Both Scripture and prayer are absolutely vital in terms of how God changes us, and you can’t have one without the other. One way to think of them is that as you read Scripture, you are inhaling. Another metaphor would be that Scripture is food—one that the Bible itself uses. We’re eating when we read Scripture.
Just take this idea of inhaling. When you are reading Scripture, you’re taking in oxygen into your spiritual lungs, so to speak. It’s filling you up and it’s helping you to be healthy. You take it in, but at the top of your breath (once you’ve inhaled) you then exhale. And, that’s really what prayer is.
I like to think of Scripture and prayer as inhaling and exhaling because that shows the two necessarily go together. Some people might think they really need to be disciplined in their study of Scripture, but they neglect prayer. Or, others really want a strong prayer life, but they’re praying all kinds of things that are all over the place content-wise and aren’t shaped by Scripture.
When you are reading Scripture, you’re taking in oxygen into your spiritual lungs.
But, the way Scripture becomes real is by praying it. The way prayer becomes effectual and meaningful is by being biblically shaped and informed. So, the two really need to be kept together—Scripture and prayer as the one-two tandem in healthy Christian living, which is really spiritually breathing.
Dane C. Ortlund is the author of How Does God Change Us?.
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