Prayer and study, allies of the believer



Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 
2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)

Devotional life needs to be cared for over time, and those who do not miss this aspect certainly care about their spiritual well-being. Most often the believer resorts to prayer and study (meditation) of the Bible by necessity, then using them as two crutches. Those who aspire instead to an involvement in the work of God must relate to them as two allies, two battle companions to have at their side, like Aaron and Joshua at the side of Moses. Jesus recommended the disciples not to miss the prayer, even in Gethsemane: "When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation”" (Luke 22:40). The apostle Paul urged young Timothy to cut the "word of truth", something impossible without due knowledge, the result of study and study. If our body is supported by two legs, discipleship cannot support itself on one, in the sense that we cannot prefer prayer to study or vice versa, but one does not exclude the other. In fact, if you try to stand on one leg, you end up limping and not walking; at most they make skips, but a regular path will not be outlined. Likewise, when we serve the Lord we must not limp, but walk and sometimes run; which would be impossible with one leg.

Prayer and study do not make the service easier, fun or enjoyable, but help to avoid or at least limit errors, and certainly strengthen our journey. With prayer we set ourselves to listening to God; with the study we are equipped so that everything we do is approved. The passage of Paul to Timothy is explanatory: an invitation made to a worker who works in the work so that he does nothing of which he can then be ashamed. To rightly cut the word of truth a study done with commitment and dedication is necessary, accompanied by prayer. Sometimes it is thought that studying the Word means learning everything about the books of the Bible, their history and formation, even knowing the original language and textual criticism, or as many comments as possible concerning each single verse. This is not what people who study the Word need but rather the aptitude for research, equipment and preparation, which also includes knowledge of historical Scripture and cultural and educational background. If we examine our lives, I believe no one has so much presumption to claim to spend enough time in prayer. I intend to draw attention to the fact that when one dedicates personal time to prayer in an assiduous and constant way over time, this can become a way to silence our conscience, as if to say that by fulfilling the task of praying one has done what is necessary for the service. What is different is the attitude and the constant search for communion, even in the midst of our activities. If we want to refer to a romantic relationship, we know that contact and closeness are necessary to nourish it. If there is a desire for a person, the day is lived yearning for the moment to be together. With God it should be the same thing, but the matters of life doze us off, as happened to the disciples. Cultivating the relationship with the Lord through prayer also helps us to dig into Scripture. We have a lot of work to do.

(You can learn more about it with my book "Credenti in Costruzione: Corso di discepolato")

Devotional 25/2018
Weekly Bible reading plan

17 June Nehemiah 7-9; Acts 3
18 June Nehemiah 10-11; Acts 4:1-22
19 June Nehemiah 12-13; Acts 4:23-37
20 June Esther 1-2; Acts 5:1-21
21 June Ester 3-5; Acts 5:22-42
22 June Esther 6-8; Acts 6
23 June Ester 9-10; Acts 7:1-21

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