“Have You Been Able to Spend Meaningful Time in the Word This Week?” – Questions You Can Ask a Missionary, Part 4
Our friends (and fellow missionaries) Keith and Lori Doster recently linked to an article about stressors that missionaries face. The original article is called 12 Questions You Can Ask a Missionary to Help Them Stay on the Field. Missionaries are not unique to these stressors; however, they do face them in situations where they often feel vulnerable and lonely.
If you know any missionaries, I encourage you to support and encourage them by asking one or more of these questions (but not all 12 at once!). For the sake of our friends, supports, and blog-readers, I wanted to proactively answer these questions over the next few months. (Of course, feel free to ask us these questions personally.)
Question 4: “Have you been able to spend meaningful time in the Word this week?”
I do a pretty good job getting up in the morning for a time of solitude with God. It’s not that I absolutely love getting up early. It’s just that I know that if I want any time of quiet and concentration in the house, it has to be first thing in the morning.
I started reading the Bible regularly soon after I became a Christian when I was in college. At first, it was only a couple of days per week, but now I do it every day (with rare exception). Some days I get more out of it than on other days. Some days I read longer than others. But I’m in the Word nonetheless. And I am glad that I read an article that explains the importance of Reading the Bible the Cross.
As I wrote (on my other blog) in Family Goals for 2013, I am reading the Bible chronologically, over a two-year span. Additionally, I am supplementing that reading with a Bible reading plan for the gospel of Mark, from the HeadHeartHand blog. Having two plans keeps things fresh, plus my older two children are also using the latter plan, so it makes it fun to discuss what we are reading.
Other Tools I Use
While I was in college, I picked up the habit of journalling during my morning devotional time. At first it started out as just a few sentences about what I read. Later, I would often write pages per day of what God was doing in my life. Without a doubt, journalling is one of the best things I’ve ever done to help me record what I’ve questioning and learning, and it helps me process what I am thinking. (Even though most of my writing and processing is done through my blogs nowadays, I still write in my personal journal every day.)
After years of not doing much Bible memorization, I picked it up again last fall. Our family began (but never finished) memorizing the book of James. I am still working on that book, and other passages using Memverse. It’s a simple on-line tool that gives me a few verses (depending on how much time I want to devote) each day to practice or review. If you want help with your Bible memorization and want to do it on-line, I highly recommend Memverse.
My Prayer Life
My prayer life is definitely a weak area for me. I’d like to say that it is a time or discipline issue, but it’s not.
Joanna and I were talking about this issue (of needing a stronger prayer life) in our recent get-away in Charleston. Then, at the church that we visited that Sunday, the pastor taught on prayer. Think God had a message for us? I do.
The pastor had my attention immediately when he said,
“Our prayer life is not dictated by how busy or disciplined we are, but by our view of God and our view of ourselves.”
That about sums it up.
Since that weekend, I would say my prayer life has been better. That is, I am thinking more highly about God and more humbly about myself. But I still must grow in my faith in and dependence on God.