Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

20 August 2009

Reflections on Reflections

If you click here it will take you to a link from the Desiring God blog of an interview with John Piper about his devotional Bible reading . Reading the interview is a worthwhile endeavour, if for no other reason, than to catch a beautiful glimpse of a humble heart.

But there is plenty there to encourage and inspire as well. Here are some things that caught my attention.

Firstly, John Piper gives about an hour per day to his quiet time. He reads four chapters of the Bible (four chapters per day will get you through the Bible in a year), taking about twenty minutes. He then prays for twenty to thirty minutes, leaving five to ten minutes per day to memorise Scripture. I don't think I have ever thought of using this particular part of the day to memorise Scripture. But I like the idea.

To memorise Scripture he chooses a verse, reads it ten times and then closing his Bible and/or eyes, says it ten times. "Ten times read, ten times said and you've got it, " he says. The next day he repeats that verse five times (for revision) and then moves onto another verse. I tend to go phrase by phrase throughout the day, adding more on as phrases are mastered. I've recently started trying to memorise some Scripture again and generally aim for two verses a week. I wonder if my brain could do a whole verse at a time and that many a week? There's a challenge to exercise the brain!

Piper also explained why he memorises Scripture - and it is not so that he can boast that he can say the whole of Leviticus from memory. And nor is it to merely exercise his brain. (A personal rebuke slipping in there.) No, he memorises Scripture so that at 3pm, when the good effects of his morning quiet time have worn off, he has Scripture in his heart and mind to keep fighting the good fight. He memorises Scripture so that if he is talking to someone about the things of God and he hasn't got his Bible with him, he can still be sharing from the Word of God. John Piper memorises carefully chosen Scripture for the good of his soul and for the good of the souls around him - not to be clever, to have a fit brain or to boast. John Piper is a humble man.

The other thing that caught my eye was that when he prays for his twenty to thirty minutes, he prays for his family, the church and his soul. Whoa! He prays for his family, the church AND HIS SOUL.

Now, this is not rocket science, but I don't think (at least during these busy days of life with young children) that I pray for my soul. There is much to pray for with my family and the church. Yes, I pray many prayers of confession. I ask for help a great deal. But I don't think I pray for my soul - that I will grow in my knowledge and love of God, in my trust and dependence upon Him - even though I pray this for lots of other people. I think I hope that through my reading, thinking, prayerfulness for others, actions, the need to confess that invariably follows my actions and so on, that my soul will just grow...

Life as one of God's children is such an adventure. There is always something more to consider. And that is good. This interview contains plenty to encourage those new to reading the Bible right through to seasoned readers of the Scriptures. If having a quiet time is a part of your life - or you want it to be - then the few minutes it will take to read this article will be time well spent.


Sharon said...

Thanks for this post, Meredith. It was a good reminder to me to pray for some of the things I learnt about last year, reading Carson's book Spiritual Reformation on the prayers of Paul. Having been studying through Exodus, Leviticus & Numbers this year (with BSF) I have many times been struck by Moses's heart wrenching prayers of honest dependence upon God for the Israelite nation's tempestuous situations. The other side of the coin is that I need to remember to pray with the long haul in mind as well, and consider my eternal future. ~ Sharon

Meredith said...

I think you have hit the nail on the head with your last sentence - keeping the long haul in mind. This makes me realise that so much of what I pray for and about is reactive, which in and of itself is not a bad thing. But there is certainly a need to reflect and pray on a wider scale.

I have the Don Carson book you mention on my reading list for another time - which I was hoping would be 2010. But at the rate I am travelling, most of my 2009 list will be moved to 2010 and the next list may have to wait until 2011...

Mrs. Edwards said...

I follow the Desiring God blog, but missed this, so thanks for pointing it out to me. I love the suggestion to include Scripture memory in my morning quiet time. Why I didn't think of this, I'll never know! At any rate, the point that I'll need the verses later in the day--at 3 p.m. for example--really resonates with me! I've often wished I could stop and spend another hour in quiet time right after lunch, just to get me through the rest of the day walking in the light.

Meredith said...

Hi Mrs Edwards! Thanks for popping in to visit!!

I agree completely. I often think a quiet time at about that time of the day - just before afternoon "peak hour" - would be perfect!

I'm glad you didn't end up missing out on that interview because it was so helpful in its simplicity. Lots of good reminders and yes, a new idea or two.

God bless.