2 Tim. 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
Eph. 6:17-18 And receive the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God, by means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit and watching unto this in all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints.
When we come to the Bible to contact God, we should not only read but pray-read the Word. No matter who we are, as long as we read the Bible without praying, we are reading by the old man. To read the Bible without praying is to contact the Word by the old man. The genuine reading of the Bible by the new man can never be separated from praying.
The term pray-reading has been in use for less than thirty years. This does not mean, however, that before we invented this term, there was no such thing as pray-reading. Many saints have practiced the pray-reading of the Word without using this expression to describe what they were doing. A number of seeking Christians have pointed out that the best way to read the Bible is to read it prayerfully. I have read certain books which said that we should read the Bible in a prayerful way. To read the Word prayerfully actually is to pray-read the Word. (Life-study of Proverbs, pp. 26-27)
I can testify that long before we began to speak of pray-reading, it was my practice to read the Word with prayer. For example, I remember reading John 3:16 and praying, “O God, thank You. You loved the world so much. O God my Father, You loved me so much that You gave Your Son, the Only Begotten, to me.” I had the feeling that I had touched God and that He had touched me. Through my prayer John 3:16 became Spirit and life to me.
My burden in these messages on Proverbs is to help you touch the Word of God by your new man, by exercising your spirit to pray-read.
Pray-reading changes the Bible from letters to Spirit and life. Apart from pray-reading, the book of Proverbs is merely a collection of proverbs. But when we pray-read Proverbs, our pray-reading causes all the proverbs to become words of Spirit and life to us.
Ephesians 6:17-18 unveils the matter of pray-reading, and our invention of the term pray-reading was based on these verses. Ephesians 6:17-18 tells us to “receive the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God, by means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit.” Here we see that we should receive the word of God not merely by exercising our mind to understand but by means of all prayer and petition, praying by exercising our spirit. Prayer is general; petition particular.
We receive the word by reading. However, to receive (read) without praying is altogether a matter in the mind. Along with our reading we must pray. When we pray-read the Word by exercising our spirit, the word in black and white immediately becomes the Spirit. In this way the Spirit and the word are one. When we read, it is a word. When we pray with the exercise of our spirit, the word becomes Spirit and life. Whenever we come to the Word we must pray, and we should pray not merely with the mind but with the spirit.
The Bible is God’s breathing. God is breathing out Himself as the word (2 Tim. 3:16a). This means that the Bible is God’s exhaling. The exhaling of God in the Bible is waiting for us to inhale. When we read any verse and pray, this praying becomes our inhaling of God’s breath. By this the Word becomes Spirit and life to us in our experience. If this is not our situation, then even in our reading of the Bible we are not in the new man but are still in the old man. (Life-study of Proverbs, pp. 27-28)
Further Reading: Life-study of Proverbs, msg. 8