To be completely honest with you, I know that there have been so many times in my life growing up where I thought that the Bible was boring, not relevant and unnecessary. Even when I decided to go to Bible college this year, I wondered if I would get sick of learning about Jesus and worshipping him every day. And maybe some of you think that way too. Many people say that the Bible is outdated and that you don’t need to spend time with God – that going to church and doing the “Christian thing” once a week is enough. But the truth is, the Bible is so important and so so good!! It’s not outdated – it’s always completely relevant for our lives, and is absolutely needed for a growing relationship with Jesus! If we don’t fill ourselves up with Gods word, we’re going to look for something else to fill us up…we look for it in popularity, relationships, alcohol, image, and a whole lot of other things…and it will never satisfy! We will not be effective in our ministry and we also won’t grow in our relationship with God. If you want to build a relationship, you can’t not spend time with one another!! I’ve heard it said that the Bible is like a love letter from the creator of the universe to you. That seems important enough to read, right?
Different ways to read the Bible
So where do I start, you ask? Well, it really depends. If you’re a new Christian I would recommend the gospels. If you want something really practical I would say James….if you want to pray to God but don’t know how or what to say or you’re feeling emotional, go for the Psalms! The whole Bible is great though. I used to think the Old Testament wasn’t relevant, but it’s actually SO interesting and it shows so well the grace of God and points to our need for Jesus! In fact, Christ is actually referred to in every book of the Old Testament! It starts out subtle, but by the time you get to the end of the OT you begin to think, “how did I not see this!” We actually understand God so much better and the need for Jesus when you read the OT!
Note: These are my suggestions, but your relationship with God is YOUR relationship with God. Find out what works best for you and what you enjoy – but don’t neglect to spend time with him!
I usually go through a book (New Testament ones are pretty short), and read a chapter or 2 at a time, and I will journal verses that stick out to me. It’s always good to pray before you read the Bible that the Holy Spirit will speak to you! It’s also good to find a time that works best and stick to it – for me, that means reading the Bible in the morning because a) I’m so tired at night and b) if I don’t read my bible and spend time with God in the mornings, I find that my day looks so much different! I’m not as joyful, don’t feel satisfied…in fact, I actually feel as if I’ve missed out! In one book I’m reading at the moment the author says, “the creator of the universe desires your company. Don’t keep him waiting!” God wants to spend time with you!!
Different ways to spend time with God
God doesn’t want spending time with him to be boring or feel like a religious activity. There are actually so many ways you can spend time with God, and be creative!! Some things I like to do are dancing, drawing or painting, colouring-in and baking. So I use these to spend time with God – just doing something I love! Write down a few things you love to do – you can spend time with God doing these things! Now I’m not saying don’t read the Bible – but your time with him is not just limited to that. He wants to do life with you!
Prayer is so so so powerful. Never underestimate the power of your prayers! Not only does prayer change lives, change situations and change the atmosphere, but prayer actually brings us closer to Jesus because we are relying on him and trusting in him.
James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
One way that I really like to pray is to journal what I want to say. I have a prayer journal and in it I keep a list of people I pray for. Pretty much everyone I know/am at least acquaintances with is on that list. I don’t get to pray for every single person every day, but I go through my list and see if God highlights anyone to me. Often it will be 2 or 3 people, and I will then spend time writing out prayers over them. It really helps me to keep focused and concentrate on what I’m doing and gives it the attention it deserves. Often as I’m praying and writing down what I want to say, God will give me something to share with that person to encourage them.
Journaling your prayers is great, but you can actually talk to God anytime, anywhere! I speak to God out loud all the time in the car. I chat to him about my day, about how great he is, I worship, I just build a relationship with him….and I let God speak to me too! God loves you and really wants to hear about your life!
Often I think of journaling as a letter to Jesus. It’s a way that I can write down my thoughts and let him speak to me as I reflect on my day, my thoughts and things that I’m currently facing. I love to journal Bible verses that have stood out to me and write out my thoughts on them, I use my journal to write out notes from sermons that I listen to, or if I feel like God is speaking to me about something, I will journal that. It’s awesome to be able to look back on journals from over the years and see how God has been faithful, and how he has led you to where you are now!
And finally, expect opposition – the devil doesn’t like it if you are drawing near to God! Don’t be surprised if you’ve been loving reading the Bible and all of a sudden you find yourself too busy, too distracted or your attitudes towards reading the Bible change. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself not bothered to pray. But remember that it’s just the devil trying to make sure you don’t grow in your relationship with God. The Bible says to resist the devil, and he will flee.