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Why Prayer Matters—and How It Will Transform Your Bible Study

Can we just be honest for a second? Prayer is one of those things most of us know we should engage in more—but don’t. Whether it’s because of fears or uncertainty, busyness, or just because we’re distracted, praying can seem foreign and cumbersome. We might even wonder, “Do I really need to pray that often? What’s the point?”

Why Should We Pray?

Jesus’ life shows us that habitual and authentic prayer is not a luxury for us as believers—it’s a necessity!

Throughout His ministry, Jesus modeled a life of prayer. Retreating from crowds to mountains or the wilderness, He made it a habit to spend time alone with God. For example, Mark 1:35 says, “In the early
morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was
praying there.” In Luke 11:1-4, when His disciples asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray,” Jesus even provided a model prayer for them—and for us—called the Lord’s Prayer:

And he said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
    for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”

And at one of the most critical moments in His earthly life, right before He was arrested and crucified, Jesus sought God—and encouraged His disciples to do the same: “‘Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak’” (Matthew 26:41).

Isn’t that incredible? Jesus, the Son of God, who has lived eternally in perfect communion with His Father, still sought His Father’s company regularly. During His time on Earth, Jesus was tempted in every way as we are yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). And His discipline of prayer shows us that He knew what we so often forget—it’s only through God’s strength that we can face the temptations and trials of this life.

What If Understanding the Bible Better Was Just a Prayer Away?

When it comes to Bible study, how important is prayer? Here at Yarrow, we believe continual prayer is one of the most important—and most overlooked—aspects of Bible study.

In Ephesians 1, Paul prays for the Ephesian believers: “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,” (verse 17).

He continues in verses 18-19, “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.”

Then he spends the next five chapters detailing just that! Verse after verse, Paul describes the hope of our calling in Christ, the amazing inheritance that is ours in Him, and the unbelievable power God exercises on our behalf.

To truly understand Scripture, like Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we need the “eyes of our hearts” to be opened. This happens through prayer. When we seek God throughout our study of the Bible, asking for His Spirit to give us wisdom and insight as we read, we’ll “behold wondrous things” in His Word (Psalm 119:18).

Then—and here’s the really amazing part!—we’ll grow in our relationship with God, and we’ll see life, God, and ourselves more clearly.

3 Ways to Incorporate Prayer into Your Bible Study

Since we think prayer is such a big deal, all our Yarrow Bible studies are centered around prayer.

  1. One of the ways we encourage prayer is by providing guided prayers that help you start a conversation with God and tell Him what’s on your mind. Just as Jesus gave us a model for how to pray, we think it can be helpful when someone else’s words give voice to what’s on your heart at a given moment. You can check out one of our guided prayers at the end of this post!
  2. Even though guided prayers are great, sometimes you just need to talk to God using your own words—and a pen! Journaling your prayers is a helpful way to stay focused as you talk to the Father. Plus, as God answers your prayers, your journal becomes a record of the faithfulness of God to you. That’s why throughout every Yarrow study we’ve included sections for you to write out your prayers.
  3. And yet… it’s so easy to forget that prayer is a two-way conversation, isn’t it? Sometimes we need to take a second to breathe—and to give the Holy Spirit time and space to move in our hearts and speak to us through Scripture. So, another way we encourage prayer in Yarrow studies is by providing moments of stillness or meditation. By intentionally being quiet before God, we put Psalm 37:7 into practice, which says, “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him.”

Start the Conversation

However you choose to pray, just remember that prayer is key in Bible study! Seeking God and sitting in His presence through prayer as you read Scripture will help you understand the Bible better and sense how God might be speaking to you through it.

To get you started, here’s a guided prayer from our Bible study, Known: A Study of Identity, Part One.

I know the Bible has much to teach me.
I know Your Holy Spirit has much to show me.
I come before You today excited to learn about the identity You have given me.
Thank You for the blessing of Your Scriptures.
Forgive me when I take it for granted.
Help me along the way to understand and grow in my love for You.
Help me as I try to give myself grace and remain consistent in my study.

Keep Praying—and Studying!

Did you enjoy this prayer? For more prayers like this one, check out our Bible study Known: A Study of Identity, the first part of a four-part series on identity—available to order now!

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