“Get to God, dear heart”

I love praying Scripture back to God. It wakes up my sluggish heart, it focuses my scattered thoughts, it helps me sense God’s presence.

And it’s been a way for me to heed C.H. Spurgeon’s sage advice:

What you need is to get to God through what you read, and not merely to come to the Book. The Bible…or the most pious prayers cannot save you; you must pass through these things, which ought to be helps, and not make them into barriers…. You have to get to God, dear heart.

As I pray Scripture out of a desire to “get to God,” my goal is to pray with feeling. When I used to act on stage, I would read a script with all the fervor and intention it takes to create a person wholly different from myself. My lines were there to breathe life into my new character. So even when I was sick or exhausted or heartbroken, I stepped out on that stage and said my lines with all the emotion I could summon—because my character’s very life depended on it.

In a similar way, I ask God to help me engage with his words in a way that makes me feel the life in them, even during my deepest funks and fatigues. After all, his Script is “no empty word for me, but my very life” (Deuteronomy 32:47).

If you’ve never tried this before, I invite you to join me! Below are two passages I’ve been praying in recent days. Depending upon how you enjoy processing, you can pray them aloud or write them out in your own vernacular. May this be one of many sweet ways we “get to God.”

Jeremiah 32:37-42

Lord, make me dwell in safety today. Let me live in the shelter of knowing that I am yours and you are my God. Give Eddie and me one heart and one way, that we may fear you forever, for our own good and for the good of our son. Thank you for making an everlasting covenant with me, that you will not turn away from doing me good. Put the fear of you (not man) in my heart, that I might not turn away from you. Bring me great peace as I remember that you rejoice to do me good, and you have planted me in this land of faithfulness with all your heart and with all your soul. Help me to believe that you want to bring upon me all the good that you’ve promised me—even in the wake of disaster.

Psalm 27

You, Lord, are my light and my salvation—why would I fear anyone? You are the stronghold of my life—who could ever make me afraid?

When adversaries and foes criticize, ridicule, or assault me, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an entire army encamp against me, my heart won’t fear; though war break out against me, yet I will be confident.

Lord, I ask you for one thing, and I’m seeking after it: that I may dwell in your presence all the days of my life, to be captivated by your beauty and to think deep and rich thoughts of you.

For you will hide me in your shelter in the day of trouble; you will conceal me under the cover of your tent; you will lift me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up (no more shame!) above my enemies all around me. I will happily offer sacrifices of praise in your presence. I will sing to you!

Hear, Lord, when I cry out loud to you; be gracious to me and answer me.

You have said to me, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, I do seek.”

Don’t hide your face from me. Don’t turn me away in anger, for you have been my help. I thank you that you don’t cast me off or leave me alone, for you are God of my salvation!

For even the closest of friends and family may reject me, even they may not be a safe place for me in my weakness and need, but you always take me in.

Teach me your way, Lord, and lead me on a level path because of those who are against me. Don’t give me up to the will of those who want to harm me, to those who lie about me (in their hearts or to others), breathing out cruelty.

I believe that I will look upon your goodness in the land of the living! Help me wait for you. Help me be strong and let my heart take courage and wait for you!