When I was younger, while in a haste to complete my time in the Word, prayer is one thing I would often neglect. This typically resulted in lots of unfruitful time in the Word where I walked away scratching my head with very little to transform my life. It wasn’t until years later that I realized how important prayer was to my time of Bible study.
You see, we often forget that Bible study is a spiritual experience where we commune with God. Too often we simply approach it from an academic point of view. Instead of fellowshipping with God, we only want the head knowledge. Yet, God speaks through Bible’s pages, because they are his words. Therefore, we need to come prepared when we study God’s Word. Prayer is the primary means by which this takes place. With that in mind, today, I want to share five items you should pray for before you begin any time of Bible study.
1. Pray for Forgiveness of Sins
Before we open our Bible, we must first repent of our sins. Without fail, between the last time we studied until the next, we’ve fallen short of God’s standard. If you’re anything like me, you probably sinned with a stray thought in the time it took to walk to your desk to start studying. We’ve become such experts at sinning that we fail to realize how often we commit the crime.
It’s foolish to think God would bless our time of study if we’re unrepentant of sin. Be cleansed of your sin and come to the table ready for a feast. Ask him to forgive you of any and all sins you’ve committed. This prayer will guarantee you are walking in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, the one who teaches and explains all biblical truth.
2. Ask God to Speak
Once you’ve repented and are in fellowship with God, you then need to ask for the Holy Spirit’s help. Bible study is about letting God speak to us through his Word. As such, we would be foolish to not ask him to commune with us in our times of study. The unfortunate truth is it’s possible to read the Bible all day and walk away with zero to show for it.
I’ve read the Bible too many times & failed to ask God to speak. Those are the times I walked away asking myself, “What did I just read?” Don’t let that be you. Pray for God to speak to you through his holy Scriptures.Bible study uncoupled from prayer is a fruitless endeavor Click To Tweet
3. Pray for Focus
There’s nothing worse than wasting time, especially during Bible study. With jam-packed schedules, we only have so much time to spend with God in Scripture each day. We must make the most of our time. In our prayers, we should ask God to keep distraction at bay so we can focus on his Word alone.
Speaking from experience, when I don’t pray this prayer, my mind wanders so easily or I get caught up in details that don’t matter. When this happens my time is squandered and I don’t come away uplifted. Yet, when I ask for focus, the Lord is usually faithful to answer that prayer. Sure, I still have to fight to stay focused, but the battle isn’t nearly as hard as when I don’t seek his help.
Pro Tip: Keep pen and paper nearby. When random thoughts, like needing to buy milk, enter your mind, write them down and continue with your study. This frees up your brain from trying to remember such details, which can prove to be a distraction when not written down.
4. Seek Clarity
One of the goals of Bible study is learning and understanding what you’ve read. Why not ask God for the clarity to understand the passage or topic you’re studying? This is a prayer God is pleased to answer because he wants us to grow in our knowledge of the faith. Bible study is hard work, so it’s worth asking God to make it a little bit easier for us. This prayer doesn’t mean the answers will jump off the page (although it sometimes happens that way); but, what it does mean is that as you put in the work God will help you make sense of it all.
Now, there are times when God doesn’t answer this prayer, and that’s okay too. There are many times I’ve sought to understand a passage or topic only to remain flustered. Sometimes God doesn’t want you to understand something yet, for whatever reason. Often times it’s to keep me humble. But, when I come back to the same subject at a later date, praying the same prayer, God does answer and I’m blessed because of it. Sometimes he even reveals the reasons why he withheld understanding in times past.
Nevertheless, prayer for clarity is vital if you want to get the most out of your Bible study.
5. Pray for Application
Lastly, we should pray for the application of the things we’re studying. Head knowledge alone is not enough. We must take everything to heart so it can transform our lives. This is where the Bible comes to life. Real growth only happens when we live out what we’ve learned. If we cannot apply Scripture then our time spent in it is in vain.
For me, this is the hardest part of Bible study, so I always ask God to help me apply his Word to my life.
Do not neglect praying for application.Never forget to ask God to help you apply his Word. Click To Tweet
Remember to Pray
When I remember to pray before Bible study my soul is always edified. If you remember to pray for these five things before your times of study, I can assure you will walk away fulfilled every single time.
This week make it a habit to pray before you open your Bible. It doesn’t have to be a long prayer, but make sure you do it. At the end of the week email me & let me know if it had any impact on your time in the Word.
Weekly Study Prompts
This week, meditate and journal on the following passages:
- Monday – Judges 6-7
- Tuesday – Judges 13-14
- Wednesday – Judges 15-16
- Thursday – Ruth 1-2
- Friday – Ruth 3-4
- Memory Verses: Psalm 19:14; Galatians 4:4-5