I believe that two disciplines of God’s Word are essential for spiritual growth and moving forward with God’s divine will for one’s life and destiny: prayer and memorization of God’s Word. Each of these has its own discipline that is rewarded with spiritual fruit that cannot be obtained in any other way. Scripture teaches us in Romans 8:20, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” Although the walk of the cross is not an easy one, it can become, through spiritual understanding and with much discipline, the best path.
Prayer is essential to spiritual growth. According to Whitney, “First Thessalonians 5:17 states, “Pray continually.” “While “devote yourselves to prayer” emphasizes prayer as an activity, “pray continually” reminds us that prayer is also a relationship” (Whitney 1994, 33). After turning to Christ at thirty-nine years old, prayer was a key for me which unlocked a door that I had not known needed to be opened. I did not have any theological background or training, but I believed when I would sit and talk to God in the middle of the night that He heard what I had to say. He became my counselor 24/7, and I did not have to pay one thin dime to go to an office or hear that my time was up.
Next, I realized, through listening to teaching ministries on television, namely Kenneth Copeland and Dr. Charles Stanley, that there was much more to learn about God than I could even have imagined. I had no idea who God truly was, much less any of His character traits. I had only known of Jesus Christ and vaguely about the cross. Who in the world was the Holy Spirit, and how did three people get into one body anyway? All of this was from an individual who had grown up in Sunday school and church, never allowed to miss a Sunday.
Memorizing scripture, God’s Word, and allowing it to take root in one’s heart is imperative to overcoming the enemy of one’s soul, Satan. “When Scripture is stored in the mind, it is available for the Holy Spirit to take and bring to your attention when you need it most” (Whitney 1994, 25). If Jesus Christ had to stand on this earth and defeat him with God’s written word, then so does a follower of Christ. Jesus is the example for those who follow Him.
I have concluded that less of God’s Word daily is not enough to sustain my spirit. Just recently I have been caught up in doing so much ministry work, coupled with lack of meditation, that I have had less prayer time, which has left me feeling empty inside. A steady diet of world events, family issues, and/or much ministry can clog the drain of the Holy Spirit. This is where I have found myself. Prayer and the deposit of God’s Word can breathe life to a dry spirit.
Whitney, Donald S. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Colorado Springs: NavPress,1994.