August 10, 2014

Pray Before You Meditate

Walter Kaiser shares this encouraging testimony in his book “Finding God’s Will:”

When I came to Regent College, I was asked to teach a hermeneutics course, so I went to the library to find the best books on interpreting Scripture.  I poured through eighty or ninety, and read about ten of them carefully  They all said the same thing: read the Bible as you would any other book.  I was astounded.  No one mentioned the importance of praying through Scripture.  The role of the Holy Spirit seemed to be driven out by academic scholarship.  The Word of God is different; it is unique.  We cannot fully understand His word without the enablement of the Spirit.  Reading the Bible as a scholarly or intellectual exercise is certainly possible, but to receive the full blessing of the Lord’s Word, and to understand His full meaning, one must approach the Scriptures through the Spirit of God.
I used to read the Bible for its academic merit, and I will confess I got nothing out of it.  God didn’t speak to me; it didn’t change my heart.  Then I heard a preacher say that one must ask God for enlightenment.  I began praying, “Lord, speak to me through your Word.”  I did not simply want to read the stories; I wanted to know God’s heart.  At first I noticed very little difference in my reading.  But soon, within three weeks of praying that prayer as I read, my heart began to burn within me.  I started to see new things in Scripture.  God began revealing to me how His Word should change my life.  I developed a love for His teaching.  God heard my prayer and began to speak to me through His Word…

Kaiser offers this wise counsel:

Before you begin to read your Bible, pray for the Lord to speak to you through His Word. Pray that the Holy Spirit will enlighten you.  Having spiritual understanding is nothing mystical, it means having God’s Spirit teach you.