By Billy Graham
Several practical guidelines have been helpful to me in maintaining a vital and regular time with God.
FIRST, set aside time each day to spend time with God. It may be early in the morning, or at least before you begin the day’s regular activities. Make it a time when you are mentally alert, when you have no distractions, and you are not rushed. Discipline yourself to keep this time every day, even when travel or a busy schedule makes it difficult. Make it such a regular part of your life that you would no more skip it than you would miss eating a meal.
SECOND, come with a spirit of expectancy and obedience. Expect God to meet you through His Word, and tell Him that you want to be taught by Him. Come with a willingness to hear His Word and then to obey it. Remember: God the Holy Spirit has inspired the Bible, and we must look expectantly to Him to illumine our understanding of it.
THIRD, read through the Bible systematically. It is far too easy to dwell only on familiar passages, or skip around almost at random finding passages that happen to appeal to us. But we need to understand “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27, RSV), and we need therefore to read and study every part of the Bible. Some people find it helpful to have a plan by which they will cover the entire Bible in a year.
FOURTH, read thoughtfully and prayerfully, and then meditate on what you have read. Some people pride themselves on covering a set number of chapters each day—but have no idea what they have read when they are finished! In his helpful little booklet “Manna in the Morning,” Dr. Stephen F. Olford wrote, “Read the portion at least three times. Read it carefully to discover what is there generally. The next time, peruse it for what is there specially. Then study it for what is there personally. … [Then] say: ‘Lord, as I look at this passage this morning, is there any command to obey? Is there any promise to claim? Is there any new thought to follow and pursue? Is there any sin to avoid? Is there any new thought about God? About the Lord Jesus? About the Holy Spirit? About the devil?’ Seek to discover what God is saying to you from the passage you have read.”
FIFTH, make prayer a central part of your time with God. In our Bible study, God speaks to us; in our prayer times, we speak to God. Make prayer first of all a time of praise and thanksgiving. Then pray about the passage of Scripture you have just read, asking Him to show you specific ways that it applies to your life. In addition, confess your sins to God. Finally, bring before God your own needs and the needs of others. Many people find it helpful to keep a prayer diary, in which they list those for whom they are praying and note God’s specific answers.
FINALLY, put what you have learned into action, and walk with Christ every minute of the day. Perhaps God has been speaking to you in your quiet time about your relationship with someone in your family or a co-worker. Commit that situation into His hands—and then move forward in obedience and faith, knowing that the Holy Spirit will help you as you seek to have a right relationship with that person.
From My Daily Prayer Journal With Insights By Billy Graham
(Now called Rooted in Prayer: A Personal Prayer Journal With Insights by Billy Graham)
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