"Pray without ceasing"
1 Thessalonians 5:17
On days when you are not using the Four Step Bible Study with a group, you may use this version of the Four Steps for your daily devotional. You will pray through sections of scripture just like you did with the group. The steps have been modified for use by one person, instead of a group.
By following the Four Steps each day, you will be developing a more intimate relationship with God. Every day you will be reading God's words to God. After a period of time you will pass through the initial awkward phase of this way and enter into real experience. Then you may even become a group leader for a Four Step Bible Study!
Scripture tells us to pray "without ceasing... at all times... in everything... continually." 1
We are to "Walk by the Spirit." 2
So... in our time with God, we will listen prayerfully, read scripture prayerfully and observe scripture prayerfully. Then we will pray the scriptures. When we pray scripture, we pray the heart of God.
Each step builds progressively on the previous step. Please do not skip any part of any step.
Step 1) Listen Prayerfully
a) Begin with prayers of praise with requests for understanding.
b) Ask God to lead you in prayer, reminding you of who and what to pray for. Pray for those whom the Holy Spirit brings to mind.
Step 2) Read Prayerfully
a) Read a passage of scripture, beginning where you left of yesterday.
b) Read the passage to God.
Step 3) Observe Prayerfully
a) What does the Focus Scripture say about Man?
b) What does it say about God?
c) What does it say that you can Pray?
Step 4) Pray Scripture
a) Pray the scriptures you have read today:
Offer prayers of praise and other prayers pertinent to the passage as you read God's words to God.
Step 5) Live Prayerfully... Walk by the Spirit!
This step extends beyond the time of today's devotional time.
Scripture tells us that we should pray "without ceasing... at all times... in everything... continually."1 So, it should be no surprise that we are to live prayerfully.
The scriptures have shown us what to pray in every occasion. See the section below titled "What Can I Pray?" for twenty-five prayers which are endorsed by scripture. If you will prayerfully meditate on those prayer scriptures for many months... until the Holy Spirit has woven those scriptural prayers into your daily life, then you will begin to understand what it means to "walk by the Spirit."
Prayer is a critical ingredient if you want to walk by the Spirit. Why? We hear the Spirit by prayer (prayers for wisdom, revelation, knowledge of God's will and etc.). We also obey the Spirit by prayer (prayers for greater love, faith, obedience, and etc.). Since it is by prayer that we hear and obey the Spirit, it is by prayer that we "walk by the Spirit." To hear and obey the Spirit is to "walk by the Spirit" (subchapter 4.7).
Many of the things which the Holy Spirit does are listed below under the title "Works of the Holy Spirit." Consider these as you meditate prayerfully on the scriptural prayers in "What Can I Pray?" below. You will see that many of the works of the Holy Spirit are God's answer to scriptural prayers.
Explanation of Step 4
This step may be awkward at first, as new things often are. You read God's words to God in Step 2. Then you offered prayers pertinent to the passage in Step 3. In praying the scripture, we combine those two steps.
In praying the scripture, we offer prayers pertinent to the passage as we read God's words to God. You may offer praise and thanksgiving. You may request understanding and strength or make other requests for yourself and others. An example of praying scripture is provided below in the section titled "Pray Scripture."
As you attempt to pray the scripture you may wonder what you should pray. Twenty-five examples of scriptural prayers are provided in the section below titled "What Can I Pray?"
What Can I Pray?
Scripture reveals specific things that we can pray. Below are twenty-five examples. The subchapter where each prayer is explained is shown in parenthesis:
Knowledge of God's will (4.2c),
Enlightened eyesight and revelation (4.2d),
Spiritual Gifts (4.6d)
Words for witnessing (4.2b)
Intimacy with God (4.3j,d)
Escape from temptation (4.3h)
Deliverance from spiritual weakness (4.3k)
Open doors for the Gospel (4.4c)
God's word would spread rapidly (4.4h)
More workers in God's kingdom (4.4a)
Blessing on enemies (4.4g)
Help in time of war (4.6c)
"For this cause, we also, since the day we heard this, don't cease praying and making requests for you, that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, that you may walk worthily of the Lord, to please him in all respects," (Colossians 1:9-10).
EXAMPLE OF PRAYING SCRIPTURE:
"My Lord, Your apostle Paul prayed repeatedly to You, asking that You fill the members of the Colossian church with knowledge of Your will, in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, that they may walk worthily of You, to please You in all respects. I praise You, that You will reveal Your will to us as we ask for it. I praise You, that we can know Your will sufficiently, to please You in all respects. I ask that You fill all of us with knowledge of Your will... all for your glory."
MORE ABOUT PRAYING SCRIPTURE
Now you have seen one example of praying scripture, using Colossians 1:9-10. If you would like to experience another example praying scripture, turn to subchapter 7.4, "Lets Pray Scripture Together." You can also learn more about praying scripture in subchapter 1.2. It's titled "PRAY the Scriptures."
Walk by the Spirit
"Walk by the Spirit" is a scriptural term. We see it only in Galatians 5:16 and 5:25. It is the same thing as certain other scriptural terms you may be familiar with. For example: , "Abide in me" or "Remain in me" (John 15:7), "following the Lamb" (Revelation 14:4), "walk in the light" (1John 1:7) and "Fellowship with God"(1 John 1:3 and 2 Corinthians 13:14). All of these terms are synonymous with "Walk by the Spirit". Walking by the Spirit is explained in detail from the scriptures in subchapter 4.7.
Works of the Holy Spirit
Scripture reveals tiers of spiritual authority in the invisible spiritual realm. There is an authority structure in God's kingdom and in the fallen angelic realm as well. Scripture also reveals how the two realms interact. Within God's realm, Jesus was conceived, led and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Jesus and the Holy Spirit spoke only what the Father commanded them to speak. Authority within the Trinity has changed over time according to the will of the Father. After Pentecost, the Father caused the Holy Sprit to dwell within believers at the request of the Son, Jesus . These truths are revealed from the scriptures in subchapter 3.1.
The Holy Spirit prophesies, preaches, teaches, speaks through us, provides words for witnessing, testifies, convicts unbelievers, reminds us of scripture, leads, warns and intercedes. He can be resisted and lied to. These truths were revealed from the scriptures in subchapter 3.3.
The Holy Spirit provides power to hope, comprehend, witness, guard the Gospel and do combat in the spiritual realm (subchapter 3.4).
The Holy Spirit regenerates, renews, sanctifies, gives life, seals, brings joy, peace and true confession. He is a gift and a conduit for gifts of God's love (subchapter 3.5)
Group Bible Study
To use the Four Step Bible Study in a group setting, click here.
In Step 1 you asked God to lead you in your prayer time. You have experienced watching in prayer (Colossians 4:2-3). In Step 2 you engaged directly with God who is within you as you read God's words to God. In Step 3 you searched scripture for prayers to pray and prayed those prayers. In Step 4 you prayed the scripture. You prayed the heart of God and the will of God. You have had an intimate time with your Lord.
The section titled "Pray Scripture" provided examples of praying the scriptures.
"What Can I Pray?" revealed twenty-five scriptural prayers.
In Step 5 you were admonished to live prayerfully, praying scriptural prayers... to Walk by the Spirit. When you walk by the Spirit, you walk in the light, abide in Christ and have fellowship with God.
1) 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, Ephesians 6:18, Philippians 4:6 and Hebrews 13:15, as presented in subchapter 4.12.
2) Galatians 5:16, 25. See subchapter 4.7, "Walk by the Spirit."