There are times when I study the Bible that the very words seem to jump off the page and breath life into my weary soul. I rejoice at every verse, each story, and devour chapter upon chapter. God feeds my soul and revives my spirit.
But every now and then there are times when the Bible seems as inspiring as the New York City Area phone book. Every Christian has experienced them – dry times in their Bible study. Times it is a drudgery rather than a joy to pick up God’s word and read it.
What do you do at times like that? Here’s what I have found:
First, don’t ignore it. This is no small problem. It is a serious spiritual issue. Second, ask God. In other words, PRAY.
Prayer and the word of God go hand in hand. “Praying before the throne of God and meditating on the Word of God are like parallel rails that enable the train of our souls to stay on the track that leads to holiness and heaven.” –Piper.
How should I pray as I approach God’s word? Psalm 119 gives me some really good clues:
Pray for God’s Grace (119:17) “Deal bountifully with Your servant, That I may live and keep Your word.” The Psalmist is asking that God would deal with him according to God’s goodness, not according to his own merit. That is grace. There is bountiful riches in God’s grace toward us. Always go to the Bible humbly, dependently, asking for the abundant grace of Jesus Christ to fill you with understanding and mature you to do His word. Admit you can’t do it on your own.
Pray for Illumination (119:18) “Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law.” There are wonderful things in God's teaching to us. But no one can see these wonderful things for what they really are without God's supernatural help. It is God through His Holy Spirit that enables us to comprehend His word. Again, you can’t—He can.
Pray as a Stranger on Earth (119:19) “I am a stranger in the earth; Do not hide Your commandments from me.” The earth is not my home. I am traveling in a foreign land and I need a road map. The Bible is that guide. It is our roadmap through this sinful world to the bright land of eternity with the Father. Remember, the Bible speaks the language of heaven, and my citizenship is there.
Pray with Passion for God’s Word (119:20) “My soul breaks with longing For Your judgments at all times.” The Psalmist prayed with passion. He felt a crushing burden to read and ponder God’s ordinances. He said, “My soul breaks with longing.” When I go to study God’s word, I do not pray simply as a duty, I am desperate to know God and His word to me. And not just sometimes, “at all times.”
Pray Because of Opposition (119:21-23) ”You rebuke the proud; the cursed” those who “speak against me.” Few things cause believers to hide their faith more than fear of scorn or ridicule. Ask God to “Remove” that burden from you. Pray that in the midst of this sinful world, as you face opposition, that God would keep you faithful as you meditate on His word.
The Fruit of Prayerful Study of God’s Word (119:24) “Your testimonies also are my delight And my counselors.” God gives us joy and pleasure through His word when we come to it prayerfully.
Have you experienced dry times in your Bible Study? What helped?