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Psalm chapter 23
1The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
Praying back Part 2 – praying for family and friends
What you’ll see next is an example of what I often do in prayer – praying back to God what He’s said to me in His Word. Yet I can’t pray back to God from His Word if I’m not reading His Word…I’m learning that prayer is another way to plant His Word deep into the soil of my soul for a good harvest of Spirit fruits in my life, and in the lives of whom I pray for – be they friends or family.
Often, praying back God’s Word to Him for friends and family doesn’t just help me to focus on Scripture but to focus on what’s really important in my life – His many good gifts which I can easily and often overlook as I’m busily moving along in my own trajectory of thinking that this is best (while ignoring the still small voice in my soul telling me that it really isn’t…).
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid for You are close beside me.
Father, You not only know about dark valleys, You go before and You go with me and my friends and family into them. Thank You that there’s nothing bigger than You, including pain, fear, grief, or loss. Please help all of us to not be afraid of whatever is there in the valley. Please help us to trust only in You, not what we think we can do for ourselves. Please help us to point each other to You, especially when the valley is dark and long and more than we can bear.
Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me
O God, I am thinking of how my friends and family need to know this truth right now – that they are protected and comforted only by You. Thank You that You are close with them, even if I can’t be. Thank You that You alone can do far more for them than I can, even in my best efforts. Please put strong walls around their lives and in their hearts to guard them from the enemy’s lies. Please remind them that no matter what happens, You are there with them as Protector and Comforter in the deepest parts of the soil of their souls.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies
Father, thank You that You prepare feasts for me and for my friends and family! Thank You that Your feasts are always full of the delight of joy, hope, strength, and courage, no matter what lies around us. Please remind my friends and family that nothing can stop Your preparation of the feasts for them. Please remind all of us that Your provision is always in abundance and at the right time to bring You glory and for the good of Your people. Please strengthen us in the waiting for the feasts when we so desperately long for them to be put before us now.
The prayers from those verses are one small example of how I might approach praying back God’s Word to Him for friends and family from only a few verses. Praying Scripture back to God can most likely look very different for each and every one of us because each and every one of us has been placed by God in specific places with specific people for specific tasks. He knows our families and friends even better than we do. He loves our friends and families even more than we do…
All of us have been called to do good in praying for all the people God has placed in our lives, including those family members or friends who aren’t following God in ways we long for them to do. Nothing can stop God in giving good gifts of conviction (and hopefully, confession and change!) in the act of praying back Scripture to Him for ourselves and for our friends and family. It’s always comforting to know that the Holy Spirit is alive and at work – not just in me, but in family and friends. Only God can do the good work that needs to be done in a life, no matter how much I might think that my striving can accomplish something in my life, much less in someone else’s…
In case you missed Praying back Part 1 and would like to read it, here’s the link:
Stay tuned to the blog for Part 3 of Praying back… in the meantime, keep praying for yourself and your friends and family through Scripture in whatever verses God places on your heart or mind to pray. He’s speaking; are you listening?
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Stay tuned for Good Ground, Volume 2 coming Fall 2022, also from Northeastern Baptist Press! (and for something else new also coming soon from Northeastern Baptist Press…)
Written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2022.