Have you ever read a prophecy in the Bible and thought it couldn’t come to pass? That perhaps it was wrong? Today, I’ll be discussing one such prophecy from the book of Jeremiah. What about prayer? Do you pray? I’ve heard it’s a good idea to repeat God’s words back to him in prayer. In other words, use Scripture in our prayers. However, why should we do that, and how might it be better than using our own words? I’ll be looking at a verse from 1 John 5 that gives us insight into why we pray Scripture back to God.

Prophecy Fulfilled

In Jeremiah 33, we read this prophecy about David’s line and the Levitical priesthood. 

For this is what the Lord says: ‘David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of Israel, nor will the Levitical priests ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to present sacrifices.'”

Jeremiah 33:17-18 (NIV)

We know there’s no king in Israel today and no throne to sit upon. We also know that the Levitical priesthood in place at the time of this prophecy is no longer around making offerings or presenting sacrifices. In the case of the throne and someone from David’s line sitting on it, we can first look to the start of this prophetic utterance in Jeremiah 33:15.

“‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.'”

Jeremiah 33:15-16 (NIV)

We know from the genealogy of Jesus, as listed in Matthew 1:1-17 that he’s in David’s line. I think most Christians understand that Jesus is in the line of King David and, therefore, fulfills all prophecy related to “someone” in David’s line doing something. I expect that if anyone is tripped up on Jeremiah 33:17-18, it’s in the case of the Levitical priests. 

Just as Jesus fulfills all the prophecies related to David, he also fulfills the entire law. 

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

Matthew 5:17 (NIV)

Hebrews 7:17 gives us this intelligence.

For it is declared: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

Hebrews 7:17 (NIV)

Some say that the prophecy in Jeremiah regarding the Levitical priesthood is fulfilled in Jesus being a priest of Melchizedek, but I don’t see that. The prophecies made under the law and the Old Covenant are fulfilled in Christ. Yet this prophecy talks about the Levitical priesthood, not the order of Melchizedek.

As Christians, we are under the New Covenant. The promises made to the Jews under the Old Covenant were fulfilled when the Old Covenant was “over,” and Jesus fulfilled it. However, there still is a priesthood today that we might consider being the spiritual successor to the Levitical priesthood. Christians are that priesthood.

You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:5 (NIV)

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

Praying Scripture

I’ve heard it said we should pray Scripture back to God to “remind” him of his promises, but that doesn’t make sense to me. Does God really need us to remind him of his promises? Is God a human being who, in one breath, say’s, “Yes” and then “No” in the next? Does God change his mind or lie? No, God doesn’t lie or change his mind. God is all-knowing and doesn’t need us to remind him of his words. Since that’s the case, why should we pray Scripture? 

I’d like to say that praying in our own words is fine. We can go to God in prayer, just as we are. We should never try and be someone we’re not. Especially when going to God. However, incorporating Scripture into our prayers can turn those prayers into “better” prayers. 1 John 5 gives us insight into why.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us (emphasis added).

1 John 5:14 (NIV)

Let’s look at two prayers that are praying the same thing. 

Father, please save my Uncle Bob. I love him, and I want him to know you for himself. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

There’s nothing wrong with that prayer. How does adding Scripture to it change it? Let’s see.

Father, your word tells me, “you want everyone to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4 NIV), so please save my Uncle Bob. I love him, and I want him to know you for himself. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Now, regarding Uncle Bob. Uncle Bob has free will, just like you and me. When we speak God’s word back to him, we’re speaking his will back to him, and we know we’re praying according to his will. God won’t force himself onto anyone because he’s not like that. However, and I know I digress, I’m often reminded of these verses from Proverbs.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases.

Proverbs 21:1 (NLT)

While Uncle Bob does have free will, that doesn’t mean the Lord cannot direct Bob toward salvation. In fact, Scripture tells us that no one can be saved unless God calls them.

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

John 6:44 (NIV)

Another reason for praying God’s word back to him is that his word will do what it’s supposed to.

So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:11 (NIV)

“For no word from God will ever fail.”

Luke 1:37 (NIV)

Finally, God’s word is powerful and helps to align our hearts with his while revealing our motives.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)

I’d say it’s more difficult to know God’s word and then pray something out of his will while trying to speak his word back to him. Like oil and water, they don’t mix. 

That’s all I have for today. I pray this day finds you well, and thank you for stopping by!