Praying Through Proverbs – The Art of Living Wisely Everyday

“A wise man is able to discern between good and evil, and he knows how to respond to and deal with a situation. He is discreet and realistic, with power to make plans. He makes the most out of life.” David Pawson

We live in a day where wisdom is most needed, but very often neglected. Because of the complexities of daily life, we need lots of wisdom to make godly choices. The Book of Proverbs is filled with God’s wisdom. The 900 proverbs cover most of life’s situations. Learning from Proverbs and praying through this incredible book leads to wisdom and character transformation. Walking with stability in a shaking world is going to become a necessity as the days become more evil. God’s wisdom and knowledge keeps us stable and secure with a heart at rest. He is our shield and guards our path.

“For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding…He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the path of justice” (Proverbs 2:6-8).

King Solomon wrote the Book of Proverbs. When becoming King, God offered him anything he asked for, and he asked for wisdom. What would you ask for if you had this incredible offer? God gave him wisdom along with fame, power, and wealth. But the condition attached to wisdom was to walk in God’s ways and obey His commands. King Solomon neglected this and was unwise in his later years. Can you imagine having 700 wives and 300 concubines! This would not be wise nor would it make life easy!

The book of Proverbs is all about acquiring wisdom and avoiding the pitfalls of evil and folly. There are over 70 proverbs about what a fool is. Biblical wisdom is what is best for our character and is based on the character of God. Wisdom is actually practicing God’s presence in every area of life. This leads to success and health. The book of Proverbs gives us happiness and strength as we pray through wise sayings that keep us on a clear path to victory. Wisdom is better than silver or gold!

“Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding. For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold” (Proverbs 3:13).

Proverbs is a practical book that deals with the art of living and is based on the fear of the Lord. Its reverence of God is the path to life and security. It describes life as it really is in all aspects. It tells us how to live wisely in every situation we face. It shows contrasts such as wisdom and folly, pride and humility, love and lust, work and leisure, wealth and poverty, and life and death. Proverbs tells us how we can make the most of life. It affirms God as all wise and the source of all wisdom. In Proverbs we choose whether we want life or death and light or darkness.

Do we want wisdom or folly as our companion throughout life? It’s a moral choice we each have to make.

I know a man who has turned from the way of the wise. He was gifted and had so much going for him but he strayed from the path of wisdom. I’m sure it wasn’t a huge leap off the right path, but it was gradual. It wasn’t intentional, but little by little he made wrong choices. Then he became addicted to alcohol and everything fell apart. He has lost his job, his family, his home, and the joy of living. He seems to be entrenched in a huge trap of the devil and has turned to the path of the foolish. But there is still hope for this man because he can repent and turn back to the wisdom of God. The Book of Proverbs can be a tremendous spiritual guide to bring him back into the path of wisdom and righteous living.

Proverbs is an amazing book that gives an appropriate word that fits the situation. It’s a general observation on life. It’s easy to remember because the proverbs are poetic with a unique rhythm of thought. It contains parallelism where one line relates to the other and where the first line is repeated, contrasted, or advanced in the second. It’s written as a father’s advice to a youth.

The Wisdom of Praying Through Proverbs

It’s wise to pray through the Book of Proverbs. When we bring Proverbs to God in prayer verse-by-verse, He changes our character in the process and shows us how to really live fruitful lives. He instills His wisdom into our hearts and helps us in our practical life decisions and choices. We learn the art of living wisely day-by-day and hour-by-hour. We walk in God’s ways and obey His commands in a fuller dimension.

How to pray Proverbs chapter by chapter or one verse at a time: Begin by praying and asking God for wisdom and guidance as you study Proverbs. You may want to pray Ephesians 1:17-19 as you begin.

  • Take a small portion, verse or chapter of Proverbs.
  • Read it slowly and take time to quietly meditate on it. Don’t hurry but be still.
  • Have a journal or diary and write down any insights God gives you regarding those verses. You may want to start a Proverbs Journal.
  • If you are studying a chapter of Proverbs, take a sheet of paper and make a list of “Benefits of the Wise” on one side and a list of “Disadvantages of the Wicked” on the other side.
  • Have another sheet of paper with a list of “Wise Advise from God” for those verses that do not go into the other two categories.
  • On the second half of this sheet write “My Prayer for Wisdom” and write out a prayer, thanking God for what you learned from the chapter and asking for His help for wise and righteous living.
  • Pray the Proverb back to God asking for His help to obey and refrain from the ways of the wicked.
  • Thank Him for showing you His wisdom through these verses, and ask Him to remind you during the day to obey His wisdom. Be specific.
  • Memorize a proverb every few days and meditate on it during the day, saying little “breath prayers” to God. For example:

    “Lord, teach me to walk in truth and mercy this week.”
    “I commit my work to You now. I want my way to please You.”
    “Show me how to bless my family through the words I speak.”
    “I ask for wisdom and understanding as I do my homework.”
    “Teach me to walk in the fear of the Lord today.”

We need God’s guidance regarding healthy speech, our relationships (family life, friendships, etc.), and in so many other things relating to practical life. Praying through Proverbs internalizes these truths and brings God and His wisdom into our personal life. We can learn to be prudent, sensible, and careful to avoid that which is evil rather than becoming reckless, rash, careless, and wasteful. Isn’t this what we all need?

God is enabling us through Proverbs to walk in a new level of wisdom and to model to others how to live in troubled times. Walking in God’s wisdom can keep us from so much heartache and loss. We don’t have to waste our lives but we can accomplish great things for God! Let’s take hold of this great gift and pray a Proverb or a chapter of Proverbs every day. Let’s learn the art of living wisely everyday.

You’ve heard the saying: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!”
We can also say: “A Proverb a day keeps the devil away!”

“So Proverbs is interested in where most of our waking life is lived. This book tells us how we can make the most of life and warns us that many people waste it. It is about the ‘good life’. Its wisdom enables us to arrive at the end of our days pleased with all that we have accomplished.” David Pawson

Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International
International House of Prayer (IHOPKC Staff)

The Model Prayer Taught by Jesus

“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (Matthew 6:9-13).

How often have we prayed the Lord’s Prayer without realizing the deep significance of what we are praying? Each phrase is extremely important!

The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 is the most well-known prayer in the Bible. We see in these verses the model prayer given to us by Jesus Himself. The greatest teacher on prayer shows us how to model prayer based on what God is like and on the nature of the Kingdom. First mentioned in the Gospels in the Sermon on the Mount, this prayer gives us guidelines and an order in how we should pray.

In order to grow strong in prayer, Jesus is telling us what we must know and keep central as we pray. It’s not a prayer that we must learn and pray by rote. Instead it’s a model guide and sums up what we need from God and what He wants from us. Jesus points out six requests we should pray. The first three requests are on God’s glory and the next three are on man’s need. This model prayer will help us become more skillful, competent, and comprehensive in prayer.

Jesus starts with a strong focus on who God is to us. He’s our Father in heaven. If we want to have a passionate prayer life, we need to have a right view of God. We need to see Him as our heavenly Father. We need to take the time to think about Who we are praying to.

“The attention at the beginning of these petitions is on the exaltation of God and His concerns. In the initial phrases of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus fixes our gaze not on ourselves but on God.” R. C. Sproul

God is both powerful as the transcendent Creator and King, and He is also very personal as a loving and tender Father. A big problem is that we often have a low view of who He is or a low view of who we are. God longs for a relationship of deep partnership. We must run from the idea that God is impersonal or distant and harsh. This is simply not true. He is majestic but at the same time, deeply personal. He is “our” Father and sees us as a family. He wants us to pray for our whole family, not just for ourselves.

God wants us to see His sovereignty and majesty within the context of this amazing intimacy. We must see His heavenly glory, but we must also see Him as a loving Father. If you want to see more of this majestic and beautiful Father, study Revelation 4:2-8. These verses will give you twelve details of the Father’s beauty and throne.

Jesus wants us to pray for God’s glory in Matthew 6:9-10. Here He gives us three requests.

  • Pray for God’s name to be hallowed – He wants us to hallow and acknowledge His majestic name as holy on earth as it is honored in heaven. God’s name is His person, authority, and character. He is to be revered and highly respected.

    “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9).

    -Pray for God to break in with power and cause people to acknowledge who He really is in all of His splendor.
    -Pray that He receives the highest place in our hearts, lives, and worship.
    -Pray that His glorious name will stir awe and holy fear in us.
    -Pray that He would help us to honor His name and His greatness.

  • Pray for His Kingdom to come – This request asks for an increase of His Kingdom where His Word is obeyed, His will is done, and His power is expressed. We see the power of His Kingdom when the sick are healed or the demons are cast out (Matthew 11:5; 12:28).

    “Your kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10).

    The kingdom of God is manifested here on earth partly in this age and fully when Jesus returns to earth (Matthew 3:1-2; 4:17, 23; 6:10, 33; 10:7; 12:28, etc.) This is a prayer for God’s saving power to be greatly increased openly on earth in every nation. He wants us to be Kingdom-minded in our lifestyle and attitudes toward each other, instead of being focused only on our territory or sphere of influence.

  • Pray for God’s will to be done – This includes our personal obedience in relationship to His kingdom purposes. We must obey His commands and His Word. Pray that God’s will is fully realized on earth as it is already in heaven.

    “You will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

Jesus wants us to pray for our personal needs in Matthew 6:11-13. He gives us three requests to pray regarding our personal needs physically, relationally, and spiritually. These prayers show us our dependence on God.

  • Pray for our daily provision – This is for daily direction, provision, and protection; our daily natural needs. We pray for these things to enhance our relationship with God and to thank Him.

    “Give us this day our daily needs” (Matthew 6:11).

  • Pray for forgiveness – This relates to our relationship with God and people. If we have been freely forgiven, we gladly forgive others. We are freely justified by faith but we ask forgiveness to restore our fellowship with God (1 John 1:9).

    “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive others” (Matthew 6:12).

  • Pray for deliverance from evil – We pray that God leads us to escape from evil and delivers us from tempting situations. When Jesus urged the disciples to pray that they wouldn’t enter into temptation (Matthew 26:41, Luke 22:40), it refers to an intense temptation where demonic activity is heightened, lusts are aroused, and circumstances are optimum for sin. Pray before the storm of temptation hits. We must be conscious of the pitfalls of evil.

    “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13).

Several versions of the Lord’s Prayer end with, “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (Matthew 6:13). Here the prayer comes full circle and closes with a reminder that all things originate in God. We end with worship and gratitude to the one who deserves all praise and glory.

During this year let’s ask God help us apply this model prayer in our personal prayer life in a deeper and fuller dimension than ever before. He invites us on a higher road into the deep riches of the mystery of our salvation and profound walk with God.

“For the Lord’s Prayer is not so much a command as an invitation: an invitation to share in the prayer-life of Jesus himself… It becomes one of the high roads into the central mystery of Christian salvation and Christian existence.” N.T. Wright

Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International
International House of Prayer (IHOP) KC Staff