“Four Inseparable Aspects of Prayer”
The Third Aspect of Prayer: Reading the Bible
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
(2 Timothy 2:15)
James Chapman, host of A Passion for Writing, compiled a list of the “10 Most Read Books” in the world over the last fifty years. Once again, the Bible, without much of a contest, came way ahead of its competition with 3.9 billion copies sold. “Quotations From the Works of Mao Tse-tung” came at a distance second place with 820 million copies sold. In 2 Timothy 3:16 we see four basic reasons why God has given us so much access to His Word:
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…”
- “Doctrine:” “A rule or principle that forms the basis of a belief, theory, or policy.”
- “Reproof:” “The act of criticizing somebody for having done something wrong, or something said as a rebuke.”
- “Correction:” “The removal of errors from something, or the indication of errors in something.”
- “Instruction in Righteousness:” a. “Instruction:” “A spoken or written statement of what must be done, especially delivered formally, with official authority, or as an order.”
b. “Righteousness:” “The only moral standard acceptable by God.”
Without a devotion to study God’s Word, how can we possibly learn about sound doctrine? How can we know and understand our beliefs? How can we effectively rebuke anybody? How can we even know when something is Biblically wrong? Without a devotion to study God’s Word how can we even identify errors in our Christian life? How can we possibly understand God’s moral standards?
So, as it relates to prayer; how can we develop an effective prayer life without the Word of God as our foundation? It would be next to impossible to pray according to His will. Psalm 119:105 tells us:
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
The Word of God has the power not only to guide every step we take, but also to allow us to see ahead in our path. Without the Word, we are open to personal opinions and the opinions of others. Without the Word we are open to mix God’s moral standards with man’s moral standards. Without the Word we are open to cultural backgrounds and worldly reasoning. It is the Word that we will use to confirm that the dreams we are dreaming are of God; that the visions we see comes from Him and that what we heard in our secret place or through people truly was spoken by God. Psalm 119:67 tells us:
“Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.”
I can strongly relate to this verse! Before many of my afflictions, I did go astray. Many of the stuff that I am facing today are direct results of me moving away from the path established by God’s Word. It is the Word that shows us that path and as we live our lives according to the Word, we return to His path. Psalm 119:101 put it this way: “I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word.” Our daily walk as Christians is directly connected to the Word of God.
What I am discovering is that in my up-bringing as a Christian I had the awesomeness of jumping into a ministry with a great sense of Worship to God and an amazing prophetic movement; however we were weak when it came down to Christian living. Not that we totally ignored teaching on the way we were suppose to live, but it was not given the passion and dedication that it deserved. Much emphasis on God using us and the manifestation of gifts; but not enough emphasis on the things that we must put off and put on according to His Word.
It is crucial then, that we recognize the study of God’s Word as a critical element or aspect of prayer as everything that we say and accept in our lives must be in harmony with His Word. So far we have discussed three aspects of prayer in this series:
- Talking to God
- Listening to God
- Reading God’s Word
These three elements are basic, necessary and inseparable from the last and perhaps the most attacked aspect of prayer. The enemy may leave you alone and let you talk to God, listen to what God has to say and even leave you alone while you are reading the Bible. However, you will soon be able to see that, if the enemy cannot get you on these first three aspects of prayer, he will surely give you hell on this last one.
To be continued…