Bible Study Habits

If you go to a Bible-based church, you will often hear your pastor remind you to have a regular “quiet time.”  Those are code words for you need to have a regular time with the Lord: reading His word, praying to Him and thinking about what His word is saying to you.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never been particularly fond of the term “quiet time.”  It sounds to feminine for a man’s man like myself (chuckle).  Instead, shouldn’t we rename this practice something like “throne of grace” time (Hebrews 4:16)?  I kid, sort of.

I’m not kidding about, as some translations refer to it, “boldly approaching the throne of grace.”  This is an unbelievable privilege that we have.  We are able to speak directly to God Almighty.  We don’t need a priest to go on our behalf.  We don’t need a special ritual.  We don’t have to be in a certain place.  We can be on our knees, on our faces, driving our car, mowing the grass or in a locker room.  You get the idea.  We have unfathomable access to God:

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are,yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:14-16 (ESV)

Two of the benefits of this time with God are at the end of that passage: “…that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  Who wouldn’t want access to this?

But, like the humans we are, we don’t always take advantage of this access.  We mostly holler out to God when we’re in trouble or when we need something fast.  You know what?  God still listens on those occasions, but the better practice is to spend time with the Lover of your soul.  The better way to “practice righteousness” is to spend time on a regular basis developing your relationship with God.  And again, that gets back to time in His word, time in prayer with Him and time thinking about what His word is saying.

In my own life, I try to read God’s word and pray to Him every day.  Usually, that means getting up early.  Life around my house is hectic and by the end of the day, I’m spent.  If I waited until the evening to spend time with God, most of the time it would not happen.  I tend to be an early person anyway, so I get up, eat a bite, brew some coffee and head to the place where I study.

My reading pattern is different.  Sometimes I read through a chapter a day.  Sometimes I look at the Psalms or sometimes the Proverbs.  I usually try to do one thing or another for at least a month.  Sometimes I even spend the whole month just reading one chapter.  One year, I read through the whole Bible, so I focused my time on a reading plan.  I would just get started and adjust as you see fit.

While praying, I usually try to follow the A.C.T.S. acronym:

* Adoration

* Confession

* Thanksgiving

* Supplication (or asking)

This is a good practice to follow to bend your heart into the right place as you pray.  It’s very easy to become rote, or overly routine, with our prayers, so I try to change things up as much as I can.  God does not care if you pray about the same things over and over.  He wants to hear what is on your heart.  But the problem with becoming rote, is that we are dulled into a bland routine where we don’t even realize what we are praying.  To help with this, I sometimes practice praying for certain things or certain topics on different days.  Maybe it’s stuff related to my church on Monday (using the bulletin as a guide) or maybe it’s world issues on Tuesday.  You get the idea.  These practices help keep our prayer life fresh.

There are several main points here:

1) Do it.  Get started studying God’s word and praying.  Make this a habit.  Find your best time and best place and go there everyday.  The world will make this seem to be drudgery, but this will be the best time you spend each day.

2) Don’t pass on the access.  Access to God means you get to APPROACH THE THRONE OF GRACE.  Let’s do this!  Make it a priority, because it should be one.

3) Don’t miss the benefits.  The primary benefit is a closer relationship to God.  We receive mercy and help when we approach Him.

I hope this help.

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