If you study the prayers of the Bible, you begin to notice that the prayers God honors and answers are those that repeat his promises back to him. Go and read the story of Jacob, for instance. At the beginning of his life God had prophesied—before Jacob was even born—that the blessing would be his and not Esau’s (Gen 25:23). But it was not until Jacob took it in a prayer-wrestling match with God that it really became his. He laid hold of the promise of God through a night of prayer.
The Bible is a book full of promises; there are an estimated 3,000 of them. Yes, I realize that some of them apply to specific and unique situations, as with God’s promise to give Jacob the blessing. But I also know that Paul calls all the promises of God “Yes” in Jesus (2 Cor 1:20). So in a Christ-centered way, every one of them is Yes for me and for you.
I do not want you to read through the Bible. I want you to pray through it! The Bible is our prayer book, so read through it and lay hold of the promises of God! I make it a discipline of mine every time I read the Bible to go back and pray through what I’ve just read. And whenever I pray, I try to tie promises of God to what I’m praying.
So when I pray for my kids, I sometimes think of Psalm 127: “Children are like arrows in the hand of a warrior.” And I pray, “God, you gave me these kids for the purpose of bringing them up to love and serve you. You said they were to be like arrows in your army of blessing and salvation. I usually feel like I have no idea what I’m doing as a parent. God, give me and Veronica the ability to do with our kids what you said you gave them to us for!”
Or when I pray for my church, I think of Deuteronomy 33:16: “Blessed be Joseph with the favor of him who dwells in the burning bush.” And I pray, “We have experienced real blessing as a church, but what if it runs out? God, it is possible, like Joseph, to dwell in your favor all of our lives? So, I am asking that we, the Summit Church, dwell in that favor all of our days, too, so that the favor of the one who dwelt in the burning bush would be with us like it was with Joseph.”
So the question is, what promises have been left unclaimed for your family? I saw a story recently that every year $5.8 billion worth of gift cards go unclaimed. $5.8 billion! These are benefits that have already been purchased, but never get enjoyed. It is the same way with God’s promises. All the promises of God are yes in Christ Jesus. They have been purchased by Jesus’ blood! There are 3,000 gift cards in your Bible, purchased by Jesus for you! Go and get them!