Prayer before scripture

Lord, inspire me to read your Scriptures and to meditate upon them day and night. I beg you to give me real understanding of what I read, that I in turn may put its precepts into practice. Yet, I know that understanding and good intentions are worthless, unless rooted in your graceful love. So I ask that the words of Scripture may also be not just signs on a page, but channels of grace into my heart. Amen. (Origen, 184-253 AD)

 —Bookmark used by Holy Name of Jesus Bible Study in Minnesota

Indulgence that was granted by Pope Leo XIII in 1898 to all the faithful who “shall read for at least a quarter of an hour the books of the Sacred Scripture with the veneration due to the Divine Word and as spiritual reading, an indulgence of 300 days.” (Preces et Pia opera, 645.)

Bible Study Prayers

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prayer before scripture

This lesson is part of Mel Lawrenz’ “How to Study the Bible” series. If you know someone or a group who would like to follow along on this journey through Scripture, they can get more info and sign up to receive these essays via email here.

Mel Lawrenz is away this week. “How to Study the Bible” resumes next week.

Below are two prayers that may be helpful in your pattern of reading and studying Scripture. And here is a sermon Mel Lawrenz gave a few days ago about how to make prayer a practical pattern in real life…

Real Prayer from Elmbrook Church on Vimeo.

A Prayer Before Reading Scripture

Open my eyes, gracious Lord, as I turn to your word.
I long to know you, to understand life, and to be changed.
Examine me, Lord, by the floodlight of your truth.

Amen.

A Prayer After Reading Scripture

May the word I have read, Lord, be planted deeply in my mind and heart.
Help me not to walk away and forget it, but to meditate on it and obey it
and so built my life on the rock of your truth.

Amen.

(Both prayers are taken from the 95 prayers in Prayers for Our Lives.)

Mel Lawrenz trains an international network of Christian leaders, ministry pioneers, and thought-leaders. He served as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for ten years and now serves as Elmbrook’s minister at large. He has a Ph.D. in the history of Christian thought and is on the adjunct faculty of Trinity International University. Mel is the author of 18 books, the latest, How to Understand the Bible—A Simple Guide and Spiritual Influence: the Hidden Power Behind Leadership (Zondervan, 2012). See more of Mel’s writing at WordWay.

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Let your Scriptures be my chaste delight…

O Lord, perfect me and reveal those pages to me! See, your voice is my joy. Give me what I love… May the inner secrets of your words be laid open to me when I knock. This I beg by our Lord Jesus Christ in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:3) These are the treasures I seek in your books.

St. Augustine

Lord, inspire me to read your Scriptures and to meditate upon them day and night. I beg you to give me real understanding of what I need, that I in turn may put its precepts into practice. Yet, I know that understanding and good intentions are worthless, unless rooted in your graceful love. So I ask that the words of Scripture may also be not just signs on a page, but channels of grace into my heart. Amen.

– Origin, 184-253 AD

Teach me to seek you,

and reveal yourself to me as I seek: For unless you instruct me I cannot seek you, and unless you reveal yourself I cannot find you. Let me seek you in desiring you: let me desire you in seeking you. Let me find you in loving you: let me love you in finding you.

St Anselm of Canterbury

I am not trying, O Lord, to penetrate your loftiness,
for I cannot begin to match my understanding with it,
but I desire in some measure to understand your truth,
which my heart believes and loves.

For I do not seek to understand in order to believe,
but I believe in order to understand.
For this too I believe,
that ‘unless I believe, I shall not understand.

St Anselm of Canterbury

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