Biblical Christianity is a PERSON – the Lord Jesus Christ. When you received Jesus as your Saviour, you received Him as a real Person into your heart and life. There are many things to learn about the Lord and the Christian life, but you must never forget that there is a personal relationship to be enjoyed and maintained.
Personal relationships are maintained by communication – both parties share from their heart. The deeper the sharing, the deeper and stronger the relationship will be. Every Christian needs a relationship with God, and this is accomplished through a ‘Daily Walk’ with the Lord; enabling them to enjoy all that God has to offer. This is also the battleground where victory or defeat in a Christian’s life will be decided.
READ: 2 Peter 3:18 – What is God’s will for a Christian?
There are many essential requirements for spiritual growth, and this short study will deal with a few of them.
Set time aside each day
Your walk with the Lord should be, and needs to be, constant.
READ: Joshua 1:8 – What was God’s command? See also Deuteronomy 6:6-9.
READ: 1 Thessalonians 5:17 – How are we told to pray?
In this age of busyness and distractions, it is vital for every Christian to set aside a definite time each day for a personal devotional walk with the Lord – a ‘Quiet Time’.
READ: Daniel 6:10 – How many times did Daniel pray each day?
READ: Acts 17:11 – What did the Berean Christians do each day?
There is no prescribed time for your daily devotion – what is important is that you DO set time aside, and stick to it!
Remember that good habits are hard to form. Ask the Lord to help you keep this one vital appointment. If you fail, do not quit! Just determine to start again, and keep going until it DOES become a good habit.
Discipline yourself to accomplish a daily Quiet Time
READ: 1 Timothy 4:7 – What does God say we should exercise ourselves unto?
Christians are to discipline (train, exercise) themselves to become godly.
Plan for success
- If you are a ‘morning person’, then get a good night’s sleep so you awake refreshed. You cannot stay up late at night and feel like having a productive Quiet Time early the next morning.
- Select a special place – somewhere that is convenient, and has a pleasant atmosphere with good lighting. Using the same location each day will help you build a successful pattern.
- Approach your Quiet Time with an attitude of expectancy. You can expect God to show you activities you need to start or stop, and attitudes you need to develop or change. God will teach you much about Himself.
Look for ways to apply the Bible to your life
As you prepare to read God’s word in your Quiet Time, pray for understanding and for ways in which you can apply what you read to your everyday life.
READ: Psalms 119:18 – What did the Psalmist say?
TIP: Read the Scriptures using a Bible reading schedule. If you do not have a schedule, then search the Internet for one; there are lots on there.
As you read, think about the meaning of the words, and use a notebook to record insights. It may be something new you learn or something God impresses upon your heart. Insights do not need to come from the entire passage you read; they might just come from one verse or a phrase within a verse.
Writing down insights help solidify them in your own thinking, and stores them in your heart. Journaling is a wonderful way to help you make a personal application, so put on your ‘spiritual spectacles’, and ask these questions:
Did God reveal to me…
- S ins to confess?
- P romises to claim?
- E xamples to follow?
- C ommands to obey?
- T ruths to rejoice in?
- A verse to memorise?
- C hallenges to face?
- L essons about God?
- E rrors to avoid?
- S upplications (prayers) to utter?
As you write out your personal applications, make them specific, and measurable. Write a brief prayer sentence from the insights.
Spend time in prayer
Ask God to guide you throughout the day, and provide you with opportunities to apply what you have learned during your Quiet Time.
Review your memory verses
Memorising a verse from the Bible each week is an excellent way to grow spiritually. At the end of your Quiet Time review your verses from previous weeks.
Some tips when reading the Bible
Begin with a short prayer asking the Lord to teach you
WRITE: Psalms 119:18. This can be a model prayer for you.
Take every word on its primary, literal meaning unless the context clearly indicates otherwise
Remember, God means what He says and says what He means.
When the plain sense makes common sense, seek no other sense, or it all becomes nonsense.
Mark your Bible
Underline or highlight key verses. Write down other references in the margins. If you do not wish to do this in your best Bible, purchase a cheaper one for reading and application purposes.
Scripture always interprets Scripture (2 Peter 1:20)
Always interpret an obscure passage in the light of a clear passage.
Obey the word
You MUST resolve to obey the word of God as you read it and study it (John 15:14).
Treat the Bible as a personal letter from God
Read it expectantly – as a lover reads a love letter (Jeremiah 31:3).
Ask your Christian friends
When you cannot understand a verse, remember that you have other Christians who care for you, and who delight in teaching the word of God. Call them, listen to them, and then check the Scriptures to see if what they say is so.
Some teaching on Prayer
In your daily Quiet Time with the Lord, you will want to pray.
What is prayer?
READ: Matthew 6:5-7, 7:7 – What is prayer NOT?
Prayer is asking. It is the cry of a Christian unto God; the request of a child to his or her Father.
To whom do we pray?
READ: John 15:16, 16:23; Luke 11:2.
NOTE: Nowhere does the Bible teach us to repeat Luke 11:2-4. It is not the Lord’s prayer. Jesus never prayed it; it is a “model” prayer.
In whose name do we pray?
READ: John 14:14, 16:24.
What things may we ask for?
There are many things we can pray for. Some examples can be found in: Matthew 6:11; James 1:5; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; Acts 4:29; Psalms 34:4, 119:18, 119:133.
A good pattern in Prayer
As a general rule, include the following in your prayer:
- A doration – adore God
- C onfession – confess your sins to God
- T hanksgiving – thank God for His blessings
- S upplication – pray for others and their needs, and yourself and your needs
Adoration – Praising God for Who He is
Psalms 34:1 – a wonderful way to begin a time of prayer is by expressing praise to God! In a prayer of adoration, you express your deep feelings toward God in response to His love, wisdom, presence, power, knowledge, grace, holiness, greatness, and His other Divine attributes. This kind of prayer will always be an occasion for joy.
Remember that our adoration must be reserved for God, not for projects, ministries, or works done in His name. When you are in His will, the desire to praise Him will come naturally. Memorise some verses on praising God, and use them as you adore Him – 1 Chronicles 29:11-14; Exodus 15:11; 1 Peter 1:15-16; Jeremiah 32:17-19; Revelation 4:11, 5:12-14).
Confession – Agreeing with God about your sin
1 John 1:9 – When you trusted Jesus Christ as Saviour a special relationship was established between you and God. He became your heavenly Father, and you became His adopted child. That relationship is eternal. However, through our self-centred and sinful decisions in life we strain the quality of that relationship, and our fellowship with God is broken.
It is confession that restores the privilege of that wonderful fellowship. Both sin and righteousness are the result of personal decisions, so confession that is based upon genuine repentance will be proven by a change in your daily life. For this reason, your greatest spiritual victories will normally come as the result of this honest, cleansing kind of prayer. Your confession and repentance need to be specific.
Thanksgiving – Expressing gratitude to God for what He has done
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – The average Christian spends too much time asking and too little time thanking. Paul’s admonition to give thanks in everything reflects the maturity of his Christian life. He had been shipwrecked, beaten, hungry, severely criticised, and imprisoned, yet, his heart was filled with gratitude – Philippians 3:7-8.
Prayer provides the opportunity to express our deepest emotions and feelings to God. How long has it been since your heart was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude?
Supplication – Praying for the needs of others
1 Timothy 2:1; 1 Samuel 12:23 – When Christ enters our lives, it becomes our spontaneous desire to seek God’s blessings for those around us. This is called “supplication” or “intercession”.
Most consistent intercessory praying that we do focuses on the spiritual needs of relatives, friends, and neighbours. Many of those we intercede for are lost. Others are Christians living beneath the resources and privileges freely available to God’s children. In each of these instances, intercessory prayer is a ministry of love.
Through intercession, any Christian can be mightily used of God to affect the cause of evangelism worldwide. Whatever our physical condition, we can all be a part of God’s powerful army of prayer.
Keep an on-going prayer list
Keep a prayer list with your Bible where you write down any definite requests you have – special family needs, church needs, and the special requests other Christians may share with you. And don’t forget to write down the answers as they come.
Don’t forget to witness to others by word of mouth, and hand out tracts or leave them around in public places.