What’s Your Plan?

In Dave’s sermon Sunday, he quoted Tim Keller in his book Prayer: “The ordinary way we can experience God is by meditating on Scripture.” If Jesus tells us that listening to his word in Scripture is the one thing we need, and if we’re able to really experience God by being in Scripture, then it seems it would do us well to heed this advice. But sometimes we just need a plan, because without one, we’re lost in the frenzy of our lives, like a blizzard when you can’t quite see where you’re going. So let’s get practical:

  1. Eliminate distractions. What distracts us from keeping our daily appointments to read God’s word and pray? Watching Netflix (another episode of Fixer Upper? Sure!), staying up too late at night, loving sleep too much, keeping up with Facebook, texting, checking email first thing in the morning and getting sucked in… these are all my personal examples. We must say no to the things that are keeping us from the one thing that is necessary, because five minutes of Instagram turns into 20 and my time in the word is cut short, or completely cut out.

  1. Develop a plan. John Piper says that, “Many good things do not happen in our lives for the simple lack of planning. Most Christians neglect their Bibles not out of conscious disloyalty to Jesus, but because of failure to plan a time and a place and a method to read it.” So what’s your plan? While there is no law about when to spend time in the word and prayer, there is biblical encouragement for rising early to seek our Lord. Jesus himself rose early in the morning while it was still dark to find a quiet place where he could pray, and Psalm 5:3 mentions morning prayer and worship. If I don’t get up before my son and spend time in the word, it usually doesn’t happen for me. But if mornings just don’t work, what time works for you? Maybe you make it the same time every day to form a habit. Maybe you sit down every Sunday and plan out your week and what works best each day. We have more control over our actions than over our feelings, so sometimes we just have to do it.
  1. Find a method for reading your Bible. Many mornings I don’t know where to start. But if I have a plan and a method, I am much more likely to keep going because I already know what I’ll be reading that day. Use one of these plans to help guide you through the Bible:

Or choose a book of the Bible and read a chapter or section a day. Writing and journaling can be helpful – sometimes those thoughts in our head can continue to be foggy until you are pressed to pick words to communicate them accurately. Copy a portion of Scripture, and then jot down your questions, observations, ponderings, and conclusions. Writing can help us to remember and know what we think, making us better stewards of what God shows us.

More practical tips: a hot drink makes a cold morning better. Pre-program your coffee maker to make coffee at your desired wake-up time. Having a cup of coffee or tea when I sit down in the mornings makes getting up a little bit easier. I also like to have all of my “stuff” in one place so I don’t spend 10 minutes of that precious time finding my Bible, journal, pen, highlighter, commentary, etc. And for me, my “place” has to be away from my cell phone and computer – my self control always wavers when those are near.

And lastly, it’s good for me to remember that the point of this time is not just to check it off a list, but to meet with God and to experience him in his word. What a holy wonder. May God give us all a greater thirst for Scripture and for himself, and may we wisely think through our time in order to sit before his wisdom.

One Comment

  1. This was a great read. I really loved the suggestions of ways to make reading the bible and prayer an priority. I needed guidance on this and this was so helpful.

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