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      Approach Your Bible Prayerfully

      June 21, 2019 Pastor Byron Hand

      Approach your Bible Prayerfully

       

      One of my summer readings is the little book “Before You Open your Bible: Nine Heart Postures for Approaching God’s Word” by Matt Smethurst, I commend it to you. I thought I would take the time in the weekly E-Bulletin to share with you these nine heart postures … Really these are just principles for approaching God’s word for ourselves.  As we open our Bibles for our (hopefully) daily time to read and pray, what needs to be true about this time of “devotions?” 

      First heart posture: Approach your Bible Prayerfully. This sounds pretty basic doesn’t it? This would be a prerequisite for kindergarten. Its foundational to the Christian life … prayer. But we dare not assume it. The most important things in life should never be glossed over or simply assumed. Smethurst writes: “I am convinced that a prayer less approach to God’s word is a major reason for the low-level dissatisfaction that hums beneath the surface of our lives.” He continues: “Approaching scripture apart from prayer is one of the most counterproductive things we do. For prayer less Christianity is powerless Christianity.”

      We should approach our Bible reading prayerfully. What does that look like? Obviously it means that we don’t rush into it, or hurriedly rush out of it. We dare not “expect the pages to magically microwave our cold heart.” What does it look like to approach the Bible prayerfully? The following is John Piper’s acronym he uses to ready his heart to hear from God. Each letter – I-O-U-S – corresponds to a prayer from the Psalms. 

       

      I – “Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!” (Ps. 119:36) 

       

      This prayer assumes that our heart is naturally bent in the wrong direction, away 

      from God. It is not that we dislike the bible, it’s just that other things loom larger 

      or are more pressing. Every day as I approach God’s word I need to pray that God 

      would incline my heart to hear from him and not be preoccupied with myself. 

       

      O – “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” (Ps. 119:18)

       

      One major difference between the bible and other literature is that God the Holy 

      Spirit breathed out the very words of the Bible. That’s a pretty big difference! The 

      Holy Spirit of God loves bringing those words to life “day after day, in the hearts

      of those blinded by the tyranny of worthless things.” Ask the Holy Spirit to unblind

      you to the beauty of God’s word … remember He is the Author! 

       

       

      U – Unite my heart to fear your name.” (Ps. 86:11) 

       

      WE are so easily distracted! Our hearts and minds become so easily fragmented in 

      a thousand different directions. “We must pray earnestly for a united heart, lest it 

      drift toward being divided, distracted, and distant from the words of the Living 

      God.” 

       

      S – Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love.” (Ps. 90:14)

       

      We are not only too easily distracted (oh look a squirrel), we are also far too easily satisfied (So said C.S. Lewis). Smethurst states that “it’s not just that we’re distracted from God … we’re also dissatisfied in God.” To be really happy we need to look elsewhere or so we think. “Every human being on the planet is seeking happiness. That’s not the problem; the problem is that we seek it outside of God. Right quest, wrong destination.” Pray that the Lord will reorient your receptor for satisfaction. Pray that you will be satisfied with HIM. As John Piper states "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." When we seek our satisfaction in Him we will never be disappointed. 

       

      Approach God’s Word Prayerfully.

       

      Next week we will explore approaching our Bible Humbly

       

      Pastor Byron