Praying the Scriptures: A Guide for Teens to Engage with God

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“Mom, we read a Bible verse, go around and say what word or sentence jumped out at us, read the verse again, and then do the same thing.” This was the complaint I fielded one evening from my then 15-year-old son. This Bible reflection wasn’t working for him. While I’m sure that immaturity had a part to play in his frustration, I also think there is a need to switch things up a bit.

In that spirit, I humbly offer this method of prayer and Scripture reading that has been a favorite of mine since learning it in my college days.

1. Choose a Scripture passage.

The Psalms are a great place to start. Pick the psalm of the day, or match the number of your psalm to the day’s date.

2. Begin at the beginning.

Read verse 1 and stop. Three steps can turn this verse into a prayer. For example, Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”

Praise: “Glory to you, Lord, for your greatness. You are mighty and powerful.”

Thanksgiving: “Thank you, Lord, that we belong to you, that all of creation is yours, no matter what is happening around the world.”

Petition: “Lord God, it seems like the world is in chaos. Please show your strength. Please show your sovereignty. Please make yourself known to all the world.”

3. Reflect.

When you’ve exhausted everything, you can pray with the first verse, go on to verse two, and begin again. Sometimes I don’t get past verse two because so much prayer is inspired by the words I read there.

How can this be used in a group setting? Read the verse together and have the teens offer prayers, or read the verse together and allow a minute or two for them to pray silently. Do a little of both so they get the hang of it. Either way, I have found this to be a deeply moving form of prayer and Scripture reading. I pray the same for you.


Becky Groth is a producer for Outside da Box.

Image Credit: Billion Photos / Shutterstock 265407785

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