from the book -
The Daily Devotional
for the 21st Century!
read distinctly from the book of the Law of God,
gave the sense, and helped people to understand" (Neh 8:8)
prayertime is either not there or too short in many a Christian home. Not
much can be accomplished in a family prayer which hardly lasts for thirty
minutes. The time can be divided equally between Bible meditation and
prayer. During the restoration ministry of Ezra and Nehemiah, the people
were reading the Scriptures from morning six to twelve noon, and then on
upto evening six they were confessing their sins and worshipping (Neh
9:3). This is a healthy proportion. The first fifteen minutes in family
prayer may be allotted for reading and meditating the Bible. That will
make praise and prayer in the remaining time meaningful. The sons and
daughters must be encouraged to read portions of the Scriptures aloud.
Since this is not practiced in many homes, most of our young people don't
know how to follow the punctuation marks in reading aloud. Paul instructed
Timothy, "Give attention to reading" (1 Tim 4:13). This actually
meant public reading. Jesus was good at it. Folks listened to His reading
with rapt attention (Lk 4:16,17,20).
did not miss a single service in the Anglican Church at Nazareth (South
India) where I grew. Two elderly gentlemen used to read the first and the
second Scripture lessons. I can never forget their majestic voice with
which they read. This part of the service was more appealing to me than
the rest. I would read along with them, of course quietly. This was the
training for my Scripture reading in pulpit preaching today. Several free
Churches have dispensed with this practice of reading Bible lessons. I
pity the members, especially the youngsters!
more we read the Bible the more we would like to read it. There will be
times when we may not find Bible reading and meditation interesting. The
excitement may not be there. This is when we must be careful. We
may be tempted to give up the customary practices of Bible reading until a
new desire and enthusiasm springs up. John Bunyan (1628-1688) the author
of Pilgrim's Progress testified, "I have sometimes seen more
in a line of the Bible than I could well tell how to stand under, and yet
at another time the whole Bible has been to me as dry as a stick!"
Such dry spells will be common in our interaction with the Scriptures. We
must neither decrease the time nor discontinue the routine. We don't know
when and from which passage God would speak to us.