Does your Bible reading leave you feeling nourished? Does it leave you inwardly satisfied, strengthened and happy in the Lord?
Paul exhorted his young co-worker Timothy saying,
“If you lay these things before the brothers you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, being nourished with the words of the faith and of the good teaching which you have closely followed” (1 Tim. 4:6).
The striking expression in this verse is “being nourished.” The only way for a believer to grow spiritually and live a normal Christian life is by being nourished.
But how can we make our contact with the Bible “nourishing,” full of spiritual supply?
In this post we’ll consider twelve tips on how to pray-read the Word of God to be spiritually nourished. By “pray-reading” we simply mean turning God’s Word in the Bible into prayer—mingling prayer with our reading and study of the Bible in order to receive spiritual nourishment from God’s Word.
First, call on the Lord and speak to Him from deep within.
By calling on the Lord’s name we exercise our deepest part—our spirit to contact the Lord Himself. Calling brings us to the dining table of our spirit—the place where we can feed on the One who is the Bread of Life (John 6:48; 2 Tim. 4:22).
Simply speak to Him—“Lord Jesus! O Lord, I love You! Lord, I open to You. I’m coming to You in Your Word.” Since our spirit is the organ to contact and receive the Lord, we must learn to use it whenever we come to the Word. We must pray with our spirit if we’re going contact the Lord who is of the same substance (Eph. 6:17-18, John 4:24).
Second, read a few Bible verses.
Two or three verses—sometimes even a part of a verse—may be more than adequate for one spiritual meal. For example, certain golden verses like John 3:16 might provide spiritual food for more than one meal.
This verse says,
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that everyone who believes into Him would not perish, but would have eternal life.”
Third, with your eyes still on the word, take a short phrase, and repeat it back to the Lord.
For example, using John 3:16, you might say, “For God so loved the world…O God, You really love this sinful world!”
Fourth, try saying “Amen!” to the Word of God.
Amen is our agreement with God’s sure words. It means firm, steadfast, and trustworthy. It’s also a name for Christ (Rev. 3:14). He Himself is “the Amen,” the fulfillment of all the promises of God to us (2 Cor. 1:20). So it’s another way to touch Him in His Word.
Fifth, you may want to read certain words with emphasis.
For example, you might be inspired to say, “SO loved…Oh Lord, You SO loved the world! How much You loved the world!”
Sixth, you may be touched to personalize your pray-reading.
Continuing the example, you might say, “Oh God, since You loved the world, that means You loved ME! Oh Your love reaches even ME!”
Seventh, you might be touched to confess your sins to the Lord.
Being convicted by the Word, you might confess, “Lord, You loved me so much, but I confess, I don’t really love You; I love other things more than You. Forgive me Lord.”
Eighth, then you might be inspired to thank the Lord for whatever He touches you with.
You might say, “Thank you God. Though I didn’t love You, You loved me so much that You gave Your only Son to die for me. ”
Ninth, you might also want to declare something to the Lord.
Then you might read, “That everyone who believes into Him. Lord, I’m included in “everyone.” Lord, I believe into You!”
Tenth, you might spontaneously feel led to petition or intercede for someone the Lord has placed on your heart.
The Word your reading may touch you concerning the need of someone you know. You might say, “Lord, my friend John has not yet believed into You. Cause him to believe into You so that he too may have Your eternal life.”
Eleventh, you might sing the Word with your own tune or one you can remember.
Twelfth, then you might want to praise the Lord according to what you’ve seen in the verses.
You might continue by praying, “Might have eternal life! Oh Father, praise You for Your eternal life. Praise You that You give this life to everyone who believes. Father, I believe. Praise You I have eternal life!”
By applying these twelve tips, I believe we’ll daily enjoy the Lord as our Bread of Life in the words of the Bible. Whenever we touch Him by pray-reading in such a way, we’ll receive the best spiritual nourishment to live the normal Christian life.
These twelve points are just an opener. Please share your experience of how you’ve been helped to receive spiritual nourishment from pray-reading God’s Word.
For more on pray-reading the Word, I’d recommend a booklet by that title for starters. You can find it online at ministrybooks.org (in Additional Titles by Witness Lee) or get your free copy as part of Bibles for America’s free literature series. It is the last chapter in Basic Elements of the Christian Life, Vol. 3. You can also find an excellent hymn on feeding on the Word at hymnal.net (be sure to click “View Lyrics”).
photo credit: TheCulinaryGeek (Creative Commons)