asking God to cleanse your heart and mind. Ask Him to forgive you of any sins that you’ve willingly or inadvertently committed. Clearing the clutter and dirt out will prepare us to better receive His Word.

Worship: Before you begin your study, spend some time drawing close to Him in worship and praise. By drawing near Him, you will be able to better hear His voice as He speaks through His Word.

Pray some specific requests:

  1. Ask God to help you tune out the World and focus on what He is speaking through His Word.
  2. Pray that His Spirit of wisdom, revelation and understanding will touch your mind and help you fully grasp what He is saying.
  3. Ask him to show you specifically what He wants to speak to you and how best to apply His Word to your daily life.

From time to time as you study, go back and spend time in prayer revisiting repentance, worship and asking for His guidance in study.

The Word of God is not a cold, impersonal compilation of text. It is God speaking to us!  What better way to get the most from our study of His Written Word than to draw near Him personally through prayer while we study? Mix your prayer and your study time together and see if it doesn’t bring God’s Word alive to you in a deeper and more profound way.

~Matthew Ball