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Pray the Bible

When biblical characters turn to God for help, those words too can become our own prayers.
The prophet Isaiah who said to God, "Here I am, send me!"

The Bible is full of prayers, not just the psalms and the Lord’s Prayer, but moments when Biblical characters turned to God, asking for help, offering themselves up to God, and those words too can become our own prayers or amplify our prayers.

I’m thinking of the prayer Isaiah says early in his calling as a prophet. Turn to chapter 6 of the wonderful book named for him. He’s wonderfully specific about when he has a vision of the Lord: “In the year that King Uzziah died…”

That sets the scene. And he sees God sitting upon a throne with angels surrounding him, seraphim: “Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet and with two he flew…”

Those angels give us one prayer that has been set to music countless times: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.” There’s a prayer to sing and say.


But the prayer I was thinking of is what Isaiah says when God asks him, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”

(Nerd alert: I once met a woman who said she used that phrase during a grammar test to remember when to use the nominative case “who” and when to use the objective “whom.” I tell you, you can learn more than just spirituality from the Bible.)

Isaiah’s response is wonderful and has been echoed by countless saints and sinners and just plain folk over the centuries: “Here I am! Send me.”

You’ve heard about a friend whose husband has been stuck in the hospital for days. You learned of a young mom in your neighborhood who has a severely autistic son. You saw a sign-up sheet asking for more volunteers for the soup kitchen.

You hesitated for a moment, then you prayed like Isaiah, “Here I am! Send me.”

You might have even remembered a song that puts that whole conversation between God and Isaiah–and you–in fiercely hummable music.  Even if you can’t sing, you can pray along with that.

So yes, without even knowing it, you’ve prayed the Bible more than once and will again and again.

In the meanwhile, sing along with me. This is one of the songs I’ve been singing to myself in my own spiritual challenge to sing a song a day for 60 days. I’m over a third of the way through!

Here I am….

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