Have you ever sat in a Bible class, in awe of the grace and knowledge of your brothers and sisters (2Pe 3:18)? Or heard a prayer in worship that you knew came from the heart of a righteous person (Jam 5:16)? The more you get to know these good people, the more you will probably realize how much of that deep faith, hope, and love were developed outside the assembly. When you visit their homes, you will most likely find a well-worn and well-marked Bible, and will come to know a heart filled with songs and prayers.
In this series, you’ve hopefully seen why it’s so important for every Christian (and every Christian family) to set aside time each day for communing with God. And hopefully you’ve also caught some of the how: “singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col 3:16 NKJV), learning to “pray without ceasing” (1Th 5:17), and meditating on the word “all the day” (Ps 119:97).
But among those three, you’ve definitely heard a lot more about the first two. That’s because meditating daily on the word really deserves its own series! But I don’t want to leave you hanging, so here are some pointers for those scripture readings included between your songs and prayers.
As C.S. Lewis once wrote, the best way to enjoy beauty is to simply, “Look. Listen. Receive” (An Experiment in Criticism, p. 19). Here’s how that works with the Bible:
So as we read Scripture, we’re not just skimming the words on the page; we think about how God is revealing himself through those words. And when we do these things well, you’ll find that you’re not just reading Scripture, the Scriptures are reading you. For a great example of this, check out the Jews coming home after the exile in Nehemiah 8. For a not-so-great example, listen to Jesus’ discussion with “a certain lawyer” in Luke 10:25-37.
Of course, sometimes we will all still need some help; a “Phillip” to come alongside us as our guide (Acts 8:31). Here are three resources I really enjoy:
However you decide to read each day, though, pick up a good Bible collecting dust nearby and put it to good use. Remember, these words are ancient, but ever true. Reflect on what God reveals to you through them. Their good news belongs in your heart. Teach it to others with every song you sing and every prayer you pray. Live out God’s own wisdom and grace. Grow more into him, and you will find your strength for the day.
It’s not about finding the perfect prayer routine or the perfect reading plan (though both can be helpful), but about drawing closer to the one who is Perfect. And don’t worry about how much progress you are making each day or whether you’re doing it right. Just remember those words of Jeremiah:
Stand by the roads, and look,