The number one most basic principle of the Christian faith is reading God’s Word and time in prayer. Nothing trumps building a relationship with the God of the Universe through spending time with Him in His word and talking to Him. This is an essential aspect for the life of the believer because without time in the Word there can be no growth, no transfer of power. Yet, this fundamental step is most often attacked. It is so easy to put it on the back burner and before you know it days, weeks, months even, have passed. You’re grouchy, your attitude sucks, there is no joy. No spring in your step. No one can see a glimpse of Jesus in you because you can’t find a glimpse of Jesus in your day. You’re out of sync with the one you’re supposed to be living for.
We are made for so much more than this. It’s time to get in the Word– and not just to check off the box of “read my Bible today.” It’s time to read with intentionality and purpose. It is time to teach our children to develop the habit as well.
Reading and studying the Bible sounds simple at first. Until you sit down with your Bible and don’t know where to start. Overwhelming is an understatement. Many people struggle in this area and there are no shortage of options to help you out. Bible studies, devotions, video studies, even cartoons. There are so many resources out there, but today I’ve got a simple idea to share with you that won’t cost you a dime.
A copy of the Bible and a place to journal are all you need. Sweet and simple. Nothing has transformed our family more than studying the word together using the H.E.A.R. method. It was taught to us by our pastor and I think you’re going to love it too. It is four steps, easy to remember, and simple enough for children to participate.
H.E.A.R. is a journaling bible study method. You read a chapter or two, then pick out one verse to highlight, explain, apply, and respond to.
Highlight. This is the verse that jumped out at you. Highlight it in your Bible and write this verse out in your journal or in the notes section on your phone. Whatever is comfortable to you.
Explain. Explain in your own words what is going on in this verse. You can pull information from the surrounding verses to help you. This is all about what’s going on in the scripture. No I statements. You weren’t there.
Apply. How does this verse apply to Christians in general? How does it apply to current culture, or current headlines in the news? Ultimately, how does this verse apply personally to you?
Response. A prayer response to God is appropriate here, but don’t stop there. Look for real life actionable steps that you can implement into your daily routine. How are you going to implement what you have learned?
Memorize. Just one bible verse every week.
We follow a chronological reading plan through the Bible but you can read in any order that you would like. As a family we sit down in the living room and read and journal together at the same time. Except for the days when we don’t. Real life is hard and messy and sometimes the best of intentions fall flat. But at some point every day, or at least once every week, we sit down and share what God has spoken to us personally with one another. This leads to some really great conversations and some challenging accountability opportunities with one another.
Developing a new habit is hard, so reward yourself along the way. Set realistic goals for your family and a simple reward for meeting them, like pizza for dinner, or ice cream for dessert, or a special trip to the park. We aim for five journal entries per week and make a special trip to the pool to celebrate when we meet our memorization goal each week.
I challenge you to get in the word more. Get in it as a family. See what opening and reading with purpose and intentionality can do. There is power in the Word of God. Tap into it.