This is #2 in a series of posts – “Tools for your Quiet Time.” You can find installment #1 here
I have to say that this method is one of my favorites. I seem to always come back to it – like a favorite food, or favorite place to clear your mind… it’s that type of thing for me. Anyway… here it is…
As far as I know, this method of study is not original with me, though I did “come up with it” in my own life as I sought better ways to study and know God’s word. Honestly, I came to this method due to my ongoing struggle to find a practical, helpful way to include study and prayer in my daily times with the Lord. What I mean by that is that my study time was typically good, but my prayer time was typically lacking. If I ran out of time, it was always the dedicated prayer time that I didn’t get to. I call it the “Scripture/Prayer” method because it centers around meditation on scripture and a response of prayer to what you have considered.
Two scriptural truths that have helped this method to be of particular value to me are these:
- God answers our prayers when we ask things He wants to give us (1 John 5:14).
- We can’t even have the right desires if God does not give them to us (Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:10-18)
You may be wondering how two very different passages combine to help me with this study method. It’s really in two ways…
1) As I realize that I am unable to do what scripture is instructing me to do (Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:10-18), I find myself more dependent on God and more eager to see Him work in my life to overcome my natural wretchedness.
2) With that in view, I ask Him to do in me what the passages instruct me to do… the very things I cannot do on my own. And believing that what He instructs me to be is what He desires me to be, I have great confidence that He will do what I’m asking Him to do because I’m praying according to His will (1 John 5:14)
I can’t tell you how much those two truths have encouraged me in my daily walk with the Lord. I’m typically eager, hopeful, and excited to meet with Him because I can’t wait to see what wonderful things He desires for me, that I will be able to understand and ask Him for as I meet with Him. And I find myself more eagerly looking for His work being fulfilled in my life, because I KNOW He will answer my prayers for these types of things, according to 1 John 5:14.
After the explanation of this method below, you’ll see an example of it. Notice the underlined verbs in the example prayer…they will give you a better idea of where I put my dependence and hope as I use this method.
- You will develop a greater appreciation for the heart of what the scriptures are saying.
- You will learn to pray Biblical prayers, prayers that ask God for the things He delights to give to His children.
- You will be able to incorporate your personal Bible study and personal Prayer together, with some limitations. What I mean is this: You will be able to study the scriptures and pray during the same daily time. But your “prayer list” will have to be addressed in some other way.
- You can use any passage of the Bible, though the New Testament Epistles and the Psalms and Proverbs lend themselves to this method particularly well.
TOOLS YOU’LL NEED
- A trustworthy Bible translation (ESV, NIV, NASB, NKJV, KJV, RSV)
- A notebook or journal, or a Bible with wider margins (I first began this method by writing things in my Bible margins, but have now decided to use a journal to record more extended thoughts and prayers.)
HOW TO DO IT
- Read the passage you’ve selected, verse at a time, seeking to understand what the author is saying about God and His relationship with people/the world. Take it in bite-sized pieces.
- Jot down what that section of the passage says about God’s attitude toward people, His actions toward them, and what He requires or instructs of the people in question.
- Pray the verse back to God, personalizing as you go (a brief example is below)
- Write out your prayer if that is helpful to you.
- Passage: Psalm 1:1-2 – “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.”
- Notes: I see that God Himself says that those who have association with people who’s lives are characterized by wickedness or sin will not be blessed by Him. He blesses those who do NOT have those kinds of regular associations. God blesses those who delight in His law, those who meditate on His law consistently.
- Prayer: Father, make me to delight in Your word/Your law. Create in me the kind of heart that truly delights in the truths You have to say to me. Make my soul love it, make my mind and heart crave it. Teach me how to seek Your will through Your word. Teach me how to apply it honestly. Give me the self-control and discipline to regularly, habitually meditate on Your word.
- Then move on to the next section of your passage. You can stop mid-way through a chapter if time does not allow you to continue, or you can do more if you are able.
I’d love to hear your responses and suggestions if you try this one out!