What is LAPS?
Listening And Praying Scripture
"Taking words that originated in the heart and mind of God and circulating them through your own heart and mind back to God." – Don Whitney
LAPS stands for "Listening And Praying Scripture." LAPS is our intentional effort to listen and pray God's Word while we walk "laps" around our homes, neighborhoods, parks, or even our own YMCA!
In 1 Timothy 2:1–4, Paul urges Timothy, his disciple in the faith and pastor of the church in Ephesus, to pray all kinds of biblical prayers for all kinds of people so that all people might be saved!
"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
For freshness of utterance, for breadth of comprehension, for elevation of thought, for intimacy of heart, there is no prayer like that which forms itself in the words and thoughts of Scripture.
– J. Graham Miller
"Some people wonder how you can pray longer than five minutes, because they would lose things to pray for. But I say that if you open the Bible, start reading it, and pause at every verse and turn it into a prayer, then you can pray all day that way."
– John Piper
If we are not intentional with our prayers, they often begin to sound like a song on repeat. We need to take a lesson from Jesus on prayer, like when his disciples said, "Lord, teach us to pray." (Luke 11:1). When Jesus prayed, he often prayed the Bible. He showed us that prayer is not about getting things from God, but about getting to know God by listening to God.
Since the Bible is God's revelation of himself to us, we ought to be people who listen to, read, study, memorize, and meditate on God's Word as often as possible. We can do this together on Sunday mornings and in groups during the week. We can do this at home individually or with our spouses or kids.
Allow the Spirit of God to use the Word of God to guide and direct your prayers.
Then, pray those truths! Pray the truths you learned together as a church on Sunday morning, or pray the truths you read in God's Word that morning.
As a child of God, speak to God according to the will of God revealed in his Word.
Ask yourself, “Does the Scripture tell me…
- About God?” Praise him.
- About what God has done?” Thank him.
- How I have sinned?” Confess to him.
- How I ought to live?” Ask for help.
Check out these helpful resources:
- The Power of Praying from the Scripture by Daniel Henderson
- A Theology of Prayer by Bubba Stahl
- How to pray the Bible by John Piper
- Praying the Bible 5 day video journey by Don Whitney
We hope LAPS becomes for an intentional time each day or week for you to spend listening to God in the Scriptures and praying the Scriptures for yourself and others. Here are some practical suggestions to help that happen in your life.
We must start by being devoted. The early church was described as being devoted in prayer (Acts 1:14, 2:42). You can tell what a person is devoted to by looking at where they spend their time, resources, and energy. What would people say you are devoted to? Would anyone say you are devoted to the Lord because of your devotional life? If not now, devote yourself to him today. He is worth it!
Set a mileage, minute, or number of laps goal to keep you going. Don't make it too hard or too easy. We want it to be atainable, but not without sacrifice. We want this to become a lifelong discipline of listening and praying Scripture.
Challenge yourself to a marathon of LAPS, 26.2 miles. Challenge yourself to 24 hours of LAPS over a period of time. Challenge yourself to 100 laps around your block or the Y. Then when you hit your goal, make another one. Don't stop.
7 laps around the Y = ~1 mile
2 laps around the outback trail at the Y = ~1 mile
In situations where you could become popular for praying publicly, Jesus told his followers to pray in their room where they could be alone with God in secret (Matthew 6:6). Unfortunately, with the invention of the smartphone, it seems like we can never be alone. That is unless we commit to leaving our phone behind and giving this time to God. Think about how rude it would be if you were invited to dinner by a friend, but spent the entire time looking at your phone. Well, that's what we often do with God. Our best friend has invited us into intimate fellowship with him and we allow ourselves to be distracted from what's most important. Commit to leave your phone or any other distraction behind so that you can truly focus on listening and praying the Scriptures.
It might also be helpful to get outside to listen and pray the Scriptures. When we are indoors, we often have man made walls surrounding us in a small spaces. However, when we get outside, we often have the opportunity to look upon God's handiwork and are not limited by space. When we look at the stars in the sky or colors in the park we are often left in awe of who God is. We are reminded of how big God is and how small we are. We are reminded how desperately we need him. It helps us to pray bigger prayers than just those things we are reminded of in our homes. It might also allow us to interact with others who need our prayers. Ask people, "How can I pray for you?" You never know. That may lead to an opportunity to share the hope that lies within you!
Another suggestion might be to pray aloud rather than praying silently. This might seem silly to do when walking in public, but it will likely help you stay focused. When we pray silently our minds often tend to wander. We start thinking about other things and stop focusing on the task at hand. Stop and pray aloud as if someone is actually listening to you. We are having a conversation with God.
Use a List
Not only does 'Listening And Praying Scripture' help us to be intentional with our prayers, but using a list can also help us. We often pray about the same people and same things, which is not a bad thing. However, we are called to pray for all people in all places and a list can help us do that. Rather than simply praying for ourself and our family, a prayer guide will help us to be intentional to pray God's Word for ourself, our family, our church, our friends, the authorities, the lost, and the nations!
Scriptures about Prayer
- 2 Chronicles 7:14 - Humility in prayer
- Jeremiah 33:3 - Call to me and I will answer
- Matthew 26:41 - Prayer against temptation
- Mark 11:24 - Believe what you ask
- Luke 11:9 - Ask, seek, knock
- Philippians 4:6-7 - Pray about everything
- 1 Thess. 5:17-18 - Pray without ceasing
- 1 Timothy 2:1–4 - Pray for all peoples
- James 5:16 - Prayer has great power
Prayers in the Scripture
- Genesis 32:9-12 - Jacob’s Prayer in Distress
- Numbers 6:24-26 - Aaron’s Blessing
- 1 Samuel 2:1-10 - Hannah’s Prayer of Praise
- Nehemiah 1:4-11 - Nehemiah’s Confession
- Nehemiah 9:6-37 - Ezra’s Historical Prayer
- The Psalms - A Book of Praises and Prayers
- Jonah 2:2-9 - Jonah’s Prayer for Deliverance
- Matthew 6:9-13 - The Lord’s Prayer
- John 17 - Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer
- Acts 4:24-30 - Believer’s Prayer for Boldness
- Ephesians 1:15-23 - Blessing God
- Ephesians 3:14-21 - Strengthened in Spirit
- Philippians 1:9-11 - Love may Abound
- Colossians 1:9-12 - Filled with Knowledge
- 1 Thess. 3:11-13 - Blameless and Holy
- Hebrews 13:20-21 - Prayer for Equipping
We also have t-shirts for you to wear while your making your LAPS around the neighborhood or the Y. We hope they help to strike up some conversations about how you can pray for others. These will also be great to wear to our Y events where we hope to lift hight the "C" of YMCA!
Suggested donation: $10 each
Colors: Heather Blue and Heather Purple
- Praying the Bible by Donald S. Whitney
- Do you Pray? by J.C. Ryle
- It happens after prayer by H.B. Charles Jr.
- Prayer by John Onnwuchekwa
- Pray Big by Alistair Begg
- Fresh Wind Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala
- The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
- What every child should know about prayer by Nancy Guthrie