Dr. John Wagner
Have you been feeling out of sorts lately? Things just aren’t going right at work, your family relationships are strained – but you just don’t know why? Everything you try doesn’t seem to work. You find yourself losing your temper more often, and for no apparent reason. You may be out of sorts spiritually. Your spiritual health can affect every other area of your life – including your physical health!
This prescription, followed carefully for 30 days, will return you to spiritual health and vitality! The prescription will require some time each day on your part. And, like many antibiotic packs that medical doctors prescribe, this prescription involves taking three “pills” twice a day.
To take this prescription you’ll need to go somewhere by yourself. Go somewhere you can be quiet and focus your thoughts. It may even have to be in the bathroom.
So here goes:
1. Read the Bible two times a day
You may think, “Wow! That’s a pretty tough pill to swallow!” But like any medication, it has to be taken to get better.
Psalm 1:1-3 says,
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates DAY and NIGHT. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
Read one chapter in the Old Testament in the morning.
Begin with Genesis Chapter 1 on the first day and then move on to chapter 2 the second day, and so on. When you’ve finished reading the entire Old Testament, start over again with Genesis 1.
Read one chapter in the New Testament in the evening.
Begin with Matthew Chapter 1 on the first day and then moving on to chapter 2 the second day, and so on. When you’ve finished the entire New Testament, start over again with Matthew 1.
This reading schedule (taking into account missed days) will take you about two and a half years to get through the whole Bible. I know that sounds like a long time, but my emphasis is not on trying to speed read the Bible in one year, but actually focusing on what you read, and thinking about it, so you get something out of it, rather than just an emotional feeling.
If you follow this schedule, since the Old Testament is about three times as long as the New Testament, you will have read through the New Testament three times before you finish the Old Testament once. That ratio is actually a good one to follow because, while it is important to read and understand the Old Testament, our emphasis and focus should be in the New Testament, where God’s focus is.
Taking this pill should not take you more than 5 or 10 minutes in the morning and 5 or 10 minutes in the evening.
2. Start a journal
From the chapters in the Bible that you read, write down any verses that really seem to impress you, or stand out to you. Write down why they impressed you, and what you thought about as you read them.
This doesn’t have to be a fancy journal. and you don’t have to write perfectly. It’s just a way to keep track of what you’ve read and what you’ve prayed. I have a tendency to forget if I don’t write things down. And you’ll want to go back at the end of the month to review what you’ve written to see the progress you’ve made. Don’t worry about spelling and stuff like that, because no one else will read what you’ve written unless you choose to show your journal to them.
In your journal, beside the Bible verses and your thoughts about them, jot down any prayers you prayed. When God answers your prayers be sure to write down the answers in your journal! Because they will get answered!
You will begin to see patterns developing in the parts of the Bible that stand out to you. These are often God speaking directly to you about issues in your life, or revealing Himself to you personally, so you can know Him better. Because He wants you to know Him!
Your faith will grow as you begin to see the prayers you pray actually answered! That’s when it’s important to thank God for answering them.
3. Pray two times every day
2 Chronicles 13:10-11 says,
“As for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken him. The priests who serve the LORD are sons of Aaron, and the Levites assist them. Every MORNING and EVENING they present burnt offerings and fragrant incense to the LORD.”
In the Old Testament incense was often a type or symbol of prayer. Though we are not under the ceremonial requirements of the Old Testament, the principle of praying morning and evening is still an applicable principle in our relationship with the Lord!
Pray 15 minutes every morning
After you read the chapter in the Old Testament. Pray first about the verses that stood out to you. If it’s something you don’t understand, ask God to help you understand it. But be specific – tell God exactly what it is you don’t understand and what is giving you the difficulty. Pay attention to what comes to mind as you pray. Write those thoughts down in your journal. If they were something you were instructed to do, ask the Lord to help you be obedient and do it. Then pray for your friends, family members, boss, co-workers, or teachers, etc.
Pray 15 minutes every evening
After you read the chapter in the New Testament. Again, pray first about the verses that stood out to you. If it’s something you don’t understand, ask God to help you understand it. Again, be specific – tell God exactly what it is you don’t understand and what is giving you the difficulty. Pay attention again to what comes to mind. Write those thoughts down in your journal. If they were something you were instructed to do, ask the Lord to help you be obedient and do it. Then pray for your friends, family members, boss, co-workers, or teachers, etc.
This prescription will require some time each day on your part. But if you follow it carefully for 30 days, it will return you to spiritual health and vitality!