1. Practice Spiritual Disciplines
We all know that reading the Bible and prayer are integral parts of our spiritual growth. But there are additional spiritual disciplines that can also greatly enhance our intimacy with the Lord. For example, Elijah practiced solitude and silence, and the Lord spoke to him: “Then the LORD said, Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD. Behold, the LORD is about to pass by.”
Daniel fasted, and the Lord blessed him: He said: “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see” (Daniel 1:13-14).
Paul practiced writing when he said to Timothy, “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments” (1 Timothy 4:13). What if we took time out of our regular schedule to commune with God in different ways? What would it do for our intimacy with the Lord? What would it do for our churches?
2. Pray in a New Way
While we may pray to God regularly, how often do we take the time to pray to him and listen for him to speak to us? The Holy Spirit wants to speak into our lives. He wants to reveal new things to us through God’s Word; he wants to give us direction and guide every aspect of our lives. Take a moment to analyze your prayer life. Is it feeling stale? Sometimes the best way to have a deeper relationship with God is to revitalize your prayer life. Jesus often “went up to lonely places to pray.” His intimate communion with the Lord was what kept him from giving in to the world’s temptations throughout his years of ministry. If Jesus felt it was an integral part of his relationship with God, shouldn’t we too?
3. Read the Bible in One Year
Did you know that if you read five chapters of Scripture each day for five days a week starting in January, you would have read the Bible cover to cover in ten months? Bible reading seems much more doable than reading sixty-six books of the Bible when it’s broken down into smaller goals. If you have no interest in reading the Bible in its entirety, ask yourself this question: I have read the Bible, but have I ever taken the time to study it? In the new year, pray before you read and ask God to reveal one new nugget of truth from his Word. You’ll be astonished at how many verses you have read many times before, only to read it with new meaning and application for your life this time around.
4. Read the Bible in a Different Translation
Although many of us may have read the Bible cover to cover, maybe we can make a goal to read the Bible in a new translation. You may have a translation you are most comfortable with, but have you ever considered reading it in a translation you have never seen before? The message, for example, reads like a storybook because it doesn’t have verse numbers or subheadings. Challenge yourself to compare translations of your favorite verses. And what new way does the Lord speak to you when the Word is translated differently?
5. Take a Weekly Prayer Challenge
Prayers are a wonderful way to commune with God regularly. It is important not only to present our request to God but also to praise him confess our sins, and be thankful for his presence in our lives. But often, our prayers get watered down to what we want: our agenda, our will, and our desires. Set aside one day a week to pray for the needs of those around you. You can create an ACTS 1:8 method of prayer by asking yourself: Who is my Judea? Who is my Samaria? And who is at the ends of the earth that I know? In other words, your Judea might be your neighbors and people within your immediate community. Your Samaria might be people within the surrounding cities and states. The ends of the earth are those who can be those admissions work or those in other countries who you know who you can keep in prayer.
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