Last night at our weekly CNCF Bible Study, we took a break from focusing as much on the content of our prayers, and we looked at some practical resources we can use as tools to discipline ourselves in the spiritual discipline of prayer.
I've found that few things stir in me a desire to pray than reading good books by faithful men of the past and present. Aside from Scripture, here are some good ones:
Practicing effective Bible study on Psalm 3.
What are the Psalms and what do they mean? Is it right for Christians to pray them to God? What about those ones calling down judgment on enemies? How does that jive with Christ telling us to "love" our enemies?
Here's a little teaser:
Righteous retribution is one of the glories of the divine character. If it is right that God should desire to exercise it, then it cannot be wrong for his people to desire him to exercise it. It may be objected that, while he claims retribution for himself, he forbids it to them, and that he has thereby forbidden all satisfaction in it to them. The fact is true; the inference does not follow. Inasmuch as retribution inflicted by a creature is forbidden, the desire for its infliction by a creature, or pleasure therein, is also forbidden; but inasmuch as it is righteously inflicted by God, it must be right in him, and must therefore be, when in his hand, a proper subject of satisfaction to the godly.
—R. L. Dabney, 19th-century American pastor
Get ready for our study next week on the Old Testament prophets by reading and answering some questions about the book of Amos!
Practicing effective Bible study on Leviticus 16 —the Day of Atonement.
Have you ever read through the book of Leviticus? Isn't it messy? How are we supposed to interpret all the blood and death and bodily fluids and rules and regulations? What does the Old Testament Law have to do with us? Well, just about about everything. This handout should help.
Prepare for Bible study next week by reading Leviticus 1–7. We're very excited to come together next week to learn about how we're supposed to read, understand, and apply Old Testament Law. Many Christians and non-Christians alike have difficulty when they come to these sections of Scripture. We need to grow in our understanding of these passages, and it's vital for us to learn what God has to teach us in them. Bring your questions and your concerns as we deal with issues like: What about all the blood and guts? Does this really have anything to do with me? It seems so boring!
Practicing effective Bible study on Proverbs 17.
What about those strange books in the Old Testament called "wisdom literature"? How are we to read and understand Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes? This handout from week 7 of our summer Bible study should help you to understand the Holy Spirit's instruction for us in the Bible's wisdom literature.
How are we to read and understand the gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? Why are there four different account of Jesus' life and ministry? What about those weird parables Jesus is always teaching? What are we to make of them, and how do they apply to us? This handout from week 6 should help you with reading and understanding the New Testament gospel accounts of Jesus' time on earth.