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“One should never read the Bible without praying, and never pray without reading the Bible.”

~ Anonymous

Your Spiritual Life Determines the Rest of Your Life

By Dr. Ronnie Floyd

The growth of our spiritual lives will never outpace our intentional commitment to prioritize it every day. Our spiritual development impacts every other area of our lives—and we cannot delegate that growth to anyone else.

During my college years, over Christmas break, my brother asked me to build a barn for him. He is a much more gifted carpenter than I, but he was trying to help me out. I needed the money. But building barns was neither my passion nor within my skill set.

I accomplished the task, but in a few years the barn began to lean and eventually became unsafe. My brother would have been better off building the barn himself than delegating something to me I could not properly do.

Just as my brother should not have expected me to build a barn, you and I cannot expect someone else to build our spiritual lives for us. No one else can construct our daily walk with God. It has to be intentional, purposeful, and personal. Each one of us is accountable to do it ourselves.

The wisest decision we can make each day is this: I will walk with God today. What the Bible says about Enoch has always challenged me. This statement is simple yet profound: “Enoch walked with God” (Gen. 5:24, esv). Could God write this about your life and mine today? If not, why not? What stands in our way? Who is standing in our way?

In reality, no one and no thing stands in our way. The decision is ours. Remember these truths:

  1. God wants to walk with us! Getting our lives in order spiritually and practically begins with the decision to make it our number-one priority.
  2. God wants to have a meaningful relationship with us daily. He never puts us on hold, and we never have to stand in line.
  3. He does not delegate our spiritual growth to one of the angels who serves Him. He is always waiting on each of us to come to Him.
  4. Bringing our lives into spiritual order requires a strategy.

Let me highlight a few ways to be intentional in our commitment to prioritize our spiritual lives:

Reading the Bible Daily

The Bible is God’s Word. It’s what God says to you and me, and to all people. Thus, we need to read the Bible every day.

When the Bible speaks, God speaks. His voice through His Word cannot be minimized. But we can maximize its impact in our lives if we truly understand that what He says lives forever—and put His Word into practice! Through the years, I have witnessed thousands of Christians who live out their faith. Almost without exception, those who read the Bible daily are set apart from the others.

Former trucking magnate J.B. Hunt told me that the Bible was his road map for life. It showed him how to live the way he wanted to live—for God. Hunt drove trucks all over America even before he and his wife Johnelle began their Fortune 500 transportation company (one of the largest in the country). While he lived on the road, the map of our country became important to him. It led him to his desired destination.

But Hunt began his day reading the Bible. It would take him at least 18 months to read through the Bible once, but he read through the entire Bible several times in his life. It was his road map leading him to his desired spiritual growth. If an extraordinarily busy and wealthy man like J.B. Hunt knew he needed to read the Bible and make it a priority each day of his life, surely his example can inspire us to do the same.

This imperative daily discipline helps us become spiritually fit. We cannot be all God wants us to be if we do not read the Bible. It is impossible.

Praying Our Life into Order

Think of it this way: We can go to God anytime, anywhere, about anything. Through Jesus Christ, we have direct access to God.

Since we can go to God anytime, anywhere, and about anything that’s going on in our lives, why not choose to talk to God daily—and often? Create your own system of prayer or adopt someone else’s. If nothing else, make a list of things you are concerned about in your own life, your family, your church, your career and business, your future, your finances, your country, and concerns you have for other people. Pray for them each day and look for God to walk into those situations personally and powerfully. God answers prayer! God steps into the life of the person who prays. He can do more in a moment than you can in a lifetime. Each of us needs divine intervention.

Living an orderly life requires praying our lives into order. This is why I keep my prayer list in the Notes app on my iPad. My list changes continually as I watch God respond to my prayers. And I can easily change my list because of the technology’s simplicity. Find what works best for you, and just do it.

Praying with Fasting

Consider adding periodic times of fasting to your prayer life. Fasting is abstaining from something with a spiritual goal in mind.

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“The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.” — Martin Luther

I remember early on as a follower of Jesus, I would hear people reference their desire and ability to go to a quiet place with only their Bible and emerge after four hours refreshed, renewed, and revitalized. If I’m honest, the prospect of this scenario seemed overwhelming and the direct opposite of refreshing. I think this was mainly because of my lack of perspective on the benefits and blessings of a time of studying.

Studying is one of the most important areas in which to figure out a sustainable rhythm. When I’ve attempted to read through the Word with no real plan, I’ve found myself lost, confused, and bored. A breakthrough came when I started to ask the Lord to show me what He desired for me to see. When we read God’s Word, we must continually say, “This is talking to me.” The Bible is not an impersonal story about the past; it is the living Word of God. It is an ongoing narrative of which we are a part. Our hope is to gain insight on life and direction through the revealed Word of God. Eugene Peterson says it best: “The goal of reading the Word is to listen for the voice of the God who speaks.” There is a reason that Psalm 119 refers to the Word of God as a lamp to our feet and light to our path. Scripture helps to guide and direct us as we seek to understand the richness of its truth.

The Bible is filled with reminders of the significance and power that accompanies studying, learning, and resting in the Scripture and precepts of God. Paul teaches in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Studying God’s Word allows us to ingest his truth so that it can permeate all of our inner self. When we focus on Scripture, it reminds us of who God truly is and who we are in light of that truth. The Word gives us understanding that helps us to teach and guide others according to God’s principles. Understanding the Word produces thankfulness that causes us to sing and encourage one another with God’s promises.

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“We know who we are praying to only if we learn it in the Bible. And we know how we should be praying only by getting our vocabulary from the Bible. None of this should be a surprise, since we see this basic dynamic played out in the development of every new human being.”

~ Timothy KellerPrayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God54-55.

“When the saint ceases to seek after holiness, purity, righteousness, truth; when he ceases to pray, stops reading the Word and gives way to carnal appetites, then it is that Satan comes.”

~ Smith Wigglesworth

Smith Wigglesworth preaching.jpg

Of course growing as a Christian involves gaining more knowledge of God’s Word; it implies a life of prayer and witness. But these are all the results of something more basic. Being a Christian means knowing God. Growing as a Christian means increasing in our desire to know God. This is the sum of the Christian life. Jesus himself said: “This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God” (John 17:3).

The true men and women of faith are “the people who know their God” (Daniel 11:32). That is why, in the Old Testament, one of the anticipated blessings of the new age which the Messiah would inaugurate was that then men and women would “know the Lord” Jeremiah 31:34). This is the heart of the Christian life. It is fundamental to all spiritual growth. If we are not growing in the knowledge of God, we are not growing at all.

~ Sinclair B. Ferguson, Grow in Grace, 40-41.

By Don Whitney
Why pray the Bible?

1. You’ll pray biblically-saturated, biblically-shaped prayers. This means you’ll have greater assurance that you’re praying the will of God. The Bible makes plain (in 1 John 5:14-15 specifically) that we must pray according to the will of God if we expect him to answer. Can you have any greater assurance that you are praying the will of God than when you are praying the Word of God?

2. You’ll be freed from the boring rut of saying the same about the same old things in prayer. You’ll continue to pray about the same things, because our lives tend to consist of the same things from one day to the next. Most things in our lives don’t change dramatically very often. But while you pray about the same things, you won’t say the same things.

3. You’ll not only pray about the same things in fresh ways every day, but you’ll pray about new things as well. When you pray the Bible, the text will suggest things for you to pray that you wouldn’t pray for if you had a prayer list as long as the New York City phone directory.

4. You’ll be more focused in prayer. Your mind won’t wander as much as it does when you pray the same old things every day. When you say the same old things every day your mind tends to go on auto-pilot in prayer. You find yourself able to say the words without thinking about them. But when you pray the Bible your mind has a place to focus. And when your thoughts do wander, you have a place to return to—the next verse.

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by JOE CARTER

Do you know how many prayer are mentioned in the Bible (and how many were answered)? Here’s the answer to that question and other things you should know about the prayer in the Bible.

gethsemane_thumb1. There are 650 prayers listed in the Bible. (Here is the entire list and where they can be found.)

2. There are approximately 450 recorded answers to prayer in the Bible.

3. The first time prayer is mentioned in the Bible is Genesis 4:26 (earlier dialogues where initiated directly by God, e.g., Genesis 3:8-13Genesis 4:9).

4. The Bible records Jesus praying 25 different times during his earthly ministry.

5. In the Bible, Paul mentions prayer (prayers, prayer reports, prayer requests, exhortations to pray), 41 times.

6. Although prayer can (and should) be done from any bodily position, the Bible lists five specific postures: Sitting (2 Sam 7:18), standing (Mark 11:25), kneeling (Chronicles 6:13;Daniel 6:10Luke 22:41Acts 7:609:4020:3621:5Ephesians 3:14), with one’s face to the ground (Matthew 26:39Mark 14:35), and with hands lifted up (1 Timothy 2:8).

7. In Jesus model for how his disciples should pray (Luke 11:1-4), he provides five areas of focus: That God’s name be honored – the focus on his everlasting glory (“Father, hallowed be your name”); that God’s kingdom come – the focus on his eternal will (“your kingdom come”); that God’s provision is given – the focus on our present (“Give us each day our daily bread.”); that God’s forgiveness is granted – the focus on our past (Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.); that God’s deliverance will be provided – the focus on our future.

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 Bible

Arthur+W.+Pink-The+Divine+Inspiration+Of+The+Bible-.jpg

We need to confess to God our sin of neglecting His Holy Word. We have time enough–we take time–to read the writings of fellow-sinners, yet we have little or no time for the Holy Scriptures. The Bible is a series of Divine love letters, and yet many of God’s people have scarcely broken the seals.

~ A. W. Pink, The Divine Inspiration of the Bible

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