Our ultimate purpose here on earth is that we may know the one true God who has graciously and lovingly revealed Himself in the person of Jesus and in the written Word. “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). Developing the habit of a consistent study and prayer time each day is essential in the amazement of knowing this personal, sovereign, and good God. Here are five helpful tips for cultivating this life-giving habit.
1. Pick a consistent time of the day to read and pray. Choose a time that (for the most part) will be uninterrupted and quiet. Also, consider what time of day you are alert and can more easily focus. (I highly recommend early morning. Just sayin’.)
2. Pick a consistent place for your “prayer closet,” somewhere private and away from distractions. Have things like your Bible, a good commentary, a journal, pen, hymn book, prayer list or whatever you enjoy using at this location so that you don’t need to spend time looking for these items each time you have designated to read and pray.
3. Pick a Bible reading plan that will not overwhelm you. This means you don’t necessarily have to read through the Bible in a year. One approach I found helpful is to read through a particular book of the Bible multiple times. Approaching the Bible in this way can really be helpful in getting to know a book. It will surely take longer to get through the entirety of the Bible, but you will be more familiar with the contents. Also, remember that you will miss some days. Don’t let that make you quit. Simply start where you last left off.
4. Elisabeth Elliot suggests that as you read a passage ask yourself these questions: What does this passage say about 1) God, 2) Jesus, 3) Holy Spirit, 4) myself, 5) sins to confess and avoid, 6) commands to obey, and 7) what Christian love is?
5. Remember the word “relationship” as you begin. Reading the Bible is not merely something you do in order to get the check in the box for the day. God speaks from His Word, and you listen. And, as you pray, He hears and answers.