By Matt Clark
A couple of years ago, a group of my friends and I decided to watch a UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) Pay-Per-View. The friend who hosted the event at his house borrowed a 50-inch flat screen television from the church. When the time had come, we arrived at his house ready for the fight only to be disappointed by one little oversight; my friend had forgotten the power chord.
Obviously, I don’t need to stress the importance of electricity when it comes to watching T.V. Needless to say, we were pretty upset. Everything else was right. We had the TV, the snacks, good company; but the night couldn’t move forward because we were missing the power chord. It’s amazing that everything hinged on something that seemed so small and insignificant.
Unfortunately, this is how many Christians view prayer and Scripture reading. We tend to look at them as insignificant or unimportant. Not things worth making a priority.
Your relationship with God will not grow if you don’t spend time with Him.
Plain and simple. If you don’t pray or read your Bible, you will not grow in your faith. I love what John Piper says about prayer; “Prayer is the breathing of Christianity. If you don’t care about breathing, you don’t care about life. If you don’t care about Prayer, you don’t care about Spiritual life.”
Jesus was asked about Prayer in the gospel of Matthew. Here is what He said.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
Notice how Jesus refers to God as “Father” in verse 9. Don’t overlook that. Through Jesus, we are able to approach God and see Him as Father. This is the relationship we now have with God.
“And I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18
This is unique to Christianity. No other religion views their god this way.
In order to build a relationship, there needs to be communication. Without it, the relationship doesn’t exist. This is why we need to view prayer and Scripture reading as “breathing.”
If you are serious about growing in your relationship with God, you should establish a time when you can be with Him. Here are a few steps to set up a Quiet Time:
- Schedule a time and place – We schedule the things that are most important; school, football practice, a doctor visit, etc. It should be not different with prayer and Bible reading. Pick a time and place. The time should be when you are able to focus. The place can be anywhere like your desk or beside your bed.
- Be Consistent – Don’t be hit-and-miss with your quiet time. When this happens, it often shows that you are not serious about growing as a Christian. People will often set goals that are not reasonable. If you have never done a quiet time before, start with ten minutes. Once you consistently do that, make your quiet time fifteen minutes.
- Take notes – Taking notes allows you to look back over what you have learned from God’s Word. Use a notebook, your phone, or a computer. Keeping a journal will help you see your spiritual progress.
- Don’t Rush – People will often try and hurry through their Bible reading to finish a goal. The problem with doing that is you tend to rush through what you are reading. Reading the entire New Testament is great but comprehending and retaining what you read is better. God isn’t impressed by the quantity of Scripture you have read. It’s what you do with it that matters.
- Begin with Reading – This is personal preference, but I always begin my quiet time by hearing from God first. I start with Scripture and then pray based on what He has just said to me through His Word.
- Do Something – God wants us to apply the Scripture in our lives, not just read about it. After every Bible passage read, take a moment and write down an action item. Write out something you need to do or change in your life based on what you just read in the Bible.
There is no other way around it. If you want to grow spiritually you have to build a relationship with God through prayer and Scripture reading. Imagine the impact on our culture if all Christians were “breathing” the way God wants us to.