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How do I incorporate prayer into my study time?

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Season 3 – Episode #6

Today we tackle how to incorporate praying while we study the Bible. There are many potential ways to do this. In this 15 minute episode, Chris and I share what works for us!

Three ways to incorporate prayer into your Bible study time:

  • Before you study:
    • Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18 ESV).
    • Before you begin to study, take a moment to ask the Spirit to illuminate your time in the Word.
    • Approach God’s Word with a HUMBLE heart.
  • While you study:
    • “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45 CSB).
    • When you come to a verse you are uncertain what it means, ask God to open your mind to understand it!
    • Study God’s Word with a DEPENDENT spirit.
  • After you study:
    • “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22 ESV).
    • Once we’ve identified the main idea of what we are studying, we need modify our lives to what we’ve learned.
    • Leave God’s Word with a posture of RESOLVE to obey what we’ve seen.

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

(Affiliate links are present. At no extra cost to you, I receive a small portion of your purchase. Thanks for your support!)

ADDITIONAL PRAYER RESOURCES:


HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

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Recommended resources for studying the Psalms

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. — Psalm 119:18

I’m gearing up for an overview study of Psalms, which will be the beginning of an in-depth study of several individual Psalms. Whenever I get ready to study a passage in depth, I always zoom out and start at the “bird’s-eye-view” first.

Typically, I’ll listen to sermons from teachers I trust (DesiringGod.org, The Village Church Resources, and Radical.net are my go-to’s.) and also purchase a few books and commentaries. Sometimes I’ll listen and read before I start any sort of study, just to prime the pump for the big-picture themes to look out for, but I try not to get too in-depth before I study for myself. I’ll also listen and read as I go, using the commentaries when I hit sticky passages that I’m not sure of their meaning.

When God opens your eyes you’re going to see things you never saw before, you’re going to hear things you never heard before, you’re going to know things you never knew before because God the Holy Spirit is going to teach you. — Adrian Rogers

What do I need to start studying the Psalms?

First off, start with prayer. Whether you have a Ph.D. or haven’t set foot in a seminary class, the most important action to take when we approach Scripture is to pray. Every time we open God’s Word, we ought to declare our need for the Spirit of God to open our eyes to the meaning, it’s implications to our lives, as well as our desperate need for grace.

Beyond the spiritual preparation, there is much we can do to arm ourselves with a few tools to help with the journey. Here are some resources I’m investing in (or already have) that you might be interested in as well.

Helpful guides for a study of the Psalms

Helpful resources for praying the Psalms

Here are a few resources for praying through the Psalms.

How do you prepare to study? Have any resources to add to the list?

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What should my quiet time look like?

FOCUSed15 Podcast – Episode #7 (Season 2)

Whether you realize it or not, we all have expectations and pictures of what the “perfect” quiet time looks like. Though we certainly need to be careful not to give in to the paralysis of perfectionism, it is typically helpful to have some guidelines in place to evaluate how effective our time with God is. Listen in to this 15 minute episode to receive some helpful guard rails to keep your quiet times on track.

IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT:

  • How we define a “quiet time”
  • The importance of both hearing from the Lord and speaking to Him within your quiet time
  • Specific elements given to help incorporate both this hearing and speaking into your time with God
  • Three ways to approach the intake of God’s Word
  • Three ways to communicate with God during your quiet time
  • Quiet time ruts we may get into that keep up from experiencing God more fully

RESOURCES MENTIONED:


HOW TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST:

You have many options for listening in. Simply choose your favorite from below.

1. Listen right here on the blog. Just click the little play button at the beginning of this post.

2. Listen from an app on your smartphone, iPad or iPod– For iDevice users, click here to access the podcast and subscribe in iTunes.  If you don’t have an Apple device, you can listen with the Stitcher app. You’ll have access to new episodes on either app as soon as they are published.

3. Listen from your computer via iTunes or Stitcher. Just click here to access the podcast in iTunes or here to listen from the Stitcher website. Once you subscribe to the podcast, new episodes will show up in your iTunes and/or Stitcher dashboard.

 

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My heart on the presidential election and the image of the church

My heart has been incredibly heavy this week over the state of our nation. I have friends and family on all sides of every issue and I can’t stand to be on social media right now. So much of the back and forth—the hate, the pride, the lashing out—is disappointing, at best. I’ve been fairly quiet online as I process where to go from here.

Lord, what is my part? What actions can I take? How am I supposed to pray?

This I do know: I am a Christian and an ambassador for Christ, not primarily of a political party or certain candidate. I am the brand of Christ. When people look at me, they are to see and feel something that is supernatural and special. Not because of who I am, but because (whether they can identify it or not) they see Christ in me. Everything I say or don’t say, do or don’t do is a reflection of Christ and I long to reflect Him well.

Everyday Love Images.009

I wish I was better at this. There are so many days and moments that I fail to reflect the glory of God to the people around me. And yet God is to be glorified through all His people—the church. I long for His good and gracious character to be made known. I want souls to see their utter need for Christ. And none of this can happen if Christians don’t look like Christ.

Lately it seems our reflection of Him has been covered in mud.

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So—starting with me—I’m praying for a revival of a renewed repentance and deep humility among the church. I’m asking God to show me if there is any wicked way within me and lead me toward repentance. Today, I choose to focus primarily on my own actions and attitudes and —by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit—I will follow the example of Christ down the road of counting others more significant than myself.

LORD JESUS,

I sin — Grant that I may
never cease grieving because of it,
never be content with myself,
never think I can reach a point of perfection.
Kill my envy, command my tongue,
trample down self.
Give me grace to be holy, kind, gentle, pure,
peaceable,
to live for thee and not for self,
to copy thy words, acts, spirit,
to be transformed into thy likeness,
to be consecrated wholly to thee,
to live entirely to thy glory.

. . .

O God, the Eternal All, help me to know that
all things are shadows, but thou art substance,
all things are quicksands, but thou art mountain,
all things are shifting, but thou art anchor,
all things are ignorance, but thou art wisdom.

—Valley of Vision, Purification

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Amen.

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10 Resources for Everyday Prayer

Man, this was a good one. We could have chatted for hours on prayer, yet we packed a punch with these 38 minutes on everyday prayer. I hope you can carve out some time to listen in!

(Short on time? Click the setting icon “cog” on the bottom right of the video viewer. There will be several settings that pop up. Look for the “speed” option and take your pick on how fast you would like to watch!) Can’t see the video? Click here.

Resources for Everyday Prayer

Here is a list of the many resources we shared about during our conversation. Check them out! (Many of these are Amazon affiliate links.)

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The Barber Who Wanted to Pray {Book Review}

I have grown to truly enjoy reading with my kids. I used to dread it, when they asked me to read a book. I think it was because THEY NEVER SAT THROUGH THE WHOLE BOOK. Anna typically would kick the book out of my hand, thinking it was hilarious. Kenneth would sit for—I don’t know—like 2.3 seconds, and there I was, left holding a torn up book, red-faced and yelling at my kids for not sitting still.

We’ve had a few years to get used to this whole sitting down and reading a book thing, and I dare say we are all getting pretty good at it.

A recent favorite of our has become The Barber Who Wanted to Pray.

The Barber Who Wanted to Pray is a delight to read and it is beautifully illustrated. As a family, we have enjoyed reading it over and over.

This children’s book, written by R.C. Sproul hits on an area that both children and adults need development in—prayer. The Barber Who Wanted to Pray tells an engaging tale of Martin Luther and how he came to write the classic little booklet A Simple Way to Pray; leaving children and adults with a practical guide to prayer.

I love the discussion this book has provided about prayer, church history, and family devotion time. Our oldest, Kenneth, used to be pretty eager to pray with us, but now that he is getting older he has become more inhibited. I think it is because he is a perfectionistic rule-follower like his mama, and he feels he is not good at praying—so he doesn’t want to do it aloud. (I think more than a few adults feel this intimidation as well.) As we continue to read this book, my prayer is that he can grasp the simple model for praying shared.

The Barber Who Wanted to Pray is a beautiful read and a great family resource.

I was given a copy of The Barber Who Wanted to Pray by Crossway, in exchange for my review. Opinions stated are all mine.