Any Christian who is familiar with the Bible knows that the most significant aspect of the Christian life is God’s grace: salvation is His gift. It is by grace alone that we are saved, through faith in Christ alone. He or she also knows that the most significant and practical way to experience God’s grace is to attend to God’s regular means of grace: private prayer and Bible reading, along with public worship and receiving of sacraments.
For this reason Christians are encouraged to develop a habit of daily prayer and Bible reading. An easy way to start this habit is to think about three things: a time, a place, and a plan. Because of my work location and commute, my habit has been 7:30 am, at work, reading through whole books of the Bible and writing in a Moleskine journal.
Due to a health problem with my back, my daily schedule has changed and I don’t get to work early enough to keep my regular prayer habit. So, I have adjusted and that’s the subject I want to share with you today.
I could have just changed to praying at home alone before leaving for work. But, I decided to do something different for this season of my life, which is 4 months so far, and probably a few more. I pray with my wife, Dawn, and listen to the Bible on my iPhone during my commute.
There are advantages and disadvantages to this adjustment that I am experiencing.
1. My wife and I love praying together every day by sharing our prayer requests. Dawn prays for me. I pray for her. We have always prayed together, so it’s not a new thing for us. But, praying with her daily is new and beneficial. This is something I’ll want to continue after this time of life. BTW – if you are a Christian husband, part of your role as husband and/or father is to cultivate the spiritual life of your family. Praying out loud with your family is a key element of that.
2. I love hearing large sections of the Bible at once. I might read a chapter or two, but I might listen to five, six, or even ten chapters at a time during my commute. This gives me a better sense of the broad sweep of a Bible book, especially narrative books like the gospels and much of the Old Testament. Also, since I usually back up a chapter or two each day, I hear more of Scripture repeated to me more frequently, which is good for retention and spurs reflection.
1. There is less time for reflection and repentance, and my journal has been set aside for now. Over the long haul, it will be better for me to give adequate attention to reflect on my deep, desperate need for grace, and the true state of my soul. I can be too easily fooled into thinking self-sufficiently about my spiritual life.
2. I’m not meditating on Scripture as much. It’s hard to hit the pause button while driving to think about the verse or sentence you just heard. Considering Scripture carefully is much easier when the Bible is in print before my eyes.
The encouragement I want to leave you with is first, to find a time, a place, and a plan to experience God’s grace in your life. This is how God has ordained to mold you into Christ’s image: by His Spirit’s work in you through the means of prayer of Bible study. Don’t underestimate how important this is. Second, pray with your spouse. Don’t underestimate how much love, trust, forgiveness and healing can spring like water from the simple moment of hearing your loved one bring your need before the Father. And third, since we all experience different seasons of life—singleness, child-rearing, sickness, health, two jobs, retirement, out-of-work—don’t be afraid to make adjustments to meet your spiritual needs during each time.
Grace to you,