A couple of weeks ago, I had the joy of sharing my quiet time spot with you. I even posted a photo of my desk! (See that post here.) In that post I gave a fairly general overview of the components of my time with God. Today, I’d like to linger a bit on how my Bible reading and prayer go hand in hand.
Occasionally I go to my desk to spend time with God with something specific weighing heavily on my heart. Those days I have to pour out my heart to God in prayer before I can do anything else. But those days are the exception.
Most days I begin my time with God by seeking to hear what He has to say to me through His Word. I ask Him to speak to me and to open my ears to hear. Then I begin to read the Bible. My goal is to make what God has to say my priority. I work to let Him begin and guide our conversation.
Because I’m a Type A personality, it’s easy for me to fall into the mistake of reading too quickly to make sure I “finish” the day’s reading assignment. So I have to remind myself that the purpose of reading is for God to speak to me. I need to stop when God prompts. When a verse or phrase “jumps off the page” I pause and linger there, meditating on that passage.
About a month ago, I wrote a post about meditating on God’s Word. (You can review that here.) Biblical meditation is not emptying your mind, but filling it with God’s Word. It includes asking God questions about the passage. For instance, does this text reveal something I should…
- Believe about God?
- Praise or thank or trust God for?
- Pray about for myself or others?
- Have a new attitude about?
- Make a decision about?
- Act on for the sake of Christ, others, or myself?
As I think deeply on the passage and ask God questions I “listen” for His answers. I want to understand what He is saying to me through His Word. I record what He says in a journal. This process is the heart of my daily time with God.
Usually there is additional prayer time to talk with God about things that have not already come up. And often there is also some “follow up.” Something I need to do, someone I need to talk to, something I need to make right. In other words, I need to be obedient to something God has told me during our time together.
Donald Whitney, author of “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life,” writes that “meditation is the missing link between Bible intake and prayer.” He explains that meditation helps us digest what God says to us in His Word and then speak to Him about it in a meaningful way. He also quotes from several Puritan writers who passionately wrote about the same thing.
Although this type of interaction with God is my goal, I still sometimes struggle to let Him speak first and guide our time together. Some days my own schedule or own agenda gets in the way. Maybe you can relate. I forget that it’s not all about me! What about you? How do you focus on what God has to say to you?