I love the changing of seasons, but I must admit that times of transition often make me feel somewhat unsettled. Maybe because my gaze is sharpened on all the moving parts and I can see things in my life more clearly? It's difficult to say just what happens in my heart, but it's safe to say that God knows. In an attempt to stop the fretting and worrying that naturally accompanies transitions, I need a little help. So, beginning yesterday, I started doing something that is not a new idea, but is a new(ish) practice for me: Praying scripture over people in my life. When I'm tired, when I don't have the right words to pray, or when I'm too worried to compose myself, I can turn to scripture for the right words. I've been writing out these prayers, in part because it helps me focus better, but also because seeing words written makes them come alive to me. In particular, I prayed this verse over a few loved ones today:
[I pray] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give [name here] the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of [You], having the eyes of [name]'s heart enlightened, that [name] may know what is the hope to which You have called [name]. Ephesians 1.17-18
[I pray] then shall [name's] light break forth like the dawn, and [name's] healing shall spring up speedily; [name's] righteousness shall go before [him/her], that the glory of the Lord shall be [his/her] rear guard. Isaiah 58.8
And this one:
That [name] would fret not [him-/herself] because of evildoers; [and that name would] be not envious of evildoers. [...but instead] Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Psalm 37.1,3
After these prayers, I was reading in Colossians, and I caught myself turning every verse, word for word, into a prayer. The scripture becomes again what it always was: personal and interactive. When I see my family member's or friend's name in that verse, I see more clearly the easy application of the scriptures, and how personal are Jesus' death and His redemption. In this way, I'm not just a consumer, but a participant. I'm praying His words, because they measure up where mine fall short, they include where I exclude, and they have a heavenly perspective when I have an earthly one.
As this transition to winter continues, we're resuming some Christmas traditions we've adopted in the first few years of our marriage. In particular, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, we hang a single stocking on one of the hooks by the front door. Every few days, we'll leave little gifts, notes, or treats for each other. Today, I wrote Nicholas a letter, and wrote out verses tailored for him with his name written in the blanks, and I tucked the letter (and a sweet treat) in the shared stocking. I wrote that I want to share my prayers for him with him. I'll continue to do that throughout advent, as we both pray for God to prepare our hearts for the coming of His son.
I know this is not a new practice by any means, but as I'm revisiting it, I'm curious. What are your favorite scriptures to pray over people you love? And even more generally, what are your favorite scriptures to pray? (For example, when I'm afraid, or I wake up from a nightmare, I always recite Isaiah 41:10). If you have a favorite, I'd love to hear it!