When you sit down to do your reading for a study, what’s the first thing you do? Do you open up the book and just jump right in? That is what I used to do – always in a hurry to make sure I had time to get the whole chapter done in one sitting and according to the study schedule. It’s a perfectionist trait that most of the time hasn’t served me well, but if I’m to be completely honest, there are still many days that I have to fight the temptation to do this. But why – why NOT just jump right in and get ‘er done? I mean, isn’t getting through all the reading assignments each week a great goal? Well, I would have to say that depends on your ultimate goal for the study . . .
Is it your goal to complete all the assignments in a study, or is your ultimate goal to allow God to complete all of HIS assignments in your heart?
If you’re sticking with goal numero uno here – completing the study – then there’s probably no need to read on, which is fine because not everyone is at that level of wanting to get even more out of a study. Maybe you struggle to complete things and so completing the study is in fact a good goal for you right now to bring you to your next level in study – great! If, however, you’re past that lesson and are in fact reading this because you want to learn how to dig deeper into studies, well then this series is for you because, as odd as it sounds, although completing a study is a great and helpful goal we should all aim for, it should not be the ultimate goal if you truly want to dig deeper and experience life-long change as a result.
Alright, so if we don’t want to just jump right in with the focus of completing everything in a study, what do we want to do instead to help us dig deeper and achieve long term change in our lives?
When you sit down to work on your study, rather than jumping right in, take some time to pray first. While inviting God into your study time with you through prayer may sound like a small thing, it can actually make a huge difference! It is time well spent because it will multiply your results!! How? Just take a look at this list of some things you might pray for and imagine how these prayers, if answered, have the potential to bring your study experience to a deeper level . . .
BY PRAYING FOR:
- A growing hunger for God and His Word
- Knowing Him better
- Understanding and wisdom
- Revelation of His truths and sin in your life
- Revelation of His will and next steps for you
- A new thing to be revealed or done in you
- Help/strength to put into practice what’s being learned
Remember what John 5:14-15 tells us:
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.”
Wow! What a beautiful truth!! When we ask ANYTHING ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, we KNOW that we have it.
Re-read the list of things to pray for above . . . Do you believe these are God’s will for you? If you’re not sure, be sure to see and consider completing the Digging Deeper, Option #1 section below. It will help bring you that confidence that John 4:14 speaks of . . .
So will you go to God in prayer first, each time you sit down to work on a study, so that He can bring to light the deeper messages He has planned for you there in those pages! Won’t you try it?! God’s revelations are waiting for you . . .
*Digging Deeper Challenge:
Option #1 – to help you know and believe that God does indeed want to reveal to you those things suggested above to pray for, seek out scripture on each of them. Example: for the topic of “A new thing to be revealed or done in you,” look up Isaiah 43:19.
Option #2 – for more assurance of the helpfulness of prayer, seek out additional verses on the topic of prayer.
Option #3 – write out a prayer for you to use before you begin your study time each day. Tip: for some prayer examples, try searching “prayer before reading the Bible.”
YOUR TURN TO SHARE . . .
What helpful scriptures did you find from one of the digging deeper challenges? -OR- Share your prayer and/or your “prayer before study” experience. Did it help?
Remember: implementing something new into your routine takes intentional and consistent focus as habits take time and work to establish. Keep at it and the results will follow in time.