Prayer and Bible reading are two important components of a relationship with God. Through the Bible we learn about God’s character, his will, and his purposes. Through prayer we deepen our friendship with him.
In prayer, we tell God how much we love him and what is on our mind. We bring our concerns for others to him, and we learn to listen to him. This study and prayer guide will give you some tools to help you know how to spend time with God.
How to Read the Bible
Here is one method for reflecting on the Scriptures:
- Find a regular, quiet place where you can sit and read the daily Bible passage.
- Quiet your heart and mind by focusing on God’s love. It may help you to sing or listen to a favorite worship song so that you can more fully enter into a spirit of worship before you pray.
- Imagine as though God is present with you in your quiet place, speaking the words of the Bible passage directly to you.
- Read slowly, letting the ideas, words, and images sink into your thoughts.
- You may want to keep a notebook handy for jotting down insights, thoughts, or phrases you do not want to forget.
- When you have read the daily passage, silently reflect on what it said, asking God what he wants to say to you through it.
- Talk to God about what he is saying to you. You may want to turn some of the words in the scripture into a simple prayer you say back to God and can remember and pray throughout the day. For example, John 3:16 could become a simple prayer such as “Thank you God for loving me enough to give me Jesus.”
How to Pray
The A.C.T.S. Method is a simple tool to help you pray:
- A – Adoration. Adoration means an act of worship; a profound love or regard given to something or someone. When we are in love with a person, we tell them we love them and why. To adore God means to tell him we love him and why. Tell God how much you love his love, mercy, justice, forgiveness, friendship, or greatness. Tell God why you love him personally.
- C – Confession. To confess means to be honest with God. We first confess how much we need him, for without him we would truly be lost and confused. We then confess to God the things that we know we have done wrong (sin), the things we know we should have done but did not do. We ask God to speak to us honestly about the good and bad in our lives. Finally, we tell God we need his love, forgiveness, and help to be more like Jesus.
- T – Thanksgiving. We thank God by “counting our blessings” in life. We thank God for the things he has done for us, such as saving us from our sins. We thank God for the good things he did in our life the previous day. We thank God for the people who love us, for our church, for his provisions such as food and health. We will also learn to thank God for being with us and teaching us through the trials of life, because these can also be ways to draw closer to him.
- S – Supplication. A supplication is a petition or a request. Jesus tells us to pray to our Father in heaven and ask for what we need and want. Many people make prayer requests in this order (1) for the world, (2) for the church, (3) for others, and (4) for themselves. Jesus is clear that we are to ask God boldly for what we want and need in his name, and trust in faith that the Father hears and answers prayers.
Prayer Through Journaling: Talking to God Through Writing
Journaling is a tool for being alert to God’s love and guidance in your life through writing and reflecting on his presence and activity in, around, and through you. Journals help you slow down and reflect on where God shows up in our ordinary routines. Keep a written record of your relationship with God. Record your conversation with God, prayer requests, questions, praises, and our responses to God. This can also include collections of clipping, photos, drawings, articles, poems, quotes, and so forth. During extended times of prayer and reflection, you can go back over your journal and discern more clearly how God is at work in your life and how He is guiding you.