Do I pray and read my Bible?

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Today I was asked if I pray. Prayer means something very different for me than it once did. Once I deconstructed all the premises I had learned about prayer, I realized I could no longer continue with that view and practice of prayer. Ultimately for me, prayer became holding a deep desire for the liberation of another human being relative to their situation, and a willingness to aid that liberation in some tangible way. I came to see that this desire and willingness was a powerful force in the world.

I am also sometimes asked if I read the Bible. These days, not very often. For many years I read the Bible daily as a personal spiritual discipline. I also studied the Bible more academically through four years in seminary and a Master of Divinity degree. And then of course I taught the Bible several times a week for many years as the Senior Pastor of a church. Once I uncovered what I came to see as the message and meaning of Jesus, and the Bible as a whole, it sunk down into me, and became a part of who I am. But I don’t sit down and read the Bible as a regular practice. That doesn’t mean I don’t think people should. And it doesn’t rule out that I might read it more regularly in another season of life. I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to how people relate to the Bible or how they choose to incorporate it into their lives.

Latest Comments

  1. Paul says:

    I completely agree with you James, if someone does choose to read on a regular basis thats great also 🙂

  2. Jon says:

    For me, the daily practice of prayer and bible reading devolved into a reward system. If I did both faithfully, I would grow in spirituality and find eternity in heaven. If not, I would lose God’s favor and go careening into a life of sin with hell as the reward.

    Ultimately, this ritual brought great stress into my life and left me emotionally exhausted. Eventually, after suffering a few stress related health events, I abandoned the practice. I quickly learned that my experience with the divine wasn’t contingent upon prayer and bible study. Rather, there is a far deeper experience to be had that exists beyond religious practice.

  3. colourmecrazee says:

    yip.

  4. BarbN says:

    I have a great love for the Bible, and verses from previous years of study often come to mind. But I don’t read it very often any more–in fact, almost never. The main reason I open my Bible these days is to verify if my memory is correct, because there are certain verses that are deeply meaningful to me. (and to be entirely honest, even then I don’t open my bible, I go to biblegateway.com. Ah, life in the 21st century.)

  5. Ben says:

    I like the practical nature of your view of prayer. I also like what Mother Theresa said in response to a question from Bill Moyers as to what she said to God when she prayed, “Mostly I just listen.” He followed up with the obvious question: What does he say? She responded, “Mostly, he just listens.”

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