The Bible talks about many ways to pray. In John 17:1, Jesus looks heavenward and prays “the High Priestly Prayer” that may also be called the true “Lord’s Prayer.”

People fall flat on their face in prayer. They kneel. It is the attitude of the heart that counts.

There are many books on prayer (including the helpful “All the prayers in the Bible”). You may “pray the Psalms” to God. YOu may use “the LOrd’s Prayer,” which is really “The Disciples’ Prayer” as a pattern not mindlessly saying the words over and over.

Here is an acrostic that has been helpful to me and some others as far as remembering the order of prayer.

Adoration–Praising God the Father through the Son the Lord Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Confession of sin

Thanksgiving to God for Whom He is and what He has done. Answered prayer. Thanksgiving for answers not yet giving.

Supplication (asking)–Jesus wants us to ask Him. “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will and it shall be done for you!”

Like Bible reading, my counsel to you is, “Just do it!”

Reading the Bible

The Bible–comprised of the Old and New Testaments–is the only inspired written word of God. Christians do not worship the Bible, but they recognize the dual authorship of each book–human and Holy Spirit. Further, the Holy Spirit within someone brings the written word alive and provides the power to obey that written word.

It has been rightly said that seven days without reading the Bible makes one weak! I encourage you to read the Bible on a regular basis. First you need to have a readable Bible and one that is a study Bible to help you when you are between your weekly Bible study groups (highly recommended).

The English Standard version is very good and has an excellent study Bible. The Message Bible is good for devotional reading, but not for individual or group study (because you do not have each verse to refer to).

There are different plans to study the Bible. There is through the Bible in one year. If you read one chapter of a Gospel a day you will finish it in less than a day. If you read 5 Psalms (except the very long acrostic Psalm 119) and 1 chapter of Proverbs a day you will finish them in a month.

As far as the Gospel reading goes, you could begin with Mark or John. Or, if you like genealogies, start with Matthew! And if you want to read the Gospel careful researched and written by a physician, you may read Dr. Luke’s Gospel!

Whatever the Bible. Whatever the study guide. Wherever you begin, I have just one word: “Start!”

The Message Bible

In “The Message Bible” Eugene Petersen produced a dynamic equivalent translation using late 20th century idiomatic American English.

It is a translation, not a paraphrase. Petersen himself was both a Hebrew (main Old Testament language) and Greek (New Testament) scholar. But he had the humility to have scholars focused on various sections or books of the Bible to check both the faithfulness to the original languages and the dynamic equivalent nature of the translation.

One of my favorite Message Bible passages is Philippians 4:4-8. We sing the opening lines in a praise song– “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.” Here is how Petersen puts it: “Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him!”

And I like how he talks about twining worry together like rope into prayer. “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness [peace/Shalom], everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

Don’t forget verse 8 which has to do with our all-important thought life. “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious–the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

Previous Blogs

During the “oughts” or “00’s,” I wrote two blogs: one for Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship entitled “Haystack08” (because it was a blog on missioins with the title looking back to the haystack prayer meeting that catalyzed the Americana Protestant mission movement in the oughts (00’s) of the 1800’s; and (surprise) Pastor’s Blog for the web site of the church where I was serving at the time.

I wrote about many things and hope to do so again with this blog. I hope you are challenged to go deeper in your faith, to know God and make Him known (the Navigators’ Christian group’s theme).

Phil’s First post

Welcome. I have named this post after a famous TV science fiction show from the 60’s. The head of the Star Ship would open and or close the show by saying, “Captain’s Blog. Star Date ###.” Well, this is a “Pastor’s Blog” written with a date based on the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I hope we have many great adventures together in this post as we go “further up and further in” (from “The Chronicles of Narnia”) in our knowing God and loving others.