Praying scripture is a powerful way to pray for yourself and others. I often use this way to pray when I find a scripture that seems to speak directly to a person or situation.
For example, I’ve often prayed Jeremiah 29:11-13 for my children. I pray that they will know that God has a plan for their lives, to give them a future and a hope, and that they will seek God with their whole hearts. These words of God filled with hope and affirmation seem just right to pray for my children.
Recently, I’ve realized that I can also take some of the scriptures that are warnings or admonishments and pray them for myself and others as well. I’ve not often used some of these words in prayer because of their negative connotation, but the Holy Spirit prompted me to pray the opposite of them.
For example, a few months ago I was reading in 2 Timothy and came across verse 7 “ Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth,” (NKJV). This verse perfectly describes a friend of mine who loves to study and learn, but thus far has rejected the truth of God’s word. I began praying the opposite of this verse for my friend. “God, thank you that you have given ______ an incredible mind that is always seeking, always learning. I pray that he will be always learning yet able to accept your word as truth. Amen.”
Another example of praying the opposites came to me just a few days ago as I was reading in Isaiah chapter 1. Verses 5 and 6 are talking about how the whole person has been stricken with sickness due to rebellion. Note: I am NOT saying that anyone who is sick is rebellious! In this particular case God was talking about rebellious Judah and how most of the people were in such rebellion that the “whole head is sick and the whole heart is faint,” (v 5). Verse 6 goes on to say, “From the sole of the foot even to the head there is nothing sound in it only bruises, welts and raw wounds, not pressed out or bandaged, nor softened with oil,” (NASB).
These words struck me, because if any of you have been reading a blog for Andrea Vellinga (For the Love of Andrea), a survivor of the Indiana State Fair tragedy, which her brother has been writing for her, one of the ways he has been asking people to pray for Andrea is a complete “head-to-toe healing.” As I read these verses in Isaiah, I thought, “That’s where his prayer came from!” Then I realized what a wonderful way this is to pray for anyone who is sick, no matter what the illness is. We can pray specifically for, say, someone’s diabetes to be healed, but if we also include prayers for healing from the “sole of their feet to their head,” we can also be praying for problems we don’t know about that may exist and could be contributing to the diabetes. And, these verses also refer to the whole person—the” whole heart,” so we need to remember that praying for spiritual healing or emotional healing is just as important as physical healing, and sometimes they are connected to each other.
Now, I don’t shy away from some of these “hard” verses, realizing that I can use them to “pray the opposites” for myself and others.
What about you? Do you have an opposite verse you like to pray for others? Feel free to share it below.
Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net (image of Bible and praying hands)