Probably, when you came to faith in Jesus Christ, you were told that you must read your Bible and pray, for that is how you grow in your faith and in your walk with the Lord. But, what does that mean exactly? How is that done? And, are there wrong and right ways to read your Bible and pray?
I hear a lot of people say that all you need is about 5 minutes a day to read your Bible and pray. Really? And, they talk about this alone time with God more like it is a ritual that you go through each day, and once it is over with then you are free for the rest of the day to do whatever it is you do. But, is that all there is to it? And, is this really what this is all about?
Is God truly content with just 5 minutes of our time each day? Or, do you think he wants more? If so, how much? 10 minutes? 30 minutes? An hour?
What if I told you he wants it all? Not just 5 minutes or 30 minutes or an hour of our day, but all of it! Would you believe me? Or, do you kind of like the idea of the 5 minutes a day for God and then the rest is yours to do what you want to do?
Oh, I know we all have busy lives. I had four children of my own 2 years apart in age from each other, although that was a long time ago, so I know how it is for young moms, especially if they also have careers. I know many of you are still working full-time (for money), and that takes up a large part of your day, and then you have families and other responsibilities, too.
And, I know that I am at that age where I am in a unique position of having a large amount of time each day to spend in prayer and in the Word of God, so I am certainly not expecting that all of you would be able to dedicate the time to the Word of God and to prayer that I have been allotted at this time in my life. So, I totally get that.
So, what do I mean when I say that God wants it all? For, he certainly does. What I mean is that Jesus Christ (God) is Lord (owner-master) of our entire lives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And, he is well aware that we have jobs or children or projects that have to be done, etc. So, he is not insensitive to your schedules or to my schedule. He just wants us yielded to him 100%.
So, if he is Lord of our lives, then he is Lord of our time and our schedules, too, and so we need to seek his face and see how he wants us to spend our time. And, we need to be listening to his voice, and we need to obey him when he calls us to spend time with him, and we need to not resist him, because we have other stuff we want to do. And, this speaks to me, too.
“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thess. 5:17 ESV
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Rom. 12:12 ESV
“Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” Eph. 6:18 ESV
So, can we literally pray without ceasing? Yes! We can! For prayer, although it has its times when we go off to pray away from other people, is continuous, because it is about a relationship, not a ritual. We should be constantly in an attitude of prayer to where we talk with the Lord throughout our day just like he is a real person right there with us constantly.
But, prayer is two-way communication with God, not just one-way. It is us talking to him, and it is him talking to us, too. So, we need to be continually in a frame of mind where we can hear our Lord speak to us any time of the day or night, and to where we can immediately respond to him, too.
We should be in this continuous communion with our Lord throughout our day to where we are voicing requests, asking for wisdom, and praising him, etc. any time of day or night. So, prayer is not something we do just five minutes a day. It is continuous ongoing communication with God that never ends.
We can pray while we are driving to work and back. We can pray while we are cooking or cleaning or taking care of children. We can pray while we are standing in long lines at grocery stores. We can pray anywhere at any time of day or night in any circumstances. And, we can listen to the Spirit speaking to our hearts all those times, too.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil… Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm… and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Eph. 6:10-11, 13, 17 ESV
“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.” Col. 3:16 ESV
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Tim. 2:15 ESV
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Jas. 1:22 ESV
The Word of God (the Bible – Genesis to Revelation) is not something we just read five minutes a day and then we are done for the day. The Word of God is something that we put on (that we wear) every day like a garment, close to our hearts. The Word of God is to dwell (live) in our hearts and lives, not just in our minds. It is to be what we live, what we breathe.
The Word of God is our sustenance for life, for love, and for everything we do day in and day out. It should be what guides our steps, and it should be our rule book for living. And, we should study it, not just read a small section of scripture a day and then we are done. And, we need to study it in context, so that we rightly handle the Word of truth, and under the authority and wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit, too.
And, we need to not just read it and study it in context and then share it with others, but we need to be those who do what it says, too. For there are many people who know what the Bible teaches, and they can probably teach what it says, too, but they don’t put it into practice in their daily lives. For, it is all head knowledge, but it really hasn’t gotten to their hearts. They are not really putting it on as the armor of God.
So, how do we get the Word of God into our minds and into our hearts more than just 5 minutes a day? There are many ways, actually.
We can listen to it on MP3s or on CDs while driving in a car or while doing mindless jobs throughout the house. We can also take in the Word of God through scriptures songs. Look for songs, like the old hymns, that teach the scriptures. I remember the Word so much better when it is put to music, and this is one of the ways it is reinforced in my life throughout the day.
Listen to it taught, but make sure what you are listening to is truth. Check it out and make sure the teacher is teaching it in context. And, have index cards with scripture verses on them that you place on mirrors or at your desk at work that remind you each day of what the Word teaches so you can apply it to your life.
And, make time for reading the Word of God. Cut out TV shows and Facebook, and Instagram, and gaming, and YouTube and whatever else you may spend time on that may be robbing your time with God in his Word.
And, then share the Word of God with others. Don’t keep it to yourself. Share scriptures on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites. Text them to your friends and family members. Start a blog and share what you are learning from God’s Word each day. Find creative ways to share God’s word with others each day, but make sure you are living it, too.
And, don’t cut God short. Let him rule your schedule, not you. Let him determine how much time you should spend in his Word and in prayer, not you. Don’t squeeze him into your busy schedule. Make him top priority. And, listen to him when he says he wants time with you. Follow his lead. Do what he says. And, put that Word of God on each day, and in practice, and you will do well.
Songs in the Night
An Original Work / December 18, 2013
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84
Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.
I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!
Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.
I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!
Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.
Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!