In John 15 Jesus says,
7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
There is a mysterious, but powerful relationship between reading the Bible and prayer. Jesus draws attention to the fact that if his words remain in us, our prayers have a power that lead to God’s glory and our lives being fruitfulness for Him.
The Bible is spiritual food. In Deuteronomy 8:3, God reminds his people that “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” We need to feed on God’s word in order to avoid being spiritually malnourished. In a similar way, prayer is oxygen to the Christian’s soul. It is the process of learning to turn theology into experience, and develop a personal relationship with Christ himself.
But how do we do both in a way that is meaningful? Many Christians want to read their Bible and pray, but many struggle. I believe this is because we are often told what we should do, but are not instructed in how to do it.
If you are looking for a daily devotional structure that help you engage God through the Bible and prayer, try the following for the next few weeks:
- Pick one of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John). Head over to www.biblegateway.com if you don’t have a Bible.
- Read one chapter a day. Read the chapter slowly at least twice, but ideally 3 times, each time taking notes of what stands out to you.
- But instead of trying to figure out what to say, let the Bible teach you to pray. Turn each verse (the little numbers at the start of some sentences) into a prayer. Example: 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples can used to pray, “God, help my life to bear fruit that brings you glory. Help me to live in such a way that it is clear to others that I am a genuine disciple of Jesus.” By turning each verse into a prayer, you’ll combat the three biggest obstacles most people encounter when they pray: a wandering mind, repetitive prayers, and boredom.
Reading the Bible and praying is the central way in which we abide in Christ. This ritual, when done with a surrendered, obedient heart, leads to untold riches in our Christian walk.
Note: This reflection first appeared in the January 19th edition of the Nelson Star News.