July 23, 2019

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord...

I'll bet most of you can repeat the rest of this nighttime prayer. Unfortunately this is as far as a lot of folks get in their prayer time. There are probably as many reasons for not praying as there are people who need to pray.

For some, prayer is foreign to them because they don't have a belief in God. For others, they believe in a God, but they do not believe their God cares enough for them to want to hear for them. Some think God can not possibly hear all the prayers of all the people on earth, there are just to many of us. Or perhaps they feel God is working on other situations much more important than yours. Maybe, they are like me, I just didn't know how to pray! I’ve been around men who gave long inspirational prayers; they covered all the bases, invoked the name of Jesus and God in the same prayer. When they finished, you wanted to give them a standing ovation. But for me, these prayers were validation I didn't know how to pray. I did not want to offend God with my awkward prayer. So I didn't pray.

Over the years, I have learned a few things about prayer. My prayer life has improved steadily. My relationship with God has improved. I feel better about talking to God. There are two passages in the scriptures which have been instrumental in improving my prayer life.

July 16, 2019

The Golden Verse of the Bible

I think it is safe to say, in our modern culture we demand brevity. We don"t like long books; baseball games are too long; we criticize our preachers if they preach over thirty minutes. We don't like long winded speakers or sales presentations or negotiations. The head of a company to whom I was making a presentation say, "Stop, tell me in ten words or less, 'What is your point?'"

The task of reading the Bible through requires a great deal of patience particularly when you get to books like Leviticus and Deuteronomy with all those laws and rules. Half way through you want to plead with God, "What's the point? Can you tell me in as few words as possible?"

Brevity has another benefit, perhaps it's most beneficial. Once in our history, people, having few books, committed things to memory; family linage, historical events, important documents, anything worthy of remembering. With the advent of the printing press, these things could be written and copied and recorded and saved. There was not need for memorization. Frankly, our attention span grew shorted. We no longer memorized long passages; brevity became the key to memorization.

So, you ask, what does all this have to do with the title of this article? In God's infinite wisdom, the problem is solved by the inclusion of a single verse in the Bible which is short and to the point and is easy to memorize.  That verse I call the Golden Verse of the Bible. It is in John 3:16.

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