Relationship 201

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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.


About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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12 Responses to Relationship 201

  1. Awesome! praying Gods word back to him is powerful. Prayer is often over looked and underrated. Many of us do not know how to pray. thank you for an amazing lesson!

  2. Bette Cox says:

    Thanks, Don. Studying the scripture this way – with the Author “at your elbow” – is never dull. It’s exciting, enlightening, life-changing and motivating! I Peter 1:2, for example: sprinkling of the blood… hmm. This is not addressed to priests (or ministers) only… hmmmm.

  3. Pingback: Praying God’s Word | A disciple's study

  4. I’m an amateur historian, I like to take a passage, especially in the OT, and examine it, determine what was going on in the Middle East at that time, and try to divine what God’s message meant to the people of the time. Sometimes it takes me to surrounding cultures, sometimes it’s word hunts in the Greek text. To me this is trying to get into God’s mind and seeing His people as He saw them, and what He was trying to convey to them.

    I don’t remember if it was one of your recent posts, or someone else’s, but the pointed out something I found out a long time ago – words change meaning. What a word meant when the text was written (Greek) and when it was translated into English can be vastly different from how we use it today.

    • Don Merritt says:

      I agree with your methods; I use a historical/critical method of study in most cases as well. What we’re talking about in this post however, goes beyond that. Classical study provides the foundation, this goes much deeper into God’s point of view, into application.

  5. Citizen Tom says:

    I am not much of a prayer expert. My approach to “prayer” is studying the Bible. So I listen to the Bible and Christian books on MP3, and I write about what I learn. Of course, I also participate in Bible study. Those are my way of contemplating God’s Word.

    I presume some selectivity is required to make the approach you suggest work. Some passages such as those that involve so and so begot so and so who begot so and so….. are going to be a bit challenging to pray. Or is there a way?

  6. Pingback: “Relationship 201” 9/10/16 Posted by Don Merritt for “The Life Project” | God's group

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