HOW TO PRAY WHEN YOU’RE STRUGGLING TO UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE by Jen Wilkin for Core Christianity
Prayer Changes Our Study
Prayer is the means by which we implore the Holy Spirit to take up residence in our study time. Without prayer, our study is nothing but an intellectual pursuit. With prayer, it is a means of communing with the Lord. Prayer is what changes our study from the pursuit of knowledge to the pursuit of God himself.
You may be familiar with the acronym PART as a memory prompt for the key elements of prayer:
Praise: glorify God for who he is and what he has done.
Admit: confess to God where you have fallen short.
Request: ask God to forgive your sin and to meet your needs.
Thank: give thanks to God for who he is and what he has done.
Pray before You Study
Begin by praising God for giving us the revelation of his will and character in his Word. If you are in the midst of a book, praise him for specific attributes that your study has already revealed. If you are at the beginning of a book, praise him for being merciful and gracious to grant you the gift of the Bible.
Know your own set of insecurities and weaknesses as you set out to study, and lay them before the Lord. Confess that you can’t do it and that it feels too hard. Confess any sin that might inhibit your study (pride? impatience? distraction?). Confess your lack of desire.
Ask the Lord for ears to hear and eyes to see as you study. Ask him to help you guard the time you have set aside from distractions; ask him to clear your mind of other concerns. Ask him to reveal his character and your sin. Ask him to make his Word come alive for you in such a way that you know him better and see your own need of him more clearly.
Thank him that he has revealed himself in the Bible and that he has given you the ability to know him. Thank him for time to study. Thank him for the gift of Jesus Christ.