Prayer is a vital moment in the life of every Christian. The importance of prayer cannot be overstated. It is just too important. Christians who do not prayer fervently do not receive the full measure of God’s power in their lives. Jesus, God himself, prayed often and set an example for us.
Despite its importance we deprive ourselves of the privilege of prayer. I fear that this loss is nowhere as evident as in Bible study and meditation.
God’s word is true because God is the source of truth (2 Samuel 7:28; John 3:33; Romans 3:4; Psalm 119:43; Psalm 119:160; John 17:17). The words of Scripture are true because they were literally breathed out by God himself (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Contained within Scripture is the solution to the great problem of mankind: sin. We conclude that Bible study is necessary to understand both our foe and our own salvation.
If we pray over the temporal things of this life, should we not also prayer fervently over the eternal things (Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33)? To pray over the eternal words of Scripture is a practice needed today.
Bible study can be challenging. Ancient languages and culture are often difficult to understand and comprehend by 21st century people. Spot knowledge, that is, familiarity with just a few verses or passages can lead to errant ideas and teachings. Even the most devoted students find themselves in a constant state of learning and never learn everything about every verse. Add to these difficulties the staggering weight of preconceived ideas that we all must sort though and you find a real challenge in searching for truth. Prayer will help us through those struggles.
Jacob wrestled with a man in Genesis 32:22 ff. His opponent was man-like form of God. The two wrestled throughout the night and finally, Jacob was able to gain a blessing from his struggles. Sometimes, we wrestle with God through prayer and beg for wisdom to understand a passage or subject of Holy Writ. Such struggling is good and produces within the student a dependency upon the wisdom of God and the wisdom of men.
The student does not seek divine, miraculous intervention. Instead he makes use of what God has promised: wisdom. James declares, If any man lacks wisdom let me ask of God, who gives generously to all without reproach and it will be given him” (James 1:5). I cannot answer for the reader, but this author needs the wisdom of God on every subject.
When one humbles himself before God and admits his own shortcomings, that sense of humility will follow him into his studies. Such humility will make us better students of the word. No longer will we be the source of knowledge and wisdom, but God will become our study partner and will supplies us with the ability to grow in our understanding of his truth.
The next time a passage seems troubling or difficult and before you reach for that favorite commentary or surf to that popular website, pray. Pray as Jesus did with the full expectation of God’s wisdom. Do not doubt, but expect him to fulfill his promise. As James said in the very next verse, “let him ask in faith without doubting” (James 1:6).
Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans.