It is imperative for the growth of every believer to spend time praying and reading the Bible. God provided all of the tools necessary to live a Christian life and to learn about Him; it is the responsibility of the individual to utilize those tools. Going to church and listening to a sermon is a wonderful addition to a life filled with personal Bible study and prayer time; it should never be the only source for a believer’s spiritual growth.
Just as a person’s body will die without proper nourishment, so will a spiritual life wither without the nourishment that God provides by reading the Bible and having quiet times in prayer with, Him. You can see examples of how Jesus lived this truth by making prayer a priority in His own life. See Mark 1:35; 6:46; and Luke 5:16; 6:12; 22:41,42.
Many tools area available to help you begin a path through the Bible. Bible study aids are available in Christian bookstores or online. You may choose study-aids that are either topical or based on particular books of the Bible. You can also purchase a one-year Bible, which provides a plan for reading Scripture each day so that you complete the entire Bible in one year. But a good basic Bible is what you need, preferably in the King James, New King James or American Standard version. A good place to start is in the book of Romans and the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).
You can begin a prayer life in much the same way. A good idea is to open your Bible study time with prayer, asking God to reveal himself to you through the Scriptures you read that day. Then, when you are finished reading, pray about what you read, asking God to help you apply it to your own life. You can then spend some time, even just a few minutes, praying for other people in your life. Your prayer time will eventually grow as you become more intimate and personal with the Lord.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:12-14).
“But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4).
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).
Here is what the apostle Paul wrote in Romans:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).
What should a believer do in order to not be: “conformed” to this world? How does the believer transform his or her mind? The Holy Spirit does the renewing work. The believers’ part is to read God’s Word (the Bible) daily, meditating on what the Bible says and how those truths can be applied it to life and praying faithfully.
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
The apostle Paul is trying to encourage believers to always be thinking on Christ throughout our waking hours, to have a God-centered attitude in everything we do giving thanks to the Father.