There are many tools at our disposal in living life as a disciple of Jesus. However, I want to give you some practical help for two of them.
Knowing, Loving, Obeying
The primary way God has revealed himself to us is in his Word – the Bible. If we are going to grow as disciples we must become people who know, love, and obey God through the Bible. There are many good Bible reading plans out there, and if you like and use the one you currently follow, stick with it. However, the one I’ve found most helpful over the years is the M’Cheyne reading plan. If you are just starting out, don’t feel like you have to cover everything it says to cover in that day. Start with 1 or 2 of the readings and then you can work up to four. There are also some good plans listed on the ESV Bible website or on their app.
Another way we can grow as disciples is through prayer. A simple way to define prayer is communicating with God. This includes talking to God and listening to God. I encourage you to start small. Even five minutes a day is good if you are just starting out. I encourage you to spend some time listening, which will involve some silence. Journaling is a helpful thing to do while you are listening.
When talking to God, a common order of prayer is praying the acronym ACTS:
- Adoration – worshiping who he is, listing out his character qualities, and telling him how valuable he is to you
- Confession – simply admitting where you’ve fallen short of worshiping him above all things and admitting sin patterns
- Thanksgiving – thanking God for who he is and what he has done
- Supplication – asking God to help you find more freedom and joy in him, and by his Holy Spirit working in you how to overcome and turn from the things you mentioned in the confession portion of this prayer
The last helpful tip in praying is to incorporate it into your Scripture reading. Pray the Scriptures back to God that have an impact on you. For example, in John 15 Jesus says, “Abide in me.” You might say in prayer, “God give me the strength and wisdom to abide in Jesus.” This often helps me when my mind is scattered or I’m drawing a blank when trying to pray.