"Abide in me and I in you...
Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit." (John 15v4-5)
Maintaining a vital connection to the Lord Jesus lies at the heart of a living faith in him and that conneciton is found by allowing Jesus' words to penetrate deep into our hearts and lives: "If you abide in me and my words abide in you..." (John 15v7) Many people have found that taking a few moments every day to reflect and ponder and chew over a few verses of scripture before turning those thoughts into prayer has been the means of staying connected.
"I regard the Scripture and these great statements in it as being comparable to a great art gallery where there are famous paintings hanging on the walls. Certain people, when they visit such a place, buy a catalogue from the guide at the door, and then holding it in their hands walk round the gallery. They notice that Item Number 1 is a painting by Van Dyck, let us say; and they say ‘Ah, that is a Van Dyck’. Then they pass on hurriedly to Item Number 2, which is perhaps a portrait by Rembrandt. ‘Ah,’ they say, ‘that’s a Rembrandt, a famous picture’. Then they move on to further Items in the same way. I grant that that is a possible way of viewing the treasures of an art gallery; and yet I have a feeling that when such a person has gone through every room of the gallery and has said, ‘Well, we have “done” the National Gallery, let us now go to the Tate Gallery’, the truth is that they have never really 'seen' either of the galleries or their treasures. It is the same in regard to the Scriptures. There are people who walk through [a] chapter … and they feel that they have ‘done’ it. It is surely better to stand, if necessary, for hours before this chapter which has been given to us by God himself through his Spirit, and to gaze upon it, and to try to discover its riches both in general and in detail."
(D. M. Lloyd-Jones, God’s Ultimate Purpose, Banner of Truth, 1978, 171.)
Marc Baker, Vicar of Kea, Truro, led a superbly helpful church family morning in February 2018 equipping us to meditate or 'brood' on scripture: turning it over and over like a multifaceted diamond, and allowing it, like a depth charge, to sink deep into our hearts so that the Holy Spirit is able to explode his powerful word into our hearts. Here are Marc's notes:
Here are some useful resources to help you reflect on the Bible:
- Open up the Bible has some realistic & helpful encouragement (articles and video) to get into the Bible daily. It also offers free download sample of Explore which is also available as an Android app and as an iPhone app.
- JC Ryle’s Expository thoughts on the Gospels are a brilliant place to start with daily Bible reading. They’re available as a Kindle book or iBook for free download or online, as well as arranged as dated daily readings.
- 10ofthose are producing some undated readings which seem really good, available in print or as download for Kindle/iBook. Try John or 1 Thessalonians for starters.
- Alec Motyer has produced 2 devotionals - one on Isaiah and the other on Psalms. They are superb! (although the footnotes are very frustrating because they’re not always aligned on the right page)
- Jon Bloom has written some thoughtful meditations - Not by sight, Things not seen, Don’t follow your heart - The pdfs are available for free download - or the books from amazon
If you have a smart phone, PrayerMate, written by our first Ministry Trainee, Andy Geers, is a brillant app (available for both iOS and Android) that helps you to actually pray for all the people you say you’ll pray for by organising all of your prayer points together in one place.
Whether its your personal prayer points for friends and family, regular updates from some fantastic mission organisations, or the latest PDF prayer letter that just arrived in your inbox, PrayerMate puts it all together in one place and helps you get on and pray.
It includes the option of subscribing to a number of useful ‘prayer feeds’ which helpful apply the idea of mediating on the bible and turning it into prayer. Each day these ‘feeds’ provide a different item for prayer based on scripture. Particularly recommended are:
Under ‘Biblical Prayer and devotions’
- Take words with you (Praise/Confess/Affirm)
- Heavenward by Scotty Smith
Under ‘Church life’
- Ligonier - Praying for your church family
- TGC - 18 things to pray for your church
and under ‘Evangelism & Youth work’
- Challies - 18 prayers for unbelievers
And here's some further resources for fueling your prayers from scripture:
- The 'Heavenward' prayer feed by Scotty Smith has also available been published as “Everyday prayers" along with a companion volume "Every season prayers"
- Rachel Jones at The Good Book Co. has produced some excellent and really helpful books: "5 things to pray for people you love", "5 things to pray for your world" and "5 things to pray for your church", "5 things to pray for your heart" and "5 things to pray for your city". These are available in print, as ebooks and as a Prayermate feed.
- Andrew Case has produced a very useful couple of volumes (also available through Prayermate) with passages of scripture turned into prayer. This is a great way to learn to 'pray in' the Bible. Water of the Word is prayers for a husband for his wife and Prayers of an Excellent Wife, the other way around. But actually they can be turned to pray for anyone we know, even ourselves.
- The Valley of Vision is a superb and rich collection of puritan prayers which is available as a daily online devotional too.
And if you're looking for some encouragement in prayer, Andy Naselli has written a great article on 12 reasons why you should pray scripture