When I get particularly busy, one of the things that can fall to the wayside quickly is consistent Bible reading. And that’s incredibly dangerous for me because I know reading the Bible on a daily basis is good for me. I’ve seen the fruit of that over and again. But it’s an easy habit to get out of.
But what I’ve found keeps me on track most consistently is one thing: prayer.
Actually a rhythm.
Pray, then read. Read, then pray.
It’s not a magic formula, but a basic truth: I try to pray before reading the Bible, asking for the help of the Holy Spirit to understand and apply the text, and help me to see how it reveals Jesus or my need for him. Reading with reverence, with the expectation that God is speaking through this book. That he is changing me because of what is in it. And continuing to pray that what I’ve read will be used to shape me into the image of Christ.
And out of it, I see fruit. I see a greater understanding of the text. I read and find myself convicted and encouraged where I need to be. I start to piece together connections to Christ, even if it’s a growing awareness of my need for the gospel.
But it doesn’t happen every time I read. It’s not like every morning there’s a light from heaven shining in the room as I open my increasingly marked-up CSB. But the pattern helps. And the fruit helps me to grow in patience. I may not have what seems like a fruitful personal time in the Word this morning or the next, but there are always markers along the way, markers that help me to be patient as I press on.