Five ways in-depth Bible reading affects your life
Whether or not you’re a pastor or work in a church leadership role, spiritual disciplines are a vital part of the Christian life. How we commune with God — and how often — influences everything else about our lives. Making it a priority is essential for whole-life discipleship and growth.
Yet “Quality is not always quantity,” some say. But if memory serves me right, this bit of Christianese was only communicated when it came to my “personal time with the Lord.” The older I get, however, the more I see how wrong I was. When it comes to our walk with Christ, quality is quantity. It really is an inescapable bit of pragmatic truth — godliness is a result of spending time with God.
Like you, I feel as if there’s never enough time. It feels as if I’m being stretched in every direction imaginable. A friend asked me not too long ago how things were going? I started to tell them it was crazy, but then I had the thought it’s always crazy, and when crazy has become normal, it’s no longer crazy, I guess.
Making time for what’s important
Now this is just a long way to say a glance over my calendar doesn’t allow for long stretches of prayer, certainly not in the four-hour daily ilk of Martin Luther. And yet, as the book title says, “I’m too busy not to pray.” It really is counterintuitive, the more I have going on, the greater the stress and deeper the burdens the more I have to press into God. And it’s here where God was whispering to me in a clear way I needed to spend an hour with him daily in communion. Now mind you, his voice was being contradicted by the voices of husbanding, parenting, work, and production. But I knew God was right, and over the last year and a half I’ve taken this journey of setting aside an hour with God.
“What exactly do you do for this hour?” a friend of mine asked as I shared this with him. Here it is: Twenty minutes of praying a passage of Scripture I’ve memorized over myself. I’ve found that reading the Bible exposes me to the Bible, but memorizing Scripture helps me absorb Scripture. Twenty minutes of Bible reading.
And 20 minutes of intercession. This involves praying for specific people in my family, church, and friendships, along with our world and a host of other items. The names, needs, and Scripture I pray over them specifically is in my prayer journal. When God answers, I note it, and often come back and celebrate the faithfulness of God.
The benefits of slow and steady Bible reading
While I haven’t emerged from this time having won any father of the year awards, I have noticed some residual rewards of my elongated time with Christ:
1. More joy
2. A heightened awareness of God throughout the day
3. Greater effectiveness in preaching
4. Sensitivity to sin
5. Growth in humility
Now this may be too ambitious for some. So maybe your plan needs to be less, or something completely different. But the goal isn’t perfection, and instead it’s to press into God as we grow and sustain a relationship with him for the good of our souls and the flourishing of those around us. Things really are too crazy in our lives not to pray.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared at bryanlorrits.com.Topics: Christian Life, Discipleship, Spiritual Formation Practices