Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV)
The main rule is this: Keep your plan simple.
Wait on God (Relax) -- Be still for a minute; don’t come running into God’s presence and start talking immediately. Follow God’s admonition: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Be quiet for a short while to put yourself into a reverent mood.
Pray briefly (Request) -- Ask God to cleanse your heart and guide you into the time together. You need to be in tune with the Author before you can understand his Book!
Read Scripture (Read) -- This is where your conversation with God begins. He speaks to you through his Word, and you speak with him in prayer. When you read your Bible, try to do it –
- Slowly -- Don’t be in a hurry and don’t try to read too large an amount.
- Repeatedly -- Read a passage over and over until you start to picture it in your mind.
- Without stopping -- Don’t stop in the middle of a sentence to go off and do a doctrinal study. Remember that your goal here is not to gain information, but to feed on the Word and get to know Christ better.
- Aloud but quietly -- Reading it aloud will improve your concentration. It will also help you understand what you are reading better, because you will be both seeing and hearing what you are reading.
- Systematically -- Read through a book at a time in an orderly method. You’ll understand the Bible better if you read it as it was written – a book or letter at a time.
40 Days in the Word
This January, I will be delivering a new church-wide campaign/small group study at Saddleback Church called 40 Days in the Word. My hope and prayer is that churches and individuals across the country will unite in a common desire to Learn the Word, Love the Word, and Live the Word of God like never before. This is our most significant campaign since 40 Days of Purpose, when more than 30,000 churches united nationwide. I encourage every church, pastor, or individual reading this to pray about participating. You can find more information about this at www.40DITW.com.
For church pastors or leaders, the campaign preview kits can be found here, or if you have a small group, you can get the teaching DVD and Workbooks here. James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” I hope you come along with us as we seek to live the Word of God!
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and best-known churches. Rick is author of the New York Times Best Seller The Purpose Driven Life, and also The Purpose Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for ministers. © Copyright 2011 Rick Warren.