Theology shouldn’t just be read. It should also be prayed.
When you study theology, you study God, and this information goes to your mind. This is good. But it’s not enough.
If you read theology, you may increase in information, but without prayer and meditation, you’ll limit your transformation.
Prayer and meditation are the keys to get the truth of God from your head to your heart.
In his book, Praying The Bible, Dr. Don Whitney suggests that Christians should, “slowly read a passage of Scripture and pray about all that comes to mind as you read.”
This approach is helpful with the Scriptures, yes, but also with theology. That is – when you read theology, you don’t just want to read, but also pray over what you’ve read.
How do you do this?
Here’s my five step approach:
- Pick a doctrine.
- Thank God for the doctrine.
- Articulate the doctrine.
- Meditate on the doctrine.
- Pray whatever comes to mind.
Below are some examples of how I (sometimes) incorporate this into my prayer life:
“Lord, I thank you for the doctrine of Providence. I’m so grateful that you are continually involved with all created things, and that you direct all things to happen to fulfill your sovereign purposes. Yes, Lord, it gives my heart so much joy to know that you are in control over everything, and that you have predestined all things that come to pass. I pray that today I will believe this truth, and no matter what comes my way — whether good or bad — I will trust that it is for my good and your glory.”
“Father, few things give my heart more joy than this doctrine. The english language does not have the words for me to articulate thanksgiving. Lord, you acted before creation in which you choose me to be saved, and this was not of any merit of my own, but strictly because of your sovereign purposes. I wasn’t picked by the world for much, but you picked me, God, and I wasn’t searching! Lord, I pray that when I feel rejection, I will remember my election. Even if I never get picked for anything again, you picked me, Lord, and that is enough for me.”
“God, I’m so grateful that I’m made right with you because of Christ. My sins are forgiven and Christ’s righteousness has been accredited to me. It’s like I’ve never sinned or always obeyed. How amazing, O Lord! I’ve noticed, God, lately, that I haven’t been as gracious and forgiving toward others. Though you forgive them of their sins, I can’t seem to overlook things they do to bother me. Help me. Help me to remember my justification, and to love them as you love them, Lord. Let me not be a hypocrite. Help me to worship and love like a forgiven man.”
What do you think?
I think that if you spent more time in prayer during your study, you’ll experience more joy. Prayer and study go hand-in-hand.
I’ll leave you with this quote from Wayne Grudem:
“No matter how intelligent, if the student does not continue to pray for God to give him or her an understanding mind and believing heart, and the student does not maintain a personal walk with the Lord, then the teachings of Scripture will be misunderstood or disbelieved, doctrinal errors will result, and the mind and heart of the student will not be changed for the better but for the worse.”
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