Let's Get Real...Answers
Consider what requests you would really like for God to answer in your life. How will He communicate this to you? Are my issues really addressed in the Bible? Many people pray, but they miss the wonders of prayer because they see it way to narrowly, like requests sent to a reluctant fulfillment house, with maybe an answer or not. But I can show you how to have an interaction with God that is different, powerful, and incredibly varied, and will speak to your specific questions, problems, or decisions.
Prayer and Bible Study are two ways that have consistently proven to connect a person to God. To study the Bible is prayer of the best kind, because it is God speaking back to us out of His very Word. The Bible is a unique book like no other. It has God's very life breathed into it. While reading the Bible is great, studying it is even more amazing. When we dig beneath the surface of the words of the Bible, we experience His voice to us.
When we use the timeless truths of the Bible to find the answers to the questions that we have in life, God's voice leaps out of the pages to teach, guide, correct, rebuke, comfort, and empower. This interaction brings our relationship with Him alive. The Bible is the Word of God but it is also His alphabet through which He communicates with us. The more you prayerfully study and interact with God in the Bible, the more you will know Him and let Him live His life through you (Gal. 2:20). He will clearly communicate with you through this discipline.
Let me show you how to pray through the vehicle of Bible Study as prayer.
Determine your purpose. Start by asking God a question you have about life, a direction you need to go in, a truth you need perspective about, or a decision you need to make.
Go to the Bible and begin to read.
Begin reading in the books of Philippians, James, or the gospel of John. You can also look up that topic or question in a topical Bible, computer Bible program, or a concordance to find a list of passages, verses, or paragraphs.
Read through them and focus on any that strike you as providing the greatest insight.
Read through that passage three times out loud (at least under your breath) slowly. This is so that you will slow down and really take a look at the words of the passage.
Write out the verse, phrase, or passage on a separate piece of paper showing the words diagrammatically (important words are bigger, transitions are marked out, clauses are tucked next to the elements they modify or explain, etc.).
Circle key words. This means circling words that are important to the verse or words that you don't know the meaning.
Write down any questions that come to your mind as you are reading and writing out the passage. You will not answer all of these questions but it is important that you ask them at this point.
Read different translations of the passage and note the differences between one translation and another translation.
Interpret what you're reading to get a clear understanding of what the verses mean.
Begin looking up the definitions to the words that you have circled. Write the definitions on the piece of paper next to the word. Pretty soon your piece of paper will be full of writing. This is all very good and allows you to see the passage in more depth.
Look up names, places, and theological words in a Bible Dictionary.
Write your own translation of the verse in your own words.
Apply it to your life or situation. Once you have a clear understanding of what the passage means, now you are ready to apply it to your life.
God has led you to this passage so that you will adjust your life in one of three ways. He is giving you information to help you know what you need to know, feel, or do.
Ask God through prayer, "Is this verse or passage designed to have me know something, feel something, or do something?"
Based upon what God is trying to tell you, ask how are your supposed to do it? Why do you need to know this today? Do I need to adjust my feelings toward something?
Pray and Meditate. Spend some time talking back to God about what He has been saying to you in the passage you just studied. If it's still not clear, you may need to meditate on that verse over night or over a few nights to bring a new level of clarity to what God is saying. Your responses may vary.
You may need to:
agree with God that a change is needed. Tell God about that.
argue with God about what you think He is saying because you don't think you are ready for it. Or you think it is unfair that He is asking that of you or your just don't want to do it!
discuss what you think God is saying because it is not clear.
thank God for what He is saying to you.
quickly do something new that you have not been doing as your response to God. Tell Him what you will do and when you will do it.
If you interact with God in these ways, your spiritual life will become a daily interaction with God instead of a ritual of reading or asking from some list. Interact with God about what is really troubling you and what you are really concerned about. God is not afraid of our questions and our dilemmas.
This process of studying the Scriptures on a particular topic or just working through a book always gives God a chance to speak into our lives. Receive the Word of God and let the Holy Spirit apply it to your heart.
I look forward to interacting with you during your spiritual journey. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know how God is working in your life.
In His service, Gil Stieglitz
Study the Spiritual Disciplines
The heart of every Christian longs for an intimate connection with God. This book is designed to teach the basic spiritual disciplines to everyday Christians so they can enjoy intimacy with God. Just as we train our physical bodies through exercises, so we can train our spiritual life through spiritual exercises. Begin stretching and growing your faith life by getting your copy and engaging the practical exercises in this book. You can purchase it at Amazon.com in print or ebook format.