Twenty years ago, just a couple of years before Stormie Omartian published her wonderful books, The Power of a Praying Parent and The Power of a Praying Wife, the Lord was also graciously teaching a young, overwhelmed and tired mommy in southern California about the power of praying God's Word.
In times of need, I always loved to find the perfect Bible verse to turn into a prayer. Like, when my firstborn was little and began to have bad dreams. We memorized Psalm 4:8. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. Then, it became our prayer each night.
Soon after our fourth child arrived, my husband and I moved with our four small children, away from family and friends, to a new city so we could answer God's call for him to attend law school. Once there, fears assaulted me each night. In desperation, I slowly memorized Psalm 91. It became my prayer during the long dark nights as I cried out for God to deliver me from the taunting giant of fear that was my Goliath.
While my husband was in law school, I came across Daniel 1:20, In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better...Although my husband was a very intelligent man, I knew he needed extra prayers for wisdom as he attended law school, worked full time and studied, all while caring for our family. The verse in the book of Daniel became my daily prayer for him.
Titus 2, about older women teaching the younger ones, became the cry of my heart during the lonely season in our new home. I did my best to manage our household, plus raise and home school our small children. But with my husband gone so much of the time, and no family, friends or mentors in our new community, it was very difficult. I felt like I was failing most of the time. I reminded God more than once of His promise in John 14:26. The...Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things...Then I would pray, "Lord, until You send an older woman into my life, please let Your Holy Spirit teach me how to love my husband and children, how to be self-controlled and pure, how to be busy at home, how to be kind, and how to be subject to my husband, so that no one will malign Your Word Lord God.
During those years, having any type of regular "quiet time," to read my Bible, pray or journal was nearly impossible. But one day, when my youngest son was three I remember thinking, I have got to spend time in God's word every day. I wanted to read through the Bible, something I had done twice in my BC (before children) days. So, I loaded my little tribe into our mini-van and headed to our local Christian Bookstore. There I purchased a One Year Bible. As I drove home, I decided I would read through that One Year Bible even if it took me five years!
The next few weeks, I read as much as I could each day. I loved reading the familiar passages in Genesis and Matthew as well as a Psalm and a Proverb. Then, one day, I had an idea. I resolved to write down every verse I came across that talked about being a woman of God. I found a few index cards, stuffed them in the Bible and watched for verses that spoke about being a Godly woman. I remember one of the first verses I copied onto an index card was I Samuel 25:3, 33. Carefully I printed, Abigail was an intelligent and beautiful woman...May you be blessed for your good judgment. Then I slipped it into my purse, where I could easily grab it and turn it into my prayer. "Lord," I prayed each time I read it, "teach me to be an intelligent and beautiful woman like Abigail was and bless me with good judgement."
In the very demanding and stressful season I found myself, I desperately wanted to be a godly woman, wife and mother. For more than a year, I carried around my cards, praying the verses during soccer practice, waiting for a doctor's appointment or watching my children play at the park. Finally, one day I thought, Lord, you must be so tired of me saying these same prayers day in and day out. This is just silly. I'm going to stop. But to my surprise, over the next few days, God began to reveal specific answers to the prayers I had sincerely been asking in the hope that He would hear and change me.
I remember the first time it happened. It was early in the morning. I sat in bed with my Bible, while my husband got ready for work. He usually wakes up happy and always has a great sense of humor. Me, on the other hand, I wake up slowly. I want my coffee. And, I don't want to talk. That morning, I was not amused as he told me something light hearted and funny. But before I could respond with an obnoxious remark, one of the verses I had been praying came to my mind, "You can win your husband over without words by your behavior." I froze! I clapped my hand over my mouth. And inside, I sang out, It's working. It's working!
I was so excited! And then a new thought occurred to me, if this is happening in my life, then what if I prayed the scriptures for my husband and my children? After we finished our school work that morning, I rounded up my posse for a trip to Walmart. Once there, I was delighted to find a spiral bound set of multi-colored index cards. Pink cards for my verses, blue for my hubby and green for the kids, I plotted my plan as I drove home with my treasure. Then each day, when I read my Bible, I started to look for truths and promises I could write down on my cards. Before long scriptures filled my pastel colored cards, and I began to expectantly pray God's word for myself and my family.
Two years later, I was thrilled to discover Stormie Omartian's book, The Power of a Praying Parent. And shortly after that, The Power of a Praying Wife. They reaffirmed and taught me even more about praying God's Word for my family. And, I expanded the sections in my index cards to include the truths and promises in the Bible about self-control, finances, renewing my mind and many areas where I needed God's wisdom and help.
Now, twenty years later, praying God's Word is still one of the most powerful practices of my Christian faith. It has transformed the way I pray. My prayers are less self-centered and more in-line with God's will. And my faith has grown by leaps and bounds as I have watched and experienced God's answers when I pray with His truths and promises as my guide. It's not a magical formula for my prayers to be answered instantly or even the way I hope or imagine they might be, but it is a beautiful way to learn to pray the heart of God for ourselves and the ones we love.
As I close, I pray you will begin to look for the promises and truths in God's Word that you can turn into prayers for yourself and your family. I encourage you to read Stormie Omartian's books. I can guarantee that your prayer life will be transformed. And, I believe you will see answers to prayer like never before. I would love to hear from you with Bible verses you find, answers to prayer you've received or questions you have about how to find the scriptures to pray.