A close-up shot of a worn Bible resting on a wooden table, accompanied by a pair of folded hands, symbolizing the act of prayer before engaging in its sacred words.

What To Pray Before Reading The Bible

Opening your Bible and seeking God in prayer go hand in hand. As you open God’s word, it is essential to begin with prayer, seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance and discernment.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Begin by praying for understanding, wisdom, an open heart, and for the word of God to speak to you. Ask God to reveal Himself through the scriptures.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover different aspects of prayer before diving into God’s word including the importance of praying, types of prayer, sample prayers, and more to enrich your Bible reading time.

The Importance of Praying before Reading the Bible

Brings Clarity and Understanding of God’s Word

Praying before reading the Bible can help bring clarity and understanding of God’s word (John 16:13). As we ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate the scriptures, we open our spiritual eyes and ears to receive revelation and insight. Praying helps tune our hearts to hear God’s voice through the passages.

When we come to the Word with humility and dependence on God, He will reveal truth and application that we would not grasp on our own.

Opens Your Heart to Hear from God

Praying before reading positions our hearts to hear from God. It gets us spiritually ready to receive whatever He wants to speak (Psalm 46:10). As we still our minds, confess any known sins, surrender distractions and sincerely ask God to meet with us, He is faithful to answer.

An open, yielded heart before God allows His voice to resonate louder within us. We become more attentive to the Holy Spirit’s promptings as we read. Praying softens and prepares the soil of our hearts to absorb God’s Word.

Deepens Your Relationship with God

Consistently praying before reading the Bible helps deepen our intimacy with God. Just as continual conversation cultivates closeness between friends, praying opens relational doors with the Lord. It fosters meaningful divine dialogue, not just a functional reading plan.

Beginning with intimate communication fans the flames of knowing and loving God. It stirs affections for Him and fuels a lifelong journey of growth in Christ. Praying keeps meeting with God relational versus routine religious duty. It reminds us to treasure His presence above accomplishing a task.

Types of Prayer to Pray before Reading Scripture

Prayer for Illumination and Insight

Before diving into God’s Word, it’s wise to ask Him to open our eyes, give us understanding, and reveal His truth to us (Psalm 119:18). Praying for illumination recognizes that spiritual wisdom and insight come from God alone.

We can read the Bible as literature and miss the life-changing truths of Scripture without the Spirit’s guidance. Ask God to help you see eternal truths in His Word, not just words on a page.

Prayer of Confession and Repentance

Many believers find it helpful to confess any known sins before reading the Bible. Scripture reminds us that willful sin can hinder our prayers (Psalm 66:18) and blind our spiritual eyes (1 John 1:5-10). As James writes, “draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8). Spending time confessing and turning from sin prepares our hearts to receive God’s Word.

Prayer for an Open and Teachable Heart

The condition of our heart greatly impacts how we receive God’s Word. Praying for an open, receptive heart reminds us to lay aside any pride or preconceived ideas. Approach Scripture with humility, eager to be taught by the Spirit.

Ask God to give you “ears that hear and eyes that see” (Proverbs 20:12). Pray for a heart willing to obey His commands, not just gain information. As Jesus said, “If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority” (John 7:17).

An open and teachable spirit positions us to understand and apply God’s Word.

Prayer for Life Application

Our goal should not just be to fill our minds with biblical facts and theology but to encounter God and be transformed. Pray for God’s Word to impact your life, shape your beliefs, inform your decisions, transform your relationships, and inspire acts of service.

As James 1:22 encourages, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Ask God to reveal specific ways you can put His commands into practice. Pray for grace to walk in obedience. As we apply God’s truth, we’ll grow to be more like Christ.

Sample Prayers before Reading the Bible

Here are some sample prayers you can pray before reading the Bible to prepare your heart and mind:

1. Ask God to open your eyes and heart

“Lord, as I open your Word, I pray that you would open my eyes to behold wonderful truths in your instructions (Psalm 119:18). Remove any distractions or discouragement, so that I can focus on your loving voice. Prepare my heart to be teachable and obedient to your commands. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

2. Pray for understanding and insight

“Father, as I read the Bible, I ask for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so I may know you better (Ephesians 1:17). Remove any barriers to understanding your truth. Help me consider how your word applies specifically to my life today. Teach me how to put what I learn into practice.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

3. Ask God to speak to you

“Lord, I believe that your word is active and alive. As I read, I pray that you would speak directly to my heart (Hebrews 4:12). Reveal areas where I need to grow. Show me any sin I need to confess. Help me rest in your love. Give me fresh understanding of your truth.

I am listening expectantly for your voice. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

4. Seek transformation, not just information

“Father, I don’t want to read the Bible just to get information or to check it off my to-do list. As I read your word, I pray that the Holy Spirit would transform my heart and mind (Romans 12:2). Increase my hunger for you and help me apply what I learn in every area of life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

5. Ask God to meet with you

“Lord, I approach your word with eagerness, knowing that it brings life (Psalm 119:50). I pray that as I read, you would meet with me in a powerful, personal way. Reveal your truth to me and strengthen my relationship with you. Teach me through your word today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

When to Pray before Reading Scripture

Praying before reading the Bible is a great way to prepare our hearts and minds to hear from God. Here are some tips on when to pray as you open God’s Word:

1. Start Your Quiet Time with Prayer

If you have a daily quiet time scheduled to read the Bible and pray, always start by talking to God first. Opening your Bible study time in prayer gets your heart ready to receive, shifts your focus to God, and invites the Holy Spirit to be your teacher.

Pray simply, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your Word” (Psalm 119:18).

2. When Approaching a Familiar Passage

Before reading a familiar Bible story or passage, pray for fresh revelation and insight. Ask God to speak to you through His word in a new way. Even if it’s a passage you’ve read many times, ask the Lord to break open its meaning like you’ve never understood it before.

3. When Reading an Unfamiliar Passage

It’s also important to pray before diving into an unfamiliar Bible text. Ask God to teach you, correct you, challenge and encourage you through what you read. Pray for wisdom and understanding to properly apply the passage to your life.

4. When Confused or Struggling to Understand

When reading a Bible passage that confuses you or you struggle to interpret properly, stop and pray for clarity. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth and reveal what He wants to teach you (John 16:13).

Lay down your own ideas first in humility, with an openness to receive God’s perspective.

5. Before Applying a Passage

As you read God’s Word and find verses to apply to your life, pray first about how to best put it into practice. Ask God to show you specifics about how to obey that truth, what changes He might want you to make, confessions to pray through first, etc. Let prayer prepare your heart for action.

These are just a few key times to stop and pray as part of your interaction with God’s Word. Opening your Bible study with prayer invites God’s Spirit in and lifts your heart God-ward, setting the tone for an impactful quiet time. Try putting some of these prayer tips into practice! 🙏

How to Pray before Reading the Bible

Remove Distractions

Finding a quiet and peaceful environment is crucial for effective prayer and Bible reading. As Proverbs 17:27 states, “whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.”

Try to eliminate any background noises and possible interruptions before opening your Bible. Put away your phone, turn off the TV, close out of unneeded browser windows on your computer. The fewer distractions, the better able you’ll be to hear God’s voice.

Come Before God with Reverence

Entering into prayer is approaching the very throne room of God (Hebrews 4:16). As you begin praying before diving into God’s Word, come before Him with an attitude of reverence and honor. Express your awe of His majesty and greatness.

Praise Him for His eternal love and boundless grace that allows sinful people to enter His presence through Christ. As Psalm 95:6 proclaims, “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!” Kneeling or bowing your head can physically display an attitude of reverence.

Ask the Spirit to Speak to You

God promises that His Word “will not return void” (Isaiah 55:11), but we need the Holy Spirit to illumine our understanding. As 1 Corinthians 2:14 explains, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

Before reading Scripture, ask the Holy Spirit to grant you insight, reveal truth, speak to your heart, and empower you to apply what you learn. The Spirit delights in guiding followers of Christ into all truth (John 16:13).

Write Down What God Reveals to You

Keep a prayer journal or notebook handy so you can write down anything God impresses upon your heart through His Word. Recording how the Spirit speaks to you through specific verses enables you to reflect on it later for reinforcement and accountability.

Over time you can look back on previous journal entries to see how God has faithfully taught you and brought His Word to fruition in your life. What a treasure trove such a spiritual journal can become!


As we open our Bibles each day, beginning with prayer is a beautiful way to prepare our hearts, minds and spirits to hear from the Lord. Lifting up these prayers aligns our will with His purposes, softens our hearts to His word, brings clarity of thought and most importantly deepens intimacy with our Savior.

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