SARAH IVILL | CONTRIBUTOR
Another season of women’s Bible studies is upon us! In the midst of all the planning, let us not forget to pray.
We are so grateful that You have chosen to reveal Yourself to us in Your holy Word. Too often we look to other people, places, or things to revive our soul when Your Word alone rejoices the heart (Ps. 19:7-8). Too many times we make room for other relationships in our schedules but fail to take time to “meditate on your statutes” (Ps. 119:23). Help us, O Lord, to “delight…in the law of the LORD” and meditate upon it daily (Ps. 1:2).
As we begin another season of Bible study, please give us a heart of love and compassion for all the women who will attend. Open our eyes to see women who are hurting and need someone to befriend them. Open our hearts to those women who have hurt us in the past, or been difficult to understand, so that we might love them well as sisters in Christ. Open our minds to appreciate changes the leaders may have made this year, especially if we would prefer things to be different. Help us to not have a consumer mentality, but to pray that we might benefit, encourage, and edify the women with whom we study and fellowship.
Please give us a deep desire to study Your Word, that it might be “sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Ps. 119:103). Give us holy, humble, tender hearts, so that we might read and repent of our sins (2 Chron. 34:27). Help us to accept the Bible as “the word of God…not as the word of men” (1 Thess. 2:13). Please open our “minds to understand the Scriptures,” especially that we might see Christ in every passage (Luke 24:44-47). When we study the prophets, open our minds to understand Jesus is the greatest Prophet, who reveals to us “by his Word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation” (Westminster Shorter Catechism, A. 24). When we read about the priests, help us to see that Jesus is the greatest High Priest, who gave Himself as “a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice,” reconciled us to God, and constantly intercedes for us (WSC, A. 25). When we consider the kings, let us understand that Christ is the eternal and perfect King, who brings us to Himself, rules and defends us, and restrains and conquers “all his and our enemies” (WSC, A. 26).
As we study the Scriptures, we also pray that you would give us a “desire to know, believe, and obey the will of God revealed in them” (Westminster Larger Catechism, A. 157). Help us to receive “the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11). Give us opportunities to ask others in our studies, “Do you understand what you are reading?” and if they don’t, graciously guide them in comprehending the passage (Acts 8:30). If there are women in our studies who do not know You, please “open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in [You]” (Acts 26:18). Most of all, we pray that as students of Your word, our aim would be to worship You with humble and grateful hearts (Neh. 8:6).
Father, we also pray for our Bible teachers and leaders. Thank you for giving them gifts, especially the gifts of teaching and/or leading, in order to encourage, exhort, and equip believers. We pray that you would give them opportunities to be trained in the work to which You have called them. We pray that they would not grow weary in preparing and teaching Bible study. We pray that they will “keep a close watch on [themselves] and on the teaching” (1 Tim. 4:16), so that they might “teach what accords with sound doctrine” (Tit. 2:1). Help them “to teach what is good” and “train the young women” to be godly in the home, church, and beyond (Tit. 2:3-5). Whether they find it difficult to prepare, or delightful, help them to diligently search the Scriptures so that they might fulfill the ministry that You have given them (see 2 Tim. 4:1-5).
We pray that their “speech and…message” will “not be in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,” that the faith of the listeners “might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:4-5). Let them do their best to present themselves to You “as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
For all of us, O Lord, we pray that You would bless our time together. We pray that “the word of the truth, the gospel” will bear fruit and grow among us, as we strive to understand “the grace of God in truth” (Col. 1:5-6).
We pray all these things to You, our heavenly Father, in the name of Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
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