Pray and Study
If you take a couple of minutes to look back on your life, would you do anything differently?
We have been working our way through Peter’s first epistle. Peter implored his readers in 1 Peter 2:1-3 to long for the pure milk of the Word. The take-home message in that passage was that we need to make God’s Word a part of our everyday life. Then in 1 Peter 2:4-5, we saw the need to devote ourselves to Him in every part of our lives. We need to continually come to Him. We need to fellowship with Him. We need to become the Church of Christ.
But how does this happen? How does Christ become the center of our lives?
I am now on vacation with my wife at Myrtle Beach, SC. We ventured south (from Bismarck, ND) this past Friday. Our dear friends from Charlotte, NC invited us to spend the week with them. After arriving at the airport in Charlotte, we traveled directly to the Billy Graham Library.
I have had the privilege of working as a counselor at a couple of the Graham Crusades. And I got to meet Dr. Graham and his wife Ruth once in Cheyenne, WY. So, the Billy Graham Evangelical Association is important to me, but it is even more important to my wife. When Phyllis was a teenager, she trusted in Christ following a telecast of one of his crusades. All that said, we looked forward to visiting the Billy Graham Library.
One particular interview of Graham really caught my attention. Graham was asked during an interview if there was anything he would do differently if he could start his ministry all over again. I really thought he would say that he would not do anything different…that everything had gone perfectly. But that is not how he responded.
Graham said, without hesitation, that he would spend more time praying and studying and less time traveling as a guest speaker. This fits right into what we have been discussing from 1 Peter 2.
This one is hard to fathom regarding Billy Graham. He was a man of prayer. His ministry was based on prayer and even my limited contact with the ministry, I was aware of the importance of prayer. But Graham feels that no matter how much you pray, you can always pray more.
The importance of prayer in ministry is expressed in Colossians 4:2-3:
Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant …and pray…that God would open to us a door for the Word…
For any ministry to be successful, we must bathe ourselves and the ministry in prayer. Last week I challenged you to spend just seven minutes a day in prayer and devotion to God. That is not enough. Prayer needs to become a vital aspect of our lives.
There was a poster in the library that read as follows:
Him in all things through the ministry of prayer. This is the first step in preparation for ministry and the last step in follow-up. Our ministry is primed through prayer; for God grants His power through the prayers of His people. It will always be our priority, and our primary source of power, in making the work possible.
I challenge you to make a similar commitment in your life and in your ministry. I also challenge Truth Fellowship Live to make prayer our first step in ministry and our last step in follow-up. We need to pray more.
We have discussed this over and over at Truth Fellowship Live and it often becomes a part of our living lesson following the Sunday messages. We cannot over-emphasize this point: We all need to know God better by knowing His Word better. That takes study…“as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby…” (1 Peter 2:2)
Our spiritual growth can only occur by consistent study of the Bible. There is no magic wand. The Bible does not get into our mind through osmosis. It all takes work…it takes hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating. That involves effort.
We so often get ourselves tied up in activities to the extent that we claim we have no time to read, much less study, the Word of God. With that attitude, there can be no spiritual growth.
To remain in God’s Word requires faithful obedience. Once a person studies the Bible and prays diligently, God will begin to work in that person’s life. Only through faithful obedience can we be involved in a ministry that influences the lives of others. Paul describes our the Gospel message and the Word of God are passed down through generations.
And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2)
Notice the generations. Paul spoke to Timothy. Timothy then committed the same truths to faithful. These faith men in turn taught others. That’s four generations of Christians faithfully living by the Word of God.
I was impressed with way God worked in the lives of faithful men to impact Billy Graham. Consider the chain of faithful men who eventually reached Graham so he could take the Gospel throughout the world.
- Sunday School teacher Edward Kimball won a shoe clerk to Jesus Christ—D. L. Moody
- D. L. Moody traveled to England and awakened the heart of a young pastor—F. B. Meyer
- F. B. Meyer became one of the great Bible expositors, came to the USA, and preached on college campuses and was used to convert a student to Christ—Wilbur Chapman
- Wilbur Chapman attended one of Moody’s meetings in Chicago and became Moody’s co-worker
- Wilbur Chapman employed an ex-baseball player as his assistant—Billy Sunday
- Billy Sunday became a great evangelist and preached in Charlotte, NC organized by the Billy Sunday Layman’s Evangelical Club (renamed to Christian Business Men’s Committee CBMC)
- CBMC invited an evangelist to Charlotte—Mordecai Ham
- Mordecai Ham preached in the tent meeting that brought a young man to the Lord—Billy Graham.
God is indeed faithful and He is doing what He needs to do to motivate the Church. Now it is our time to be faithful witnesses.
Are you willing to commit yourself to the service of Christ? When you get toward the end of your life, will you have done everything you could have done in service to our Lord?
Take a moment to think about your life in Christ. What can you do to honor Him and serve Him?
I hope you are prepared to pray more and study more.