2023 word & prayer guide
Our purpose is to glorify God by being and making disciples of Jesus Christ who are a community of worshippers on mission—and we can’t fulfill this without engaging with God through scripture and prayer. This is foundational to our relationship with him–he speaks to us in scripture, we speak to him in prayer. This guide includes suggestions for reading God’s word and daily topics for us to pray together as a church family.
Reading God’s Word
Below are three options for engaging God’s word through the year. Before your daily reading, briefly pray that God would make you open, give you understanding, and transform you through his word (Psalm 119:18; Isaiah 66:2).
1. Bible Read-Through
You can read the entire Bible in one year with about 10-15 minutes each day. Consider inviting a friend or group to do this with you, and then share insights and questions. The ZF Bible Reading Plan, available at our Resource Center, includes five readings per week to allow flexibility. Rather than including Psalms in the schedule, this plan encourages you to integrate Psalms into your everyday life by reading one each day. Find other plans at esv.org/resources/reading-plans/.
2. Bible Immersion
Immerse yourself in a book of the Bible by re-reading and studying it for a period of time. For example, re-read Ephesians every day for a month, then choose a different book for the next month. Or read through 2-4 chapters of John each day until you get to the end, then re-read it again and again for the month. Consider memorizing parts of the book or scheduling a weekly block of 2 hours to study a book of the Bible more in-depth.
3. Bible Rhythm
Simply establish a rhythm of reading 20 minutes each day, picking up where you left off from the previous day. As you finish a book of the Bible, move to the next one or move to one that is of particular interest to you.
Meditation and Prayer in Response to God’s Word
After reading scripture, meditate on it and turn your reflections into prayers. Here are four questions Tim Keller provides to lead us to respond in prayer:
- Praise: What does this text show me about God for which I should praise or thank him?
- Repentance: What does this text show me about my sin that I should confess and repent of?
- Request: What does this text show me about a need and how shall I petition God for it?
- Transformation: Would this change my life if I took it seriously—if this truth were fully alive and effective in my inward being?