To Make This a Really Happy New Year

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” – Psalm 119:105

“I have stored up your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” – Psalm 119:11

I have often approached the beginning of a new year with a list of things that I would like to do differently than I have done in the past. Inevitably, consistent prayer and Bible study were toward the top of my list.

Are you like me?

If you have watched the lives of other Christians–those who have become more disciplined at prayer and Bible study than you have–and said to yourself,“I wish I could be like them…” I have good news for you. God wants to help you do better in this area of your walk with Him.

At the risk of oversimplifying what can often feel like a complex process, should you desire to spend more time reading the Bible and praying, your heart is in sync with the Heart of God. God inspired the writing of the Scriptures, and He wants you and me to read and understand them. But how does one do that?

In the foreward of the book How to Eat Your Bible by Nate Pickowicz, author Tim Challies offers this thought: “…just as there are ways to read the Bible badly, there are many ways to read the Bible fruitfully.” If that interests you here at the beginning of 2023, then please read on.

For decades of my Christian life, I struggled to have a consistent time every day where I read God’s word and prayed. Initially, I wanted to spend time in Bible study and prayer, because I was told that it would be good for me. I didn’t doubt the truth of that assertion, but if I’m being honest, doing something that’s good for me wasn’t enough of a motivator to do it.

Every January, having not succeeded in my previous year’s plan to read the Bible and pray, I would start again. But, as in years past, by the end of January (if not sooner) my plan was no longer being followed, and I was frustrated with my lack of discipline.

Can you relate to this?

Then something happened. I read a prayer from a person that helped me understand what might be keeping me from making good on my “Bible-reading resolution.” Here’s what she said: “God, I don’t love you. God, I don’t even want to love you. But God, I want to want to love you.” This person was confessing her lack of motivation, discipline, and desire in her own Christian life. Her prayer spoke to the heart of my own frustration. So, I prayed this simple prayer. “God, would you help me want to want to read the Bible and pray?” And God did.

Has it been perfect? No, because I’m not perfect. But over the last three years I’ve read through the Bible just as many times. My prayer life has improved (and become less self-centered.) More importantly, I actually look forward to my time with God every morning.

So, if you desire to read the Bible and pray more than you have, here are three simple encouragements:

1. Ask God to make you hungry for Him. This isn’t something that will come
from your own strength, no matter how disciplined you are.

2. Pray for God to help you establish a pattern. I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all
approach to when you meet with God. What’s more important is consistency.

3. Find a good Bible-reading plan. Check the internet because there are hundreds available.
Mine takes me through the Bible in a year, averaging 25 days per month. That way,
if I miss a day I don’t feel as if the whole plan has blown up!

What has been key for me in all of this is being honest with God about my desire for Him. When it wanes, I ask Him to increase it. When it’s difficult to stay on track, I ask Him to help me. When it goes well, I give Him the credit.

I’m praying for you. Happy Bible “eating” my friend.




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