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From the Pastor The Importance of Obedience, Prayer, & Reading Your Bible Daily

The Importance of Obedience, Prayer, & Reading Your Bible Daily

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
-Hebrews 4:12


Jean-Jacques Rousseau, one of the most influential thinkers during the Enlightenment Movement, wrote, “I must confess to you that the majesty of the Scriptures astonishes me, the holiness of the Evangelists speaks to my heart and has such striking characters of truth and is moreover, so perfectly inimitable that if it had been the invention of men, the inventors would be greater than the greatest heroes.”
 
Such is the great force of Scripture. It has acted like a thunderbolt to the minds and hearts of hardened atheists and skeptics throughout the centuries. Lifelong church attendees who manage to sit unmoved through thousands of sermons suddenly hear the voice of absolute authority in one half of one verse.
 
This was the case of young St. Augustine who, while sitting in their garden, heard a boy or girl repeating the words, “Tolle lege, Tolle lege,” meaning “pick it up; read it; pick it up, read it.” In Book 8, Chapter XII of Confessions, he continues, “Immediately my countenance was changed and I began most earnestly to consider whether it was usual for children in any kind of game to sing such words; nor could I remember ever to have heard the like. So, restraining the torrent of my tears, I rose up, interpreting it no other way than as a command to me from Heaven to open the book, and to read the first chapter I should light upon.” Augustine rushes to his friend Alypius and his eyes light upon Paul’s letter to the Romans. He reads, “not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:13-14 KJV). 
 
When Augustine finished the reading, his life was transformed. His entire world of rebellion and unbelief came crashing down. Through divine intervention, he was rid of his addictions and worldly love. Alypius and Augustine rushed to give the good news to Augustine’s mother, Monica, who had never stopped praying for her son.
 
Monica testifies to the power of persistent prayer and that of a praying mother. Monica was a godly woman known to be kind and gentle. As a Christian mother, she read her Bible, attended church, and prayed daily. She didn’t have any challenges from her other children—but Augustine! Augustine gave the word disgusting a whole new meaning. He was into everything that provides mothers with nightmares. Yet, Monica never wrote him off. She told him he didn’t have to live a sinful life, but he wouldn’t listen. She continued to pray for him, and, as they say, the rest is history. Augustine became the Bishop of Hippo, and his work for the Kingdom of God is phenomenal.
 
If we need one example of how obedience, prayer, and reading your Bible daily changes you and brings forth miracles, we can look to the lives of Monica and Augustine. They both testify to the powerful influence that daily Scripture reading and prayer have on our lives.
 
As many of you are aware, our church has used the 100-days of prayer to bring major issues, challenges, concerns, or transitions in our lives before God. There’s nothing magic about a hundred days. It’s just what many of us had settled on as a solid period of concentrated prayer and intercession. It could have been ninety or one-hundred-and-twenty days. The intent is only that we bring before God the same issue each day for that period. This isn’t something overly involved or impossible to sustain—only a few minutes of prayer daily. It’s striving more for consistency than the length of time in prayer. 
 
As we race towards the new year and see what is happening around us, I would like to invite as many as possible to join in a time of prayer, beginning on 25 September. For a minute’s prayer, we receive a lifetime of blessings. That’s just how our Father in heaven works. Isn’t that good news?

-Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash

About author

john@community321.com

Born and raised in California, John I. Snyder is an international pastor, conference speaker, and Amazon bestselling author of Sheltered With God: Finding God’s Peace in a World of Fear, Resenting God: Escape the Downward Spiral of Blame from Abingdon Press, and Your 100 Day Prayer: The Transforming Power of Actively Waiting on God from Thomas Nelson Publishers. Pastor John received his Master of Theology and Master of Divinity degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey, and he received his Doctor of Theology degree magna cum laude in New Testament Studies from the University of Basel, Switzerland. He has pastored and planted churches in California, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and Switzerland, training pastors and leaders in evangelism, prayer, outreach, and building healthy churches. Pastor John is host of the podcast The Walk on Theology Mix. The Walk is about our faith walk, the way we live out our faith in our daily life. It brings together conversations of faith from all aspects with writers, pastors, friends, musicians, entrepreneurs, and others. Inspiring guests include Max McLean, Norman Stone, Major General John Gronski, George Barna, Dr. John Lennox, the Rev. Anthony Thompson, R.C. Sproul, Jr., Dr. Judith Briles, and more. He has been featured on Focus on the Family, Moody Radio, Fox News, Faith Radio Network, Cru, American Family Radio Network, In the Market with Janet Parshall, The Bottom Line with Roger Marsh, Miracle Channel, Bill Martinez Live, and many more. Pastor John is married to his beautiful wife, Shirin, and together they refer to their two children as their “most precious treasures and best gifts from God.”

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