How Should You Pray Before Bible Reading?
What prayers should you pray before opening the Word of God? These prayers should direct your attention to God and His Word. The best prayers before Bible study are for understanding the Bible and to find joy in His Word.
What are some reasons to pray before Bible study? When we pray for understanding, we place our confidence in God’s ability to help us, not in our own minds to comprehend. This certainly removes some stress when approaching Bible reading. When we pray for joy in His Word, we find it is okay to admit when we are not super excited about opening our Bibles. Friend, He loves to answer this prayer. Ask Him for joy before reading your Bible and see what happens.
How do you pray for Bible reading? Have this list of prayers printed out and in your Bible. (Your free download is below this list.) Open to where your bookmark is, pray at least one of these prayers, then read where you are in your Bible.
Prayers Before Reading the Bible
1. Help me focus, Lord.
Think Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” There are a thousand things that pop into my mind when I try to focus on God’s Word: what to fix for dinner, a conflict I had yesterday, whether or not I switched the laundry, or even what my plans for next year will be!
Here is a tip I got from Eva Kubasiak. Put a sticky note on the table next to you when you open your Bible. Any distracting thought that can be dealt with later, write down on the sticky note. Now you won’t forget it for later, and you can focus on Bible reading.
So pray this prayer, grab a sticky note, and focus with the Lord’s help. Seek Him first, before all the other things.
2. Give me understanding.
This is a prayer from Psalm 119:18, 34, 77, and 169. They all say it slightly different, but all express the desire to understand and fully see what Scripture is saying. I have seen too many women give up on a consistent Bible study habit because they have trouble understanding. We often try study tools and methods to help our understanding. And those are good. But what if we started by praying for it? Try it and see what God does. Again, He loves to answer this prayer.
3. “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.”
I love this direct quote of Psalm 119:18, one of the verses mentioned above. It is my favorite way to ask for understanding. There are ways God Himself, the Author of the Bible, can open your eyes to see the wondrous things, that no man-made study tool can ever do. This is one of the best prayers before studying the Bible.
4. Give me joy in Your Word.
In Psalm 119:14 and 162, David says He rejoices in God’s Word. That may not be how you approach it at all. You may be trying to overcome lack of motivation or fear of not being able to understand what you read. How do you find joy in God’s Word? Pray this simple prayer before reading the Bible. And expect God to answer.
5. Teach me Your ways.
You will notice that all these prayers come from the Bible itself. Scripture itself tells us how to pray for our study of it. This prayer is one line from Psalm 25:4-5. This gets to the heart of why we study the Bible—to learn His ways. Take time to expectantly pray this simple prayer before reading the Bible. (And go read all of these verses.)
6. Teach me the fear of the Lord.
In the context of walking in His truth, Psalm 86:11 asks, “Unite my heart to fear Your name.” I have simplified the wording for myself. You pray what works best for you. Much of the meaning of “fearing the Lord” is about obeying and walking in His ways. We know how to do this by reading His Word. If you don’t understand what it means to fear the Lord, be brave and pray this one.
7. Show me Who You are.
In Psalm 27:4, David expresses his one desire as being “to behold the beauty of the Lord…” This is one of the main reasons to study the Bible: to know the Lord and see Him for Who He is. If I could say there is a most important prayer before reading the Bible, this would be it, friend. Let’s take our eyes off our circumstances and our own thoughts, and put them on Him.
8. Equip me for what You have called me to do.
In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Paul emphasizes what the benefits of Scripture are. One of these is the equipping of the saints. The thing about praying prayers based on Scripture, is that we can trust we are praying in line with God’s desires for us. When we pray for Him to equip us as we study Scripture, we don’t influence Him. He already plans to do that. What we are doing is lining up our expectations with His purposes. We are saying, “I am ready for the equipping You have for me in Your Word today.”
9. Convict me where I have sinned.
Also in 2 Timothy 3:16 is the fact that Scripture is good for “reproof” and “correction.” It shines a light on our sin, and convicts us to repent and turn away from it. This one is hard. But we cannot grow in the Lord if we keep sin around. This is another very important prayer to say before reading the Bible.
10. Put Your words in my heart.
God’s words to Israel through Moses were, “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.” Deuteronomy 6:6. God makes it clear throughout Scripture that He looks at our heart, not just our actions. There are absolutely ways we can work to memorize Scripture, learn to understand passages, and study deeper. But it is a wonderful, mysterious thing when God works in our hearts, and His words become an organic part of our inner selves. Surrender to Him with this prayer today.
11. Show me how to delight myself in Your Word.
The rest of the prayers you can pray before reading the Bible are from Psalm 119. It is full to the brim with attitudes about God’s Word that we should imitate. This prayer compliments the “Give me joy in Your Word” prayer. We find David expressing his delight in Psalm 119:16 and 47. Can you say with David, “And I will delight myself in Your commandments, which I love”? If not, try praying this one.
12. Revive me according to Your Word.
David prays almost this exact prayer in Psalm 119:25, 154, 156, and 159. The last one, he adds, “according to Your lovingkindness.” The love of God is rich toward His people. He nourishes us through the Scripture when we take it in. Expect God to show up and work in you, when you pray this prayer before studying the Bible.
13. Strengthen me according to Your Word.
A variation on the previous prayer, Psalm 119:28 is David’s transparent plea for help. “My soul melts from heaviness…” Can you relate? If you find yourself struggling, God will strengthen you through the intake of His Word. Seek Him, and He will be found.
14. Incline my heart to Your testimonies.
Psalm 119:36. Do you lack motivation to open God’s Word? Are you distracted or feel too busy? Are you consumed with “looking at worthless things”? (verse 37) Pray for God to work in your heart and draw you to His Word. Only He can change who you are on the inside and change your desires.
15. Establish Your Word to me.
This prayer follows immediate after the one above in Psalm 119:38. It is the idea of asking God to bring His Word to pass, to follow through on all the protection and promise. Again, this kind of prayer before Bible study is not asking God to do something He wasn’t planning on. He is faithful whether we pray for Him to be, or not. You are lining up your expectations with His character and how He works. What He promises, He establishes. Are you ready to see Him work in you through study of His Word?
16. Comfort me with Your Word.
“This is my comfort in affliction, for Your Word has given me life.” Psalm 119:50. You are likely enduring some kind of affliction or trial right now. Are you turning to Scriptures for comfort? Nothing in this world can give us life like God’s Word. And often God has put the affliction in our lives, so that we will turn to Him for comfort and our trust in Him will grow.
17. Teach me good judgment and knowledge.
Straight out of Psalm 119:66, this is just another specific way to word prayers like “Give me understanding” and “Teach me Your ways.” I love that David gave us so many ways to pray for Bible study. Try this one the next time you open God’s Word, and be ready for Him to show you wondrous things.
18. Light my way with Your Word.
Even if you don’t regularly read the King James Version, many of us memorized Psalm 119:105 in the King James, and still recite it that way. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Do you feel you are walking in the dark and don’t know where to go next in life? There is a promise here, that abiding in God’s Word lights our path.
19. Help me love Your Word more than gold (earthly things).
David confidently declares it: “I love Your commandments more than gold.” Psalm 119:127. Where are your priorities and desires? Can you declare this confidently? This prayer is asking for the Lord’s help in this area. Again, He loves to answer these prayers, friend. When you pray this, be ready for God to work in your heart. This is the point of many of these prayers: being ready for God to work in you through Scripture.
20. Give me peace no matter my circumstances, as I learn to love Your Word.
“Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.” Psalm 119:165. If you are struggling to “get into” Bible reading, and also struggling to find peace in your heart, this statement points out a link between the two. Love of God’s Word, and therefore always abiding in it, results in great peace. How do you find this peace? This prayer is a starting point. Acknowledge to the Lord you want to learn to love His Word and ask for the peace He promises.
How to Use These Prayers
Do you want to have these prayers at your fingertips? Print out the half-sheet card below, cut out the list, and place it in the front of your Bible, or even use it as your bookmark. I print my bookmarks on cardstock, so they are sturdier, but regular paper will work just as well. This is a simple way to take your Bible reading deeper. Praying before reading the Bible puts your heart and mind in a place where you are ready to hear God speak, using His Words to work in you.
Click the image below to instantly download or print your 20 Prayers to Pray Before Reading Your Bible.