Counting Our Blessings: A Prayer about Holy Scripture

Photo by  Ben White  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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This is the first installment in a series of prayers based on the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647). To learn more about the history of the Westminster Standards, please click here.

The Westminster Confession of Faith — Of the Holy Scripture

“The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man, or church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.” — Westminster Confession of Faith, 1.4.

Across nations and throughout history, you have made yourself known to people.

Father in heaven,

Thank you for the many people who have testified to you over the centuries and around the world. Across nations and throughout history, you have made yourself known to people so that they want to make you known to more people. Thank you for the many churches that testify to the authority of your word. These testimonies encourage me. Nevertheless, their testimony alone isn’t enough to convince me of the authority of Scripture. The reason I believe and obey Scripture is because you are its author! It is your word and you are truth itself. You cannot lie.

Help me, as I read your word, to listen to it from the heart.  

Even though you speak clearly in your word, I don’t always hear you as well as I should. Help me as I read your word to listen to it from the heart. I need to receive it not as the word of men, but as it is, the word of God (1 Thess. 2:13). Whether I am listening to a sermon, studying with a group, or reading in private, please open my ears to hear you in your word. 

Holy Scripture is worthy of my high and reverent esteem.

Like you, Holy Scripture is worthy of my high and reverent esteem and for so many reasons. Where do I begin? I consider the heavenly character of its content. What other book tells me so much of your character, work and plans for your people? And I love the transforming power of Scripture. I am not the same after reading it, but much improved and set on a better course. I am not alone in this experience. Its poetry and prose have moved human hearts across the centuries. What is more, the scope of Scripture is enough to leave me in awe, for it speaks of the beginning of time to the last Day of Judgment.

Scripture distinctly glorifies you above all and fully reveals the one way of salvation.

The Bible never needs to “pass the mike” on to a new spokesperson. Scripture speaks to all generations and in profound ways. Its various parts plummet the depths of each human heart while simultaneously adhering to one message. How can this be? Most of all, Scripture distinctly glorifies you above all and fully reveals the one way of salvation. These many incomparable excellencies of Scripture, along with its entire perfection, all testify that it is your word.

I see your word and Spirit working together through the ages.  

Nevertheless, I am fully persuaded and assured of the infallible truth and divine authority of Scripture from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the word in my heart. I see your word and Spirit working together through the ages. When you worked through your prophet Isaiah, you put your Spirit upon him and your words in his mouth (Isa. 59:21).  The apostle John teaches me that the Spirit of truth guides me to see, hear, and receive your truth (John 16:13).[1] Indeed, your Spirit was given to me to reveal the deep things of God (1 Cor. 2:10-12). 

I depend upon your Spirit to work in the hearts of others when I share your word with them.

Forgive me for the times I plug my ears to your word and harden my heart! How I depend upon your gracious Spirit to work in me to receive your word. And I depend upon your Spirit to work in the hearts of others when I share it with them. When people reject your word, help me to pray for them more. Thank you for sending me your Spirit, enabling me to hear the voice of my Good Shepherd.  

In Jesus’ name, 

Amen.

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Emily Van Dixhoorn holds a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary and is the author of the Confessing the Faith Study Guide.

[1] Chad Van Dixhoorn, Confessing the Faith: A Reader’s Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2014), 15.

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Confessing the Faith Study Guide by Emily Van Dixhoorn