Bible Reading Tips – Do you pray this prayer while reading the Bible? (Great advice from Psalm 119)

Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, is filled with Bible verses. This psalm is also filled with the prayers of a man who has a deep longing for fellowship with God and lives a godly life in accordance with God’s Word.

One particular prayer is repeated seven times: “Teach me your statutes” (see verses 12, 26, 64, 68, 124, 135, 171). Do you pray this prayer while reading the Bible?

Let’s look at the meaning of this prayer.

The psalmist expresses his sincere desire for God to teach him the Word. (“Provisions” is one of many synonyms for the Bible in Psalm 119.) And the fact that he repeats this prayer so often is a clear indication that this desire is both sincere and exhausting.

Each verse in this psalm is written in a Hebrew poetic style known as “parallelism,” meaning that there are usually two statements that go together. These two statements often complement each other, and this literary structure allows us to delve deeper into the meaning of the prayer “teach me your statutes.”

Here are two truths to learn from the verses that contain this prayer:

Being taught by God is closely related to worship.

It is significant that verses 64, 68, and 124 all mention something magnificent about God’s character. Specifically, God’s attributes of love and kindness are highlighted just before the psalmist asks for God’s teaching. “The earth is full of your love, Lord; teach me your statutes” (verse 64; see also verse 124). “You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your precepts” (verse 68).

Verses 12 and 171 also mention praising God. “Praise be, Lord, teach me your statutes” (verse 12). “Let my lips be full of praise, because you teach me with your commands” (verse 171).

So there is a clear connection between praising God for His greatness and being taught by God. The more we recognize the infinite value of our Creator, the more we want Him to teach us. This is why Christians do things in a certain order during our church services: worship is usually first (singing hymns of praise), followed by teaching (sermon), followed by more worship (closing songs).

Recognizing God as He is – all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving – inspires a longing to stand at the feet of King Jesus and allow Him to teach us how to live.

Being taught by God is closely related to self-examination.

Notice verse 26 – “I have declared my ways and you have answered me; teach me your precepts”. God knows everything about us, but the psalmist understands his need to tell God what he was doing and thinking. This undoubtedly includes confession of sin—being honest with God about one’s mistakes and taking responsibility for them in His presence.

And that certainly includes pouring out our hearts when we are faced with the struggles and frustrations of life and asking for help. Fortunately, we can count on God to listen to us as we share the most intimate details of our lives—an amazing thing, when you consider that the Creator of the universe has promised to hear us when we cry out to Him.

God promises to both listen and answer. He is pleased to pass on his wisdom to us, and the psalmist is convinced of exactly this in verse 26 – “you answered me”. God provides the guidance we need, and He does so primarily through His Word; hence the connection between the believer’s self-examination and the believer’s longing for learning God’s word.

So when we look up – through worship and praise – God will teach us His Word. And when we look inside – through self-examination – God will teach us his Word. Let us follow the example of the psalmist and beg our Father to teach us his provisions every day, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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