Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Read your Bible, and pray every day

David Mathis writes about his morning devotions and how it has changed him over time. He follows the Navigators Bible reading plan, similar to what I use

Not that this habit of starting each day with open Bible (and coffee) is always clean and easy, but it’s far more automatic and enjoyable and fruitful now, twenty years later, than at the beginning. It’s amazing how a longstanding, daily habit can change you — not just in terms of psychological pathways and external actions, but also how a soul can be formed and conditioned.

We tend to overestimate how much we can change in the short run, and underestimate how much we can change in the long run.
Unlike Mathis, though, I still check the boxes before the passages. It is habit I will not likely break because the check marks help me keep track. I read the Bible early in the morning, with coffee, fountain pens in different inks or a Blackwing pencil, and a Midori Traveler's notebook (passport size). In my journal, I'd rewrite the passages I would need to read for the week and check the boxes as soon as I'm done. Because I'm easily distracted, I'd also write my prayers and list the people or concerns I need to pray for. 

By God's grace, I've grown more in knowledge and love of God's word since I started doing my personal devotions in 2004. The days when I would miss my quiet time, for petty reasons like work or laziness, are also the times when I'd find it easier to slip into old sins. There are moments when I'd need to "force-feed" myself with Scripture; Bible-reading requires discipline and is not dictated by what I feel like doing.

I love this line from the article:
I could read at the slowest, most deliberate pace I found enjoyable, and stop to re-read any sentence or paragraph that was particularly unclear, or especially sweet — and still the full time elapsed would be less than half an hour.
Mathis's advice for new Bible readers is priceless:
For starters, I’d recommend half an hour, with the glad expectation that it will grow over time as your appreciation deepens for these quiet, unrushed, morning moments over God’s word.



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