Choose one book in the Bible and read a portion of it each day until you’ve completed that book. Read it slowly—one or two chapters a day at the most. This will force you to chew on what you read. You’ll be not just processing information but learning to hear God’s Spirit and receive revelation.
As you read your chapter for the day slowly, pause over anything that grabs your attention. Try to become aware of the inner voice of the Holy Spirit. Stop throughout your reading and ask yourself: What stood out to me? What statement or phrase seemed to shimmer? Write these things down in a notebook and try to put into words what it seems God is teaching you. What does this chapter reveal about God? What does this chapter reveal about life?
Once you’ve written down and reflected on anything that stood out, answer the question: What am I supposed to do with this? What application does this truth require? Try to be as specific as possible with your answer.
ONE TOPIC STUDY
A second way to approach the Bible is through a one-topic study. For example, in the back of most Bibles is a concordance that lists important words. Also, there are multiple websites where you can search for a keyword or phrase in Scripture. (Try biblegateway.com to start.) You could search “in Christ” and isolate every time in Scripture this phrase is used. You could search “Holy Spirit” or “peace.”
Print out the results and slowly read each passage. Study each one in context one by one. What does this phrase really mean? What is God saying to you about it? Write down your insights. As you learn the context of each passage, a clear understanding of that topic will begin to form.
WAITING AND REPEATING
A third way to approach Scripture is to find a verse that stands out to you, write it down, and then “walk around it” for a while. Read it, reread it, memorize it, pray it, and worship God with the truth contained in it. This method will help engrave that truth deeply on your heart.
Create a list of key verses that have spoken to you and include it in a folder you can bring with you for your time with God. Over the course of a few months, you will have collected a list of scriptures that God has highlighted. Take time to walk around them. Remind yourself of the truth they contain.
DEMONSTRATE YOUR LOVE
Demonstrating your love for God is called worship. This is time to recalibrate your heart toward him, taking yourself out of the center of your thoughts and putting God there. Don’t wait until you feel it. Use your words and your body posture to worship God, and your spirit will stir. Sing a song. Lift your hands. Make a list of things you are thankful for and speak them out one by one. Remember, God wants you to approach him as Father. Express a heart of thanks to God as honestly and authentically as you can. This can be a great time to use worship music. Sometimes it’s effective to just be still. Take the time to lift up God above all else.
INTERCESSION AND REQUESTS
One of the greatest mysteries in Scripture is that God has chosen to move on the earth in response to believing prayer. Prayer has the power to change the outcome of events and change the landscape of our hearts. One type of prayer is called intercession. To intercede means “to stand between.” God invites his people to stand between the needs of life and the throne of heaven, asking him to move and work on the earth. Tragically, many Christians never take the time to request things from God, even though he has revealed his will and his heart on countless issues in life through the Scripture.
Start by praying specific requests for things like nations, governments, cities, the persecuted, and the poor. Always try to use Scripture as a guide to pray the specific promises of God. After praying for the world, pray for the church—all across the nations and right where you live. Pray specifically for your local church, its leadership and its mission. Then pray for family, friends, and neighbors. Lastly, pray specific prayers for yourself. Make specific, humble requests of God, and he will honor your prayers and respond. Write these requests down so you can cross them off when God resolves them.
This third portion of your prayer time includes two types of confession. First, confession of any known sin followed by receiving God’s complete forgiveness. Next, confession of who you are in God. There are over 7,000 promises in the Bible and every one of them belongs to those who belong to Christ. These confessions have a profound impact on your emotional and mental health. Confessions speak to the invisible world around you and change the atmosphere.
As with most things in life, we don’t grow without intentional planning. Make time with God your first daily priority. You’ll never regret it!
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