Devotion for Ash Wednesday, March 5th

Brooke Eikenberry Lent 2014

Psalm 119:15-16, 105; 2 Timothy 3:16-17;

Hebrews 4:12  ; Matthew 6:7-15; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

John Wesley on the Means of Grace (spiritual practices)        

Study of Scripture & Prayer

John Wesley believed that the world could be transformed into the kingdom of God by practicing the means of grace which included study of scripture, prayer, fasting, worship, Holy Communion, holy conferencing, and works of mercy.

As Wesley studied scripture, he listened for God’s voice and embraced God’s vision. More specifically, he prayerfully studied scripture by asking these questions: What is the Good News that I am to proclaim? and What does it mean to build up the reign of God in this place? Scripture was the primary guide for living a holy life, offering an objective standard necessary for holy living. Considering scripture’s devotional value, Wesley believed it had a unique ability to bring us into an encounter with God. He read the Bible systematically using the table of daily readings in the Book of Common Prayer. This allowed him to read the Old Testament once a year and the New Testament several times per year. He read scripture contextually rather than haphazardly.  And he read the Bible comprehensively: 1) daily—morning and evening, 2) with the singleness of purpose to know God’s will, 3) through correlation to compare scripture with scripture, 4) prayerfully to receive instruction from the Holy Spirit, and 5) with resolution to practice what is learned.

Wesley read the Bible purposefully. He read for the personal application of God’s word to his life so that he could teach others what he had learned. He was fond of saying: “What I thus learn, that I teach.”

In addition, he held his congregation in prayer, he held his community in prayer, and he held those who would be transformed by his ministry in prayer.

Wesley saw prayer as “the grand means of drawing near to God. He believed that prayer maintained the essential element of Christianity: a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Thus, the absence of prayer was the most common cause of spiritual dryness. Prayer is “spiritual breathing” which sustains our life in Christ.

 

What are the ways you have discovered to direct the first thoughts of your day to God?

How do you seek to apply what you learn from Bible reading?

How does scripture come alive in your daily living?

 

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