Archive for April, 2010

Lesson 01: Application

If there is anything I want you to take away from this lesson is a simple process:

  1. Pray First: Start this very day praying before you begin studying the Bible. Ask God to give you wisdom and understanding. Ask him to soften your heart so that you will receive the truth that he has for you.
  2. Focus: When you begin reading, don’t focus on the quantity of what is read (# of chapters), but instead focus on ‘What is God trying to tell or teach you through His word?’
  3. Pause & Discuss: Pause for a moment and talk to Him. Ask Him questions or discuss what you are learning.  If you feel convicted and know you need to ask forgiveness, stop and do it — right then, don’t wait!

I want you to have your Bible reading time to be a conversation. When you do this then God’s story begins to be woven into your life and it becomes your story as well. You’ll remember years later how certain verses sustained you through difficult times. How you were strengthened and challenged by your conversations over the Bible. It will be amazing how God can use a simple phrase or even just a word to speak into your life — if you’ll let Him!

Lesson 1: Exercise

Exercise on praying the Scriptures:

This exercise consists of a few simple and familiar verses. Read the verse and use it as a starting point for prayer or reflection. Ask God how to apply it to your life. An open heart + the Holy Spirit’s guidance (applying it to your current circumstances) can lead to many possible applications and prayer needs.

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV) “29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen”

Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV): “4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Galatian 5:22-23 (NIV) “22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Lesson 1: Pray over it . . . and through it.

How to Delight in God’s Word — Prayer

Printable Overview of Lesson 01

Printable Leaders Guide to Lesson 01

This seems simple and obvious, but I always considered prayer and Bible Study separate disciplines and never realized how important they were to be incorporated together.

I begin my quiet time by simply praying and asking God for wisdom and guidance and for him to soften my heart to receive his truths. Just by adding prayer before studying the Bible I found that God was faithful to hear my prayer and give me a deeper understanding of his Word.

1 John 5:14-15 (NLT): 14And we can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will. 15And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for.

So we know that if we ask God for something AND it’s according to his will, he will be faithful to give it to us.

James 1:5 (NIV) tells us: 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

We can see in this verse that wisdom is something that God tells us to ask for and he promises to give it generously, but we must believe and not doubt that God will provide it to us. This gives us confirmation that praying for wisdom and guidance before we study the Bible is indeed a prayer according to God’s will that He will answer.

The second thing I learned was to pray as I read the Bible. As I read God might reveal an area I need to change or I might learn something new from God and I pray immediately to respond to the message I have received. It may be that I need to ask for forgiveness; I’ll want to stop and praise him, to thank him, or whatever I feel I want to tell him, I do it right then and there.

Have any of you ever had a pen pal or other long distance relationship through the mail?

Did you find it more difficult to sustain a deep and meaningful relationship compared to in- person communication?

This is what my relationship to God was like a loving, but long-distance relationship through letters. I would tell him everything I wanted to say in prayer and then at a later time I would read what He had to say. It was never immediate or back and forth like a real in-person relationship is and therefore I could not reach a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Him.

Have you ever felt like God was distant?

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