Tuesday, August 14, 2012

When Bible-reading Becomes Futile

Bible-reading without prayer can be a futile pursuit.

I will not deny that Scripture has power in and of itself.  Scripture is very powerful--it is sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:12).

However, if we hear plainly the commands of Scripture to pray, and do not do it, we are living in disobedience to the Word--we are no longer doers of the Word, but hearers only, and we have deceived ourselves (James 1:22).

Here are some clear commands in Scripture to pray:

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14, ESV)

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7, ESV)

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. (James 5:13a, ESV)

pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17, ESV)

There are many more than these.  Scripture is filled with exhortations to pray.  If we do not follow the clear teaching of Scripture, and the clear teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ (who spent many a night in solitary prayer), to be in much private prayer, then we are not being obedient to the truth we've been given.

Believe me, no one needs this exhortation more than I do, but I am going to resolve anew to pray and read my Bible daily.  I strongly encourage you to do the same, and then ask God to help you--we cannot live as we ought to on our own; we need His help.  But God has also given us each other to help along the way; you can encourage me and I can encourage you as we grow together into the fullness of Jesus Christ.

Please resolve to spend time with God daily, praying and reading your Bible, and then guard your time with God jealously!  These disciplines will be the means God uses to make you holy and transform you into the image of Jesus Christ and draw you into closer, sweeter communion with Him.

EDITED August 17, 2012 at 3:43PM

A warning to those of you like me who thought after this post: Well, now I have to stop reading my Bible until I'm able to pray more.  That is folly!  If you do that, you'll be cutting off the legs on which you stand.  Sure, resolve right now to obey what you read in Scripture, but even if that obedience is very imperfect (as we are imperfect) don't stop reading.  Scripture will help you to grow up into the fullness of Christ.  Don't harden your hearts to it--then it really will be futile to read it--but don't stop reading if your obedience is less than it ought to be.  Read more about this here: "When Bible-reading Becomes Futile: A Warning"


  1. Sadie, I loved this exhortation and encouragement. I have been jealous with my time with the Lord each morning, and let the selfishness of sleeping in get in the way today. I cannot go one day without it! I've been quicker to anger, less drawn to prayer and way more self focused. I am praising the Lord that His mercies are new each morning, and beginning again tomorrow aware of my need for Him that never lessens. Thank you for posting!
    Your Sister

    1. Thank you so much for the comment, Tiff. I'm so glad this blessed you. I know I often (much too often) let the selfishness of sleeping get in the way of my time with the Lord. Be careful, also, sister, because any resolution to obey God more will be challenged. I've been experiencing that today.