Most years I challenge myself and others to read through the Bible. I think it is a beneficial discipline and blessing whether we achieve all or part. I would like to add a new dimension to your reading. It is called 'praying God’s Word.'
I have noticed that some of our Baptist leaders are 'praying God’s Word'. This adds a new aspect to your reading. Several authors, including Beth Moore, have written articles and books on 'praying God’s Word'. If spiritual leaders use and encourage this method, we should take a look.
First, why should we 'pray God’s Word?' Hebrews 4:12 says God’s Word is alive and full of power. So we are praying words back to God that change life and energize us.
I Corinthians 2:16 says "we have the mind of Christ." The written word is the written mind of Christ, and the Holy Spirit gives us the communication on the mind of Christ.
II Corinthians 10:4 says we "have divine power to demolish strongholds." Praying God’s Word is a divine weapon.
John 17:7 says God’s word is truth. When we pray God’s Word, we are praying truth back to God in prayer. Sometimes our prayers are not truth. For example, we pray for God to be with us. If we are a follower of
Jesus through salvation, He is with us constantly because His Spirit lives in us.
How do we pray God’s Word? As you read His Word, there will be verses that stand out. Take the verse or a portion and pray it back to God. Jeremiah 31:3 says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love." You might say, 'Thank you Father for demonstrating a love to me that is not dependent upon my feelings.'
Maybe you will try this dimension of 'praying God’s Word' as you continue reading through the Bible in 2014.
I want to say thank you to all the Pastors who, day after day, love and shepherd their congregations. To you I dedicate this writing by Dr. Steve Drake.
I Am a Shepherd
“I realize the sheep I tend do not belong to me. There is a Chief Shepherd to whom all the sheep belong. I did not pay for the sheep-He did. He travelled a great distance to procure these sheep. He lived a life of
perfection for their sake. He fought death, hell and the grave for these sheep and He won. He healed their wounds, comforted their hearts, and nourished their bodies, souls, and spirits. He died to give the sheep His life. Now He has handed His sheep to me to care for them on His behalf. I am a shepherd.
I must give account to Him for the way I care for His sheep. I will seek to feed them well, in the green
pastures of the Word of Life. I will walk beside them when they pass through the darkest valley. I will not run them to fatigue, but will cause them to lie down in the green pastures and lead them beside the still
waters. I will love His sheep and lead them as He leads them. I am a shepherd.
I will do all I can to multiply the fold. While I recognize that sheep produce sheep, I will remember I am a sheep serving as a shepherd and will be an example to the flock on bringing other sheep in to the fold. I am a shepherd.
I know that sheep can be trying at times, and may need rebuke. I will seek always to speak to them with
wisdom. I will try to be a part of the solution rather than part of the problem. I will endeavor to guide my sheep toward “what’s right” rather than “who’s right.” I will pledge to bring my sheep together rather than scatter them, keeping my eye on the unity of the Spirit for the glory of God.
There are many other shepherds whom I know. Some are good shepherds who love their flock because they love the Chief Shepherd. Other shepherds care little for the flock, using it to enhance their reputation and
decorate their resumes. They claim to love the Chief Shepherd, and I will not judge their claim. But I will not look to them for wisdom or follow their example. I will pray for them and speak to them the truth in love. Being a shepherd has more to do with the sheep than with me.
I will seek to be with my sheep when lambs are born and as they grow. I will be there when the younger sheep play and when the older sheep die. If I appear disheveled, it may be because I have been pulling a lamb from a ditch or saving one from a wolf. At times I may need to save myself from the wolves. There may be times when I dirty the floor, because I have been in the pen feeding, leading, and loving the sheep.
I am grateful to the Chief Shepherd for His trust in me. May I always remember that my calling is one of
oversight and not ownership. When generations of sheep think of me in years to come, may they recall with kind thoughts the life of one who had their highest good always, in his heart.”
To those Shepherds who aspire to this we rise up and bless you.