A Preacher With His God

Darrin Patrick » Prayer Church Planting Acts 29

Preacher series: Click | View Series Darrin Patrick is the Vice President of Acts 29 and lead pastor of The Journey. His Re:Lit book, coming in August, is called Church Planter: The Man, the Message, the Mission. You were made to preach. But before that, before preparation and delivery, you were made to relate to God. You don't have to be a monkish mystic and you don't have to be a stodgy scholar. You can be one who experiences God in his heart and loves God with his mind.

Make Your Soul Happy in the Lord

I have always struggled with prayer as a Christian. I was sharing my frustration one day with my seminary professor and spiritual disciplines guru Don Whitney. Dr. Whitney shared with me a quote for George Müller, a godly giant of the faith who also struggled with prayer. This is from an entry in George Müller's diary, dated May 7, 1841.
    I saw more clearly than ever that the first great primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord . . . not how much I might serve the Lord, . . . but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished. For I might seek to set the truth before the unconverted, I might seek to benefit believers . . . and yet, not being happy in the Lord, and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, all this might not be attended to in a right spirit. Before this time my practice had been . . . to give myself to prayer after having dressed myself in the morning. Now, I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God, and to meditation on it, that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, by means of the Word of God, whilst meditating on it, my heart might be brought into experimental communion with the Lord.
Whitney pointed out that Müller excelled in prayer only after he meditated on Scripture, that “getting his soul happy” was accomplished through meditation, which enabled communion with God through prayer. I became utterly convinced of this method and have sought to practice it ever since.

What Does It Mean to Meditate on Scripture?

The Greek word for meditate means “to attend.” To meditate is to read with attention to what the verse is saying and then seeking to understand the verse its context. The Hebrew words for meditate are hagah, which means to ponder or imagine (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2), and siyach, which means to converse with oneself, to pray (Psalm 119:15). So meditation is when we pay attention to God’s Word, understanding it in relation to its context. It involves pondering God’s Word, asking questions about the application of its truth, speaking that truth to oneself, and using God’s Word in prayer to God himself. Below is a sample meditation following these guidelines.

Sample meditation

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).
  • What does it mean that God is my Lord? What is he Lord of?
  • What does he want to shepherd me through right now?
  • What is my want?
  • God, in what ways are you providing for me that I am not even aware of?
“It is in meditation that the heart holds and appropriates the Word. . . . The intellect gathers and prepares the food upon which we are to feed. In meditation the heart takes it in and feeds on it” (Andrew Murray). Meditation is not just praying, nor is it merely reading Scripture. Meditation is prayerfully reading Scripture, taking God’s Word and turning it into a prayer to God.

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