Bible study and prayer. Most every believer knows they should do it, but . . .
Why is it so hard to stick to it? Why does it seem so dry and unproductive? What am I missing?
I would like to suggest to you five important ingredients for a powerful, intimate, life changing time with God.
- Faith - Do you believe this simple promise: "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you" (James 4:8a). Or how about this one: "When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you" (Jer 29:13-14). When you meet God, are expecting him to show up? Faith is what pleases God; He responds to faith (Heb 11:6).
- Heart - The purpose of Bible study and prayer is not to check off our religious boxes. That is why I call it "time with God." I am spending time with someone who loves me. God is not interested in people who "draw near with their mouth . . . while their hearts are far from me" (Isa 29:13-14; see also Psalm 51:16-17).
- Submission - Many attempt to be a "Christian" without surrendering their lives to Christ. Many try to relate to God on their own terms, with their own agenda. If you are trying to relate to God, but you are still holding on to sin and refusing to give him every part of your life, then you cannot come to him. ALL of you for ALL of him. Those are his terms (James 4:6-10).
- Choice - A bumper sticker says, "If it feels good, do it." A concise summary of our cultural thinking. We are chained to our feelings. When something is hard and we "don't feel like it," then we don't do it. If we don't "feel" God's presence or "feel" like we had a good prayer time, we get discouraged. Faith is not a feeling, it is a choice. Choose to believe God exists and that he rewards those who seek him (Heb 11:6). Act on that faith; don't worry about your feelings.
- Steadfastness - How easily we are derailed! How quickly we are discouraged and give up. How often we settle for mediocrity. If I fail a thousand times in my attempt to meet God faithfully, I will not give up. I will never give up! (Heb 12:1-2)
Here is a teaching on spending time with God that includes a discussion of these five points.