Having just read an article on “Reading the Bible in Prayer and Communion with God” by John Piper in the ESV Study Bible in the Articles and Resources Section (p. 2570-2), I thought I would try and share a few thoughts with you.
1. I don’t ever want to get over the fact that the Sovereign God of the Universe desires to hear from me in prayer. What an amazing thought! The One who created an untold number of galaxies upon galaxies and calls the stars by name (Is 40:26) is ready to hear from me—little old me—one of billions on the planet.
2. Then when I consider the number of times that I place something else about communion with God it is amazing that He still wants to hear from me. In my mind, I can almost hear the “O now…now you want to spend time with me.” “Is there a tornado coming? Is that why you are praying?” I know I have been guilty of that and I want to confess it as sin. Communion with God needs to a top priority in my life.
3. Praying should be a joy in my life not a drudgery! Praying is not something I have to do; it is something I get to do! I get to spend time with the Lord and it is for my joy. If God is my joy then communing with God will result in my joy.
4. May I never forget that I was created to commune with God to His Glory! The Lord says, “even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him” (Is 43:7). Piper reminds me that glorifying God is not something I go do after I have prayed for the day; instead, I bring glory to God in communion with Him.
5. Then I (a sinner!) am reminded that it is the gospel that makes communion with God possible. The gospel not only promises me eternal life, but the same good news makes prayer a joy. Without the gospel the wrath of God abides on me and I cannot imagine communing in prayer with a God who is pouring wrath in my direction. When God gave Adam and Eve coverings of skin and blood was shed because of their sin he was reminding them that communion would still be possible even after they had disobeyed him. But animals died and blood was shed! And the eventual death of Christ was portrayed.
6. Finally, communion involves two way communications and Piper reminds me that the Bible is the revelation of God. Sixty-six canonical books inspired by God to ensure I have an infallible and authoritative revelation of the eternal Triune God. But this is work—I must think as I am reading. True communion with anyone requires work so I should not be surprised when the same holds true with God. I must respond to God communicate to me. What is he saying to me? How does His Word speak to me? What should I be getting out of this text?
The Christian cannot separate prayer from Bible reading. The two go hand in hand. I need to synchronize the two. I need to pray and read and read and pray. Therein lies true communion with God.