You are reading in subchapter 1.2 of chapter 1 in the free, global online book, Fellowship With God in the Sixth Path. Navigation at the top and bottom of each page, allows you to open the table of contents, visit the home page, ask questions or share your story. The arrow at the top right takes you to the next chapter.
In the previous subchapter we learned how to have fellowship with God while reading the scriptures. We read the scriptures to God, who is within us. While we read, we sought the heart of the passage, offered praise, made requests and yielded our hearts to His spirit. This is the way of the Fifth Path. It is an intimate time. I asked our Lord to give me an acronym for this way of coming to Him... to make it easy to remember. The acronym He gave me is P.R.A.Y.
This acronym reminds us of how to PRAY the scriptures in the way of the Fifth Path. Here is the PRAY acronym which was introduced to you in subchapter 1.1.
In this subchapter we will enter into its use in greater detail, depth, application and power.
The P in PRAY represents praise and thanksgiving!
- "Through him, then, let's offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of lips which proclaim allegiance to his name" (Hebrews 13:15).
- "Always rejoice. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
We are instructed to pray, praise, rejoice and give thanks continually. Surely we should do these things as we read scripture. If you desire to enter more deeply into these scriptures, please see the Endorsed Prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving in subchapters 4.5b and 4.5c.
The R in PRAY reminds us of how to read when we read scripture. We read to God who is within, seeking the heart of the passage.
In subchapter 1.1 you were admonished to never read scripture alone. But instead, to seek the heart of the passage, reading scripture to God who is within you.
The A in PRAY reminds us to ask for forgiveness, obedience, revelation and other requests pertinent to the passage. This can be easily remembered by the acronym F.O.R. The acronym F.O.R. tells us what to ask for as we PRAY scripture.
O: Obedience and Other requests
The Endorsed Prayers of Forgiveness, Obedience and Revelation are presented from the scriptures in subchapters 4.3i, 4.3f, 4.2d and 4.2c, respectively. Many think it odd to ask God for obedience. But this is precisely what the apostle Paul did:
- "Now I pray to God that you do no evil" (2 Corinthians 13:7, subchapter 4.2f).
The Y in PRAY reminds us to Yield in spirit to those words of God which touched us as we read.
Dwell on those particular words of His, as long as they draw you. This could last for minutes, months or years. God has brought about dramatic changes in me as I PRAYed certain scriptures over long periods of time. For three years I prayed for greater faith. He blessed me with a much greater faith. Little did I know... that as I prayed for greater faith... my future would bring greater and greater suffering... suffering which would have been unbearable without the greater faith which God provided. The Endorsed Prayer of Faith is presented from the scriptures in subchapter 4.3a.
The power to yield is not from ourselves. It comes from God. Our practice of the P, R and A of the acrostic P.R.A.Y. all work towards the goal of Y, Yield.
You can Praise, Ask and Yield as you Read God's words to God... He is within you... You can PRAY the scriptures!
PRAY is the Fifth Path which was presented in subchapter 1.1. The acronym PRAY presents one way to have intimate fellowship with our Lord in His word. But it actually offers more than that. PRAY tells us what we are to do when we come into contact with God's written word. And it even does more than that. It provides the critical foundation for living life in the Sixth Path which is presented in the next subchapter.
When we PRAY the scriptures we escape a number of delusions such as:
- God is distant;
- The ultimate purpose of reading the scriptures is to learn about God.
- Bible reading and prayer time are two independent activities.
The reality is this:
- God is within.
- The ultimate purpose of the scriptures is fellowship with God.
- We should have fellowship with God as we read scripture.
Reading the Bible does not necessarily result in fellowship with God:
When one reads the Bible to gain information about God, that is a good thing. It is one step towards fellowship with God but falls short of fellowship with God.
I will use some secular examples. If I read your tax return, I will gain information about you. But that experience is not fellowship with you. I could read your autobiography and gain information about you. But that experience is not fellowship either. Neither of those experiences constitute fellowship because they did not involve any actual interaction on my part with you. Even if you send me a text and I read it, fellowship does not occur until I respond by interacting with you by a reply text, email, phone call or etc.
It is the same with God's word. When we read the words of God which He has written to us, we have fellowship with Him when we respond to His words in prayer. This prayer response may be a prayer with words or the silent prayer of Beholding the Lord in adoration and affection (subchapter 1.3). Even when we sing a song about God, we are not necessarily having fellowship with God. We are essentially talking about God in song. But when we sing those songs to God, we are having fellowship with God. For that reason, I often change the words of hymns so that I am singing them to Him, rather than about Him.
So, Bible study and prayer are two facets for fellowship with God which occur concurrently rather than sequentially.
But Bible study and prayer are also dependent on each other. Scripture tells us what to pray, but prayer reveals the meaning of scripture. More will be presented on this in subchapter 4.2.
In the remainder of this subchapter I will
1) show you how to PRAY scripture with a group of Christians,
2) pray through a passage of scripture with you,
3) show you the next step to take and
4) present some group discussion questions you may use in your small group.
PRAY the Scriptures as a Group: Method 1
You may PRAY the scriptures with other believers in your Bible study group or prayer group. This may be done in person or by video conference.
You will PRAY through an entire book of the Bible, from beginning to end. In each meeting you will pray through a small section until you have PRAYed the entire book.
The group facilitator may lead the group in this way:
1) Ask the group to turn to a scripture.
2) Ask the group members to read a short section of scripture silently, seeking the heart of the passage.
3) After sufficient time of silence has passed for seeking the heart of the passage, ask the group members to offer audible prayers of praise and thanksgiving, as well as requests for revelation, forgiveness and other requests.
Let each group member speak, if and as the Spirit leads each one. Allow silence as members continue to seek the heart of the passage and pray... as they continue to gently and carefully read through the passage.
This meeting is one of silence, scripture reading, prayer, intimacy and power.
4) After several have offered prayers, and there has been a very long period of silence, say AMEN.
5) Next time you meet, pick up where you left off. So, if you PRAYed through the first 6 verses of the book of Ephesians in your first meeting, then pray the next six verses of Ephesians in your second meeting. Continue that way each time you meet until you have PRAYed the entire book of Ephesians.
It is important to select a scripture to PRAY as a group which is short enough to digest in one meeting, but also long enough to reveal the flow of thought of the passage. I have prepared Study Arrangements for many books of the Bible and presented them in subchapter 7.5. These arrangements were designed for the Four Step Bible Study (Method 3 below). But they will work when you PRAY scripture using this Method 1 as well.
Just turn to subchapter 7.5 and click the link to one of the books like Philippians, Ephesians, Galatians, etc. In your first meeting, PRAY the Focus Scripture designated for the first meeting. In the second meeting, PRAY the Focus Scripture designated for the second meeting and so on, until you have prayed through the entire book. It may take 20 meetings to PRAY through one book of the Bible.
If you use my Study Arrangements, you may:
1) Read Today's Scripture out loud for context.
2) Read the Focus Scripture silently, seeking the heart of the passage.
3) PRAY the Focus Scripture.
Here is an example of my Study Arrangement for Meeting 2 in the book of Philippians:
Today's Scripture: Philippians 1:1-8
Context Scripture: Philippians 1:1-5
Focus Scripture: Philippians 1:6-8
So, you could read Today's Scripture, Philippians 1:1-8 out loud. Then read the Focus Scripture, Philippians 1:6-8 silently, seeking the heart of the passage. Then PRAY the Focus Scripture, Philippians 1:6-8.
Today's Scripture will provide context for the Focus Scripture.
If you use the premade Study Arrangements in subchapter 7.5, much of the preparation work has already been done for you. If you are unfamiliar with the logical flow of thought through the book, you will benefit from a Study Arrangement designed prayerfully by one who is familiar with the book.
May God's Spirit fill, guide and empower you as you PRAY His words! Amen!
PRAY the Scriptures as a Group: Method 2
The group facilitator may lead the group in this way:
1) If the group is unfamiliar with subchapter 1.1, ask them to turn to subchapter 1.1 on their phones. Ask them to silently read the introductory paragraphs, the five paths and the Summary.
2) Next, ask the group to turn to a scripture. You might try the first chapter of Ephesians, John, Psalms or Proverbs.
3) Ask the group members to read the scripture silently to God within, seeking the heart of the passage.
4) After sufficient time of silence has passed for seeking the heart of the passage, ask the group members to offer audible prayers of praise and thanksgiving, as well as requests for revelation, forgiveness and other requests.
Let each group member speak, if and as the Spirit leads each one. Allow silence as members intermittently seek the heart of the passage and pray... as they continue to gently and carefully read through the passage.
This meeting is one of silence, scripture reading, prayer, intimacy and power.
5) After several have offered prayers, and there has been a very long period of silence, say AMEN. Then ask if anyone has questions or comments about the passage to discuss as a group. Discuss the passage.
6) Next time you meet, pick up where you left off. So, if you PRAYed through the first 6 verses of the book of Ephesians in your first meeting, then pray the next six verses of Ephesians in your second meeting. Continue that way each time you meet until you have PRAYed the entire book of Ephesians.
Pray the Scriptures as a Group: Method 3
The Four Step Bible Study has been designed to integrate prayer into Bible Study.
It moves participants by degrees, in a non-threatening way... to integrate silent prayer and voluntary audible prayer into Bible Study. The goal is for prayer and Bible study to take place concurrently, rather than sequentially. Then one can learn to live prayerfully... to walk by the Spirit.
Those who are uncomfortable praying out loud will learn by hearing others pray audibly. They will learn what to pray. They will learn how to listen prayerfully, read scripture prayerfully and speak prayerfully. The ultimate goal of the Four Step Bible Study is to bring about a great awakening, all around the world.
The Four Step Bible Study has an Agenda, Leaders Guide and supplementary materials. It is presented in chapter 7. It has five subchapters and it's all free and simple. You just send a link to the agenda to each member of your group at the beginning of your meeting. Then you follow the four steps on the agenda.
Click here to read more about the Four Step Bible Study. Or, go to chapter 7 in the Table of Contents.
Click here for more information about leading prayer groups.
Now, I will pray with you:
I will pray scripture with you. We will use the book of Ephesians. Some of you may have never heard anyone pray scripture. So, I am praying this passage with you now. While I am not with you in body, I am with you in spirit through my prayers and through these words. Your spirit and mine will become one.
First, read the passage. Then offer your prayers. You may offer a prayer for each verse. You may offer a prayer regarding each phrase. You may even offer a prayer about each word.
Next, read my prayers. As you hear my prayer, pray with me. If you agree with my prayers, tell your Lord that you agree. If the Spirit gives you other words to pray, pray them audibly with me. We are one in Him!
Here is Ephesians 1:1-4.
- "1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus:
- 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
- 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
- 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without defect before him in love" (Ephesians 1:1-4).
Please offer your prayers now.
(Pause for prayer)
Now that you have prayed, here is my prayer:
- "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus:"
Lord of Heaven and earth, I thank you for sending Paul to record and preserve your words for us... two thousand years later. You reveal that Paul didn't chose on his own to make himself an apostle. He was an apostle by Your will. You chose him for that task. You are sovereign. Your words are addressed by Paul to the believers at Ephesus, and also to those faithful in Christ, who are not at Ephesus. So, the words of this book may apply to me. I thank you. You were thinking of me when you inspired these words.
- "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
Grace comes from You Father and from the Son within me. I praise You, for thousands of years ago, You intended to grant me grace and peace through Your words which You have preserved for me. Jesus, or Yahshua as I am told that your name was pronounced, You are Lord. You are Master, Ruler of my soul. I can not manufacture peace. It comes from you my Father and You my brother, Yahshua, Christ. It comes by request as Paul has made here in this verse.
- "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,"
May both of you, Father and Son, have great joy. You have granted me every spiritual blessing that exists. They are mine! You list these graces in verses five through fourteen for my meditation, praise and requests for additional revelation. All of them are mine! Every good and great thing in the spiritual realm is available for me now. I will enjoy them in greater intimacy and power when I am in your visual presence in the age to come. But you give me a taste of it all in the "now". Help me through your Holy Spirit within me, to enter fully into all of your blessings. I don't fully understand them. I may only understand a tiny fraction of what you have granted to me by Your grace. Help me understand. Empower me to walk in them. Place your words in my mind so that I can give them to all who seek your grace.
- "even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without defect before him in love"
Before the world was created, You predetermined that all of the blessings listed in the following verses would come through Christ, to those who are in Christ. You chose "us in him". Your plans to bless us with Your grace and peace preexisted the universe. You decided how to perfect us. You decided how we would become blameless in Your eyes. The gospel is not man's idea. My path to You was not my idea. You decided that everything of eternal value would come to us who are in Christ through Christ, Your Son. You made this choice "before the foundation of the world." Praise Your holy name... Your name is Yahweh!
Nothing will prevent the total completion of your intentions. All "in him" will be "holy and without defect" before You! This is because you have the love, power and authority to make us "holy and without defect" before you. I look forward to that day for "we know that, when he (Christ) is revealed, we will be like him; for we will see him just as he is" (1 John 3:2). Praise to your holy name!
If you agree with my prayers, tell your Lord that you agree. If the Spirit gives you other words to pray, pray them with me.
(Pause for prayer)
You have prayed the scriptures.
If praying the scriptures seemed awkward to you, please review the Fifth Path and the Summary in subchapter 1.1. The Fifth Path is the most powerful way that I have received... to have intimacy with God in His word.
If you prayed these words of God with me as a group, now is a time to ask questions and make comments. With regard to the opinions offered in commentaries or from group members regarding the meaning of the scriptures, ask the question "Where do you see that? Which phrase or words in the scripture say that?"
I suggest that you observe the scriptural conditions for understanding God's word, as described in subchapter 1.5.
When we PRAY scripture, we offer praise and thanksgiving. We also ask for revelation, forgiveness and make other requests. A wide variety of other prayers endorsed by scripture are presented in chapter 4. They are called the Endorsed Prayers and present a full and balanced picture of what our prayer life should sound like.
The Next Step
Praying the scriptures in the Fifth Path is a necessary step for the next step. It may take many years for the Fifth Path to become entirely natural and spontaneous for you. It took that long for me. The next step after the Fifth Path is the prayer that never ends. Paul wrote "Always rejoice. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Subchapter 1.3, "Turn, Turn, Turn and Behold: The Sixth Path" is that step.
To enter into the Sixth Path, click the arrow at the top right of your screen.
Group Discussion Questions
Please prayerfully answer the following questions:
1) What does the acrostic P.R.A.Y stand for?
2) What delusions do we escape when we PRAY scripture?
3) What scripture indicates that we should pray with joy and thanksgiving as we read scripture?
4) Can one read the Bible without experiencing fellowship with God?
5) How long might it take for praying scripture in the way of the Fifth Path to become natural and spontaneous? See the paragraph titled "The Next Step."
6) What is the next step after the Fifth Path? What subchapter describes the next step? See the paragraph titled "The Next Step."
7) Would it be beneficial to your group to PRAY some select passages of the Bible together?
Here are some passages you might try:
1 Peter 4:11-14
1 John 2:27-28
8) Would it be beneficial for your group to PRAY an entire book of the Bible together? Some small books to consider are Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, Galatians, 1 John, 1 Peter and 2 Peter. You could PRAY one chapter each time you meet.
All of the answers to all of these questions are provided in this subchapter (1.2).