Some mornings Bible reading feels like running a treadmill on 5 hours sleep. I know I’m supposed to do it, but I don’t get much out of it. While I race through my Bible reading plan, I remember we’re out of milk, and I yawn because anxious thoughts kept me awake the night before. I know the Word of God encourages my faith, but right now news of the Covid-19 crisis, coupled with worry for the future, distracts me many mornings when I come to read Scripture. Can you relate?
Stress from juggling all the things involved with families working and studying from home can make it harder than ever for us to slow our thoughts and listen for God’s voice through His Word.
Before I know it, I’m checking off boxes, so I can run to start my day. Old Testament. Check. Psalm. Check. New Testament. Check.
How can we get more encouragement from Bible reading during a global pandemic?
We all need to let the Word of God fuel our faith and renew our minds. Bible reading encourages us, shows us who God is, and gives us the wisdom we need for daily life. Yet challenging circumstances can make us lose focus; sometimes we experience dry spells when Scripture seems silent.
Does your mind race to something else when you open your Bible? Do your eyes ever glaze over? When I start yawning over scripture, I try these:
4 Ways to Get More Encouragement from Bible Reading
When daily Bible reading grows dull, I start praying. I pray to the God of the Bible to show Himself to me through His Word. If there’s a prayer God delights to answer, it’s this one:
Lord, wake me up to the wonders of your Word. Open my eyes to see you and my ears to hear you as I read.
2. Read Less to Focus More
It sounds counterintuitive to read LESS when you’re not getting anything out of Bible reading, but it works for me. Instead of a whole chapter, I read just one section. For example, Matthew 2 is divided into several sections: “The Magi Visit the Messiah,” “The Escape to Egypt,” and “The Return to Nazareth,” so I read it over several days. Narrowing my focus helps me to pay more attention.
I slow down and ask God to speak as I read the passage a few times. If something I read sparks a prayer, I pause to respond. Then I focus on one verse. What is God saying to me?
3. Color It Up
A few years ago, I started highlighting my Bible in different colors. Not only does it add fun and creativity to my quiet time, it also helps me explore the meaning of a passage. When I see repeated words and concepts, I highlight them in the same color. I also look concepts like these:
- Attributes of God
- Biblical themes like faith, hope, and joy
I use inexpensive watercolor pencils in vivid colors, and I have my own color code system. If you’d like to try it for yourself, click on the printable image below:
4. Write It Down
God’s Word becomes more real to me when I take a few minutes to write down a verse. Again, I like to do this in different colored ballpoint pens. The physical act of writing it down helps me internalize and remember it. When I record it in my notebook in color, it comes to life and becomes mine. I can look at it again later. As I write, I ask, “Lord, what are you saying to me through this verse?”
Instead of slamming my Bible shut to end my quiet time and get on with my day, I want to carry God’s Word with me. Praying first and reading shorter passages of Scripture help me focus on listening for God’s voice. Highlighting a passage or writing down a verse helps me internalize what God might be saying. Which one of these steps might help you get more encouragement out of Bible reading? How about trying it today?
Now it’s your turn. Do you ever have a hard time paying attention to scripture when you read it? What helps you?
I wrote More of God: A Distracted Woman’s Guide to More Meaningful Quiet Times to help overwhelmed and distracted women recover a fresh sense of God’s presence, learn to hear His voice, and grow their prayer lives. Click on the image below for more info:
Are you facing the challenges of life on an empty tank? Need help renewing your relationship with God?
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