Many of you who read this are familiar with the concept of spiritual disciplines. A spiritual discipline is a spiritual practice that is designed to bring a person closer to God by doing a thing or things such as prayer, meditation, and spending time in solitude or engaging in the study of the Bible. In fact, there are many classical spiritual disciplines and most scholars that I am familiar with identify around 25 “classical” spiritual disciplines. , inclusive of the ones I just mentioned. In addition to the “classical” disciplines, there are also “expressive” disciplines such as writing, teaching, art, musical performance and so on, which have the goal of bringing a person or group closer in relationship to God; I’ve written on this before, and you can find a series on this topic under the tab “The Journey” at the top of the screen.
For this post, I want to discuss briefly one of the expressive spiritual disciplines which is praying God’s Word. This is, in a sense, the combination of two classical disciplines, the study of the Word and prayer. The result of this combination is powerful, to say the least, because it leads a person directly into a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ that is much more interactive than the classical disciplines of Bible study and formal prayer normally do.
Everyone knows about prayer, but Bible study is often quite a different thing, for it is largely a mental process of learning facts, discovering meaning and background; it tends to be academic in nature. That is not to suggest that Bible study is a bad thing; may it never be said! Yet I must remind you that many of the greatest Bible scholars are not believers, just as most people who are experts in Greek Mythology are not believers in Greek gods. While classical Bible study is very important for any Christian, the fact remains that it can also be confining spiritually, and thus we find the reason to combine it with prayer which is a spiritual exercise.
If I haven’t scared you off, here’s how you do it:
Take a short text, say for instance Hebrews 1:1-4. I like to begin by thanking God for His Word, and for my access to it, and then ask Him to reveal its contents to me. I actually pray the text, or to put it another way, the Bible text is my prayer. I go through it in very short little pieces, a phrase or a clause at a time. As I go, depending on the phrase or clause, I might give Him praise for it or give Him thanks for it. I might also ask Him what it means, how I should understand it. As I continue I go through the entire chunk of text in this way, but as often as not, I find myself going other places as well, places He leads me to in Scripture and I see connections I hadn’t seen before. Sometimes He leads me to aspects of my life or attitudes that I have which need my attention.
The point is simply this: I have found, as many others over the centuries have also found, that this is an excellent and simple way to deepen a relationship with our Lord, as well as an excellent way to increase spiritual discernment across the board. Consequently, I would strongly recommend it for anyone who desires a closer walk with Christ, and it is an excellent way to become “naked before God” as we discussed earlier this year in some detail. If you haven’t seen those posts, I would suggest checking out the tab at the top of the page entitled “Nakedness as a Metaphor in Scripture” for further information.
As I wrap this post up, it occurs to me that I might write a Relationship 301 next time… I’ll think it over and let you know.