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Prayer, daily Bible readings remedies for spirit

Steve Massey The Spokesman-Review

“Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.”

Few patients will accept that tired refrain from a doctor these days, even when it’s precisely what is needed. It seems like there ought to be more that can be done to bring about healing.

When our spirits need help or healing, we often look right past the simple and certain remedies. Prayer and daily Bible reading reorient us to see life through God’s eyes, and not our own.

I cringe when I hear someone lament: “I guess all we can do now is pray!”

Prayer is always the first and best response to any difficulty or challenge, no matter how severe.

So often we think of prayer as talking to God. That’s only half true. Prayer also is a means for us to hear from God himself. Through prayer, God redirects our thoughts and administers assurance and guidance. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God told His people, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3 - NKJV). What an amazing promise. When we cry out to God in prayer, he reveals more of himself and his ways to us.

Great enemies to prayer are at play in our lives. Busyness, self-centeredness, weak faith. It’s always been that way. This fast-food era we’re living in has crept into our spiritual habits as well. It seems that waiting upon the Lord and enjoying quiet time with him isn’t considered productive. We feel we ought to be “doing” something. We couldn’t be more wrong.

In fact, the Bible tells us that we often go lacking, because we fail to pray about the very needs that burden us, or we pray merely to get our way rather than to find God’s way. “…you do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss… ” (James 4:2-3).

Prayer is the breath of Christian living. Is it any wonder we feel winded so much of the time?

It is such a blessing to live in a country where most homes have several Bibles in them. But it’s sad to see so many of them gathering dust. God’s word is of no use when it is tossed aside or used as a well-kept coffee table book.

Through the Scriptures, God breathes his very life into us – one truth at a time.

If I could give just one thing to someone in need spiritually, I would give them a deep hunger for the word of God. In Revelation 10, the Apostle John tells of a vision he had of eating a little book containing God’s plans for the future. The book’s taste was sweet, but it also soured the apostle’s stomach.

God’s truth is always sweet, but his truth also can leave us feeling a little unsettled. The Scriptures correct us right where we need it most; perhaps that’s one reason so many Bibles have dusty covers!

But the sweetness of God’s word is its overriding effect. Have you tasted of it lately? Through God’s word, we experience the sweetness of salvation. The Apostle Paul reminded Timothy that “the Holy Scriptures… are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 3:15). I remember giving a Bible to a co-worker many years ago, just before he moved to another state. Years later, on a visit to North Idaho, he let me know that he had read those Scriptures, and placed his faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.

He has tasted the sweetness of salvation simply by reading the word of God.

By taking in the Bible’s truth, we also taste the sweetness of sanctification.

A friend of mine told me that God always catches his fish before he cleans them. He saves us first, and then shapes us into the people he wants us to be.

Sanctification is simply the process of God cleaning up his children.

Before he was crucified, Jesus prayed that his disciples would be sanctified through God’s word. I believe that is still our Savior’s prayer for us today.

Through the Scriptures, we also experience the sweetness of certainty. There is great liberty in knowing what to do when there’s a fork in life’s road.

Psalm 119:24 tells us, “Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.” The best guidance we will ever get is from the timeless, unchanging word of God.

Bookstores and talk shows offer us a myriad ways to find help for what ails us these days. Don’t be distracted. The cure is not so elusive. God has always prescribed the same two aspirin: through prayer, and filling our minds with his word, we’re sure to find healing.

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