I find series like this helpful because we get to hear how our fellow-disciples do the Christian life. But if you find the variety of spiritual disciplines overwhelming, just remember that they all fit into three basic categories: Whatever we do, the point is to develop vital habits of (1) Scripture reading, (2) prayer, and (3) service. The discipline I want to highlight this week is Scripture reading.
If I’m honest, I’ve always found Scripture reading easier than prayer. That’s not to brag: it’s just that there’s no pressure for me to come up with something to say! With Scripture reading, the words are given to us: God speaks, we listen. Even so, it takes a bit of effort to develop good habits of Scripture reading. Here are three tips which I have found helpful:
1. Don’t get dragged down by guilt or defeat if you miss a day or two (or more!). The key is just to keep going back to the well, in the grace of God, letting it slowly become your daily bread.
2. Find a reading schedule that gets you into the whole Bible. The best way to do this is to take in a bit of the Old and New Testament each time, as well as a Psalm and a Proverb. Here are some practical ways to set this up:
a) Get three or four bookmarks, place them accordingly, and begin;
b) Print off a One Year Bible plan (or buy a One or Two Year Bible);
c) Get a “Daily Office” app on your phone or computer, such as the one from Mission of St. Claire. (Not only does this provide Bible readings it intersperses them with prayers resembling the ACTS rhythm mentioned earlier in this series.)
3. Find realistic times in the day or week where it can get your focus. This will take effort, but it is also okay to find a fit for your weekly rhythms. It is also okay to find a comfortable chair, a nice drink, or a favourite coffee shop. Leave it to future Lenten seasons to cut down on unhealthy over-reliances: The key is to make this part of the “happy places” of life starting now.
We still need to centre our spiritual lives around the gathered acts of the church, but it’s important that we walk with Word and Spirit in our personal lives as well, ensuring that we foster the gifts God wants us to give back.
Let us thank God for the relentless grace to speak to us all through the Word.