Thursday, March 25, 2010

How To Begin A Relationship With God, Part 4

FOLLOW A SIMPLE PLAN (adapted from Rick Warren)

Someone has said, "If you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit it!" To have a meaningful quiet time, you will need a plan or some kind of general outline to follow. The main rule is this: Keep your plan simple.

You will need the following three items for your planned quiet times:
1. A Bible - a contemporary translation (not a paraphrase) with good print, preferably without notes.
2. A notebook- for writing down what the Lord shows you, and for making a prayer list.
3. A worship C.D., ipod, hymnbook - sometimes you may want to sing in your praise time (see Colossians 3:16).

The 5 R's are foundational elements of a great quiet time with God! (Relax, Request, Read, Reflect & Remember, Record)

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; see also Isaiah 30:15; 40:31) Be quiet for a short while to put yourself into a reverent mood.
Pray briefly(Request). This is not your prayer time, but a short opening prayer to ask God to cleanse your heart and guide you into the time together. Two good passages of Scripture to memorize are:
"Search me, OGod, 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; see also 1 John 1:9)
“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law [the Word] ." (Psalm 119:18; see also John 16:13)
You need to be in tune with the Author before you can understand His Book!
Read a section of the Scripture (Read). This is where your conversation with God begins. He speaks to you through His Word, and you speak with Him in prayer. Read your Bible …
-Slowly. Don’t be in a hurry; don’t try to read too large an amount; don’t race through it.
-Repeatedly. Read a passage over and over until you start to picture it in your mind. The reason more people don't get more out of their Bible reading is that they do not read the Scriptures repeatedly.
-Without stopping. Don't stop in the middle of a passage, read it in full context. 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.
-Systematically. Read through a book at a time in an orderly method.
Meditate and memorize (Reflect and Remember). In order to have the Scriptures speak to you meaningfully, you should meditate on what you are reading and memorize verses that particularly speak to you. Meditation is "seriously contemplating a thought over and over in your mind." Out of your meditation you might select and memorize a verse that is particularly meaningful to you.
Write down what God has shown you (Record). When God speaks to you through His Word, record what you have discovered. Writing it down will enable you both to remember what God revealed to you and to check up on your biblical discoveries. Recording what God has shown you is the way of applying what you see in the Scripture that pertains to your life.
Have your time of prayer (Request). After God has spoken to you through His Word, speak to Him in prayer. This is your part of the conversation with the Lord.