Before you have a conniption fit let me say clearly:
I read the Scriptures regularly, meditate on them, and study them. I teach the Scriptures and am a person of prayer.
There are different kinds of prayer talked about in Scripture:
- fellowship, etc.
Prayer for a Christian is like breathing.
But I still believe prayer and Bible-reading are lacking. Although the Scriptures are extremely important Len Sweet says, “The Bible is a roadmap and compass that escorts us to a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Some Christians have canned answers for everything. Have you ever heard, “read your Bible and pray?” I’ve said those words to my embarrassment.
For instance, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
How do I do that exactly and the typical answer is, “just read your Bible and pray.”
What about this one? “Jesus said that His sheep hear His voice. How do I hear the Lord for myself? You got it, “just read your Bible and pray.”
“Read your Bible and pray” is not practical or specific enough. I know people who tried to follow this formula without success and as a young believer, I tried to follow this advice.
But when it came time to apply the advice I didn’t know where to start. The fact is to “read your Bible and pray” has left many believers frustrated and living in denial.
Conversational Prayer and hearing God’s voice in comparison is the difference between day and night. That’s why hearing God’s voice is as big as the universe but “read your Bible and pray” comes up short.
But despite that, I want to leave you with two practical thoughts to ponder. I don’t have all the answers but I’m learning just like you.
The Apostle Paul solves part of this problem for us.
“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6, NIV)
When your mind is governed by the Spirit you experience life and peace within. The effect of hearing His voice within will often be rest, peace, joy, and encouragement.
The reverse happens, when we step out of God’s revealed will. We have a sense of death on the inside. You will feel troubled and disturbed.
But Conversational Prayer is experienced by life and peace.
Finally, since Christ lives in you by the Spirit, you now have a new awareness beyond just human thought. It’s not as easy as just saying“Read your Bible and pray” because there’s a learning curve to hearing God’s voice. But the benefits are worth it.