I recently grabbed one of my newer Bibles off my desk and started thumbing through the pages out of pure curiosity. I found something that I had written in the fly-leaf during one of Bro. Scott Pauley’s messages at the last youth conference we had here at Gospel Light Baptist Church. It suddenly seemed to leap off the page and strike me deep with conviction. It was this simple phrase: “Read God’s Word Prayerfully.” That may not seem like much to you, but, boy, did God begin a work in me about my devotional life!
You may say, “About your devotional life? But that’s for kids! Kids are the ones that need to learn how to read the Bible!” Exactly. Aren’t we all children that are very dependent and needful for the Father’s hand? As I stared at this simple phrase, I began to think how ritualistic and formal my devotional time really is. I usually begin by letting God speak through my reading of the Scriptures, and then I have my turn of talking back to God through prayer.
Now think with me for a moment. If you and I were sitting at the table across from one another, and I started talking to you for forty-five minutes straight without letting you speak a word, that wouldn’t be much of a conversation, would it? It would be more like a lecture. And then what if I pointed at you and said, “Your turn,” and expected you to speak and respond to everything I had said? That would be a little strange, I presume. But this is exactly what we do with our time alone with God. We separate our prayer time from our reading time as if they are totally different, but I do not believe at all that this is the case. In fact, these two wonderful privileges should be harmoniously intertwined in order to have a responsive heart to all God is and all He wishes to do in us. This is when His living Word begins to live in us!
With this in mind, God has so pressed upon my heart to do something totally different to start my days this summer. Every morning I am going to be reading Scripture from Psalm 119 on my knees. And I don’t just want to read the passage, but to PRAY it! I want to let the words become a literal part of my surrender, to let them be deeply woven into the fabric of who I am. How much will I read? I don’t know. Just until the Holy Spirit stops me. And when He stops me, I will do my best to pour out my heart, or to sit still and listen. I want to be soft clay in the Potter’s hands: malleable, and sensitive to the “conforming into the image of His Son.”
I’d like to challenge you to do the same in your time with our Lord. You don’t have to read/pray Psalm 119, but wherever you are in His Word, treat it as an intimate discussion with God Almighty. (Because that’s what it is!) Pray through it, and take your time! God is never in a rush, so neither should you be. And the best part is, you do not ever have to leave! “But wait! I have to go to work sometime!” You’re right. But you never have to leave His presence!
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). It says dwelleth not visit. The secret of the Secret Place is that it can be a permanent residence if only you keep the door open!