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18 & 19 February 2023 (Pastoral Page) OBEYING GOD: READ HIS WORD AND PRAY EVERY DAY

By Asst Ps Timothy Lee

Two weeks ago, Ps Beh, in his sermon “Out of Our Comfort Zone…All Aboard?” (Acts 1:1-26), reminded us that one of the ways in obeying God is to read His Word and to pray every day. We struggle with devotions because we are busy and distracted. Family, work, and entertainment often take priority over devotion.

Perhaps you are wondering why we should do devotion or make it a priority. Yes, we can learn about God through sermons or in group bible study, but to personally know Him, we need to read His Word on our own. Here are some of the reasons why doing daily devotions is an essential part of our spiritual life.

#1 Knowing God personally.

The Bible is God’s word to us. As the psalmist says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalm 119:105). He has revealed His will to us in His Word and desires for us to have a personal relationship with Him. It is only through reading His Word and responding in prayer that we can have a personal relationship with Him.

#2 Recognizing God as He is.

Through His Word, we get to know the attributes of God; in other words, what kind of God is He? What is He like? We gain a truthful understanding of who He is as revealed in the Bible, not some conceptions through our own thinking. For example, from Psalm 139:7-10, it is revealed that God is Omnipresent - He is always everywhere. Therefore, we can take comfort that He is always with us, especially when we are feeling lonely or going through tough times.

#3 Increases our biblical knowledge.

My eldest son was reading The Action Bible and he asked me which Israelite tribe was left-handed. I was dumbfounded because I did not know. He gave me the answer, but I wasn't convinced, so we checked the Bible together. By doing so, we discovered interesting facts about the Bible.

#4 Be renewed in our thoughts and actions.

We are made holy through His Word (John 17:17) and Paul reminds us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice and be transformed by the renewing of our mind so that we will be able to test and approve what God’s will is (Romans 12:1-2). This means to grow in Christ, we need to spend time in His Word and allow His Word to shape our thoughts and actions according to His likeness and image.

To help us in our devotion, we can read and apply God's word using the S.O.A.P method. The process consists of four simple steps:

Scripture: Write down one or two Bible verses which stick to you.

Observation: What is happening in those verses? What is the context from the rest of the chapter? Write down what you notice.

Application: What does this mean for me? What are some practical takeaways from these verses?

Prayer: Write down a short prayer to the Lord. Whether it pertains to the verses you read or not, end your time with prayer.

When we lead busy lives, especially parents of young children, we can integrate devotion into our daily rhythms - during commutes to and from work, during coffee breaks, while waiting for kids to finish enrichment lessons. Spend 10 mins less on social media, or change your environment, such as going to the park or dedicating a corner at home for devotions etc.

Lent is starting this coming Wednesday (22 February) and The Bible Society of Singapore has produced Living the Same Faith in the New Normal Lenten daily devotional guide for use from Ash Wednesday (22 February) to Easter Sunday (9 April). There will be the e-version which is available on The Bible Church App from 18 February 2023. Push notifications will be sent daily so what’s stopping you from spending time with God?

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