We’ve all been there. The alarm rattles you from your sleep before the sun even embraces the horizon. Already you’ve got things bombarding your busy day. Preparing breakfast for your children, getting them off to school, checking your email or social media feeds, and getting off to work. That all crosses your mind before you even get out of bed!
It’s easy to tell ourselves that the first thing we’re going to do each morning is spend 15-20 minutes with our Creator or even simply roll over and tell our spouses “good morning.” It’s quite another to put those into practice on a consistent basis.
Even though we are bombarded, there are daily habits which can help us fall in love, some of us for the first time, with the Bible and the living God revealed therein.
When we come before the God of the universe and pour out even our weakest requests we know that He hears and that He delights in communing with His children. He tells us in John 15:5 that “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Constant abiding in Christ causes fruit to grow in us, and prayer is the way by which we come to abide in Him. The text goes on to say that through prayer the Father is glorified and that we bear much fruit and so prove to be true disciples. (John 15:7-8 ESV)
Many of our heroes from church history have taught us that prayer is the main business of life. Missionaries reached nations through prayer, anxieties were cast down in times of prayer, and fear was driven out because of their constant abiding in Christ. Why would we think prayer should be any different for the Saints today? A daily practice of entering the throne room, into the presence of the Almighty, should be important for you as the shepherd of a people who also struggle to pray.
I understand that already you're apprehensive upon a mere reading of that word. It’s a weighty thing to do confession but in the body of God there can be no greater freedom than that of confession and it’s close friend repentance.
Early in the Gospel of Mark, we see that many came from the country of Judea and Jerusalem to be baptized by John in the Jordan, with the addition that they were “confessing their sins.” (Mark 1:5 ESV)
We must remember that the body of Christ is simultaneously righteous and sinful. Martin Luther coined this in the phrase simul justus et peccator which means we live our lives righteous because of the work done by Christ, and yet in our earthly bodies, we are sinners. This should drive our need for, and love of, confession.
I want to add that I am not saying we should confess all our sins all the time. There are certain gatherings at which we should confess one to another, but I am speaking of, for example, a pastor confessing his hardships and struggles within a meeting of the elders. We must be careful to confess men with men and women with women in order to safeguard those vulnerable pieces that belong to each of us.
It has often been said that a good leader is a good reader. Charles Spurgeon, that great 19th-century preacher, added: “Visit many good books but live in the Bible.” I think he’s right on with this one. While our studies are packed with various commentaries, systematic theologies, and more, we must come back to our ultimate authority, God’s Word.
It is there we find Him revealed to us, we see His mighty works in history, and we read of His relentless pursuit of weary sinners. We find our habits and our desires shaped by a daily reading of the Scriptures. It is there we meet the living God. It is there we find nourishment for our own needs and for those sitting in our churches every week.