This is the second time I have written this blog post! I spent 3 hours pulling all these resources together on the 2nd of January, but for some reason the drafts weren’t saved and I lost it all 10 minutes away from publishing! It’s taken me a few days to deal with the grief of the post disappearing and then having to write it again!! I should be okay :)
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11 NIV)
As the New Year begins, regardless of what you think about ‘New Years Resolutions’, it would be good for your soul to follow the advice of the Psalmist and “hide God’s word in your heart”.
READ THE WORD, REMEMBER THE WORD, PRAY THE WORD
Reading, remembering and praying are three ways to help hide God’s word in your heart. Below are a number of resources that will help you to do this. Many of them use mobile applications, websites and other electronic tools. I think these are great! But they won’t solve all your problems. So pray now that God would give you the desire and will to read, remember and pray his word in 2014.
- ESV READING PLANS – an excellent selection of various reading plans with multiple modes of delivery.
- WEEKLY READING PLAN – if I were to start a new reading plan it would be this one. Tim Chester describes this weekly reading plan as flexible, communal, realistic and balanced. I think he’s right! Give it a try.
- THROUGH THE BIBLE THROUGH THE YEAR – I have been doing this reading plan from John Stott since September. It’s fantastic! If you were thinking of starting it, you could pick it up from week 19 on week beginning Sunday January 5, 2014. You can read my original post explaining how #BIBLESTOTT works, and my second one describing some of the benefits.
- READ THE BIBLE IN A YEAR – This is a PDF I prepared a few years ago. You read a couple of chapters tom the Old Testament and 1 chapter of the New Testament each day. I used it for about 4 years. It’s simple and good. Print it out and stick it in the front/back of your bible.
- FOR THE LOVE OF GOD – D.A Carson’s devotional series is superb. I read this one for a number of years in my early 20s. Carson’s ability to comment on every part of scripture is a great help along the way. You can access the whole of this plan online and can have it delivered to your inbox etc.
- REAP JOURNAL – These journals from Youthworks are available in kids, youth and adult versions. This excellent video from St Paul’s Castle Hill explains how to use them. To be honest if I were to do this plan I’d rather do it in a leather journal (like this) rather than the spiral bound one available for purchase.
- SLACKERS AND SHIRKERS – I haven’t really looked at this one, but my brother has been doing it and recommends it. It includes an interactive PDF.
- EXPLORE BIBLE READING APP – my wife has used this one and found it really valuable. Good chunks of scripture with some great comments and questions from quality authors.
- MATTHIAS MEDIA READING APP – this one is free to download with an overview of the Bible in 15 readings. And then in-app purchases available for other plans. Really good looking and functioning app. Content by great Bible teachers in Sydney.
- ESV AUDIO BIBLE – This is available for free download in the month of January (if you’re reading this after January, it’s still worth downloading for $30).
- THE BIBLE APP – This app is phenomenal! It has the almost every translation of the Bible in existence. It’s been downloaded more than 100million times. It has free audio for a number of the English translations. It has comprehensive reading plans, with reminders and push notifications. There are also video devotionals – we’ve used some of the kids ones as a family.
- THE KIDS BIBLE APP – this is a new app and it’s great! It doesn’t have much of the Bible yet, but we’ve gone through all of the stories that are there and our kids loved them!
- THE BIG PICTURE STORY BIBLE – David Helm’s kids bible is excellent in showing the unfolding storyline of the Bible. I’ve just discovered an ebook version that looks great!
- THE JESUS STORYBOOK BIBLE – Sally Lloyd-Jones’ work is beautiful. Every story whispers Jesus’ name. I am currently 3/4 of the way through this one with our boys each night.
- DEVOTIONALS FOR YOUTH – good content from Youth Surge
- JESUS’ EPIC STORY – 16 part video reading plan through Mark’s Gospel. Good for teenagers and young adults.
- NEW: BIBLE GATEWAY READING PLANS – a comprehensive set of plans and the ability to subscribe via RSS or email to the different plans.
- FIGHTER VERSES – put out by Desiring God. I’ve done some of these before and I’m starting it again this year.
- TOPICAL MEMORY SYSTEM – I did many of these in my early 20s and thankful to have remembered most. They have an app for iPhone and Android.
- COLIN BUCHANAN SONGS – Two catchy albums full of memory verse songs: BAA BAA DOO BAA BAA and BOOM CHICKA BOOM. Not just great for kids!
- FOREVER GRATEFUL MUSIC – So many songs here. They look fantastic!
- Pray in response to the verses you read
- Pray in response to the verses you remember
- Don’t close your Bible when you pray, but let the priorities of the Bible shape your priorities in prayer.
- A CALL TO SPIRITUAL REFORMATION – a good book by Don Carson showing Paul’s priorities in prayer
- SUMMARY OF PAUL’S PRAYERS FROM CARSON’S BOOK – PDF (h/t Dave Rogers)
- LESSONS FROM THE SCHOOL OF PRAYER – 7 pieces of wisdom from Carson’s book.
- BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER – this classic book is making a resurgence among younger Christians. I’ve personally being encouraged by praying (and writing out) some of the prayers from this book. You can also download apps (there are others in the app store I haven’t looked at)
- PRAYER MATE – I’ve tried various prayer apps before, but there were somewhat cumbersome. I have recently started using PRAYER MATE and found it simple to use and good for working through consistent prayer points. Apps are available for iPhone and Android.
- OPERATION WORLD – this is an excellent resource to pray for the whole world.
Reading, remembering and praying are good habits of growing Christians. However, it’s worth being reminded that no-one will be saved based on how well they perform in their 2014 bible reading plan! Salvation comes through trusting in Jesus and his performance (see more here, here and here about Jesus). Our plans to read, remember and pray are in response to what Jesus has done for us on the cross. So, if you struggle to form a good habit, don’t beat yourself up into guilt-driven despair, rather stick at it and pray that God would work in you to develop the habit.
MY PERSONAL PLAN
Personally I will be continuing with #BIBLESTOTT for reading by myself and alternating between the Jesus Storybook Bible and the Big Picture Story Bible with my family. For remembering I am continuing with the #FIGHTERVERSES app and will be sharing an Instagram pic of my verse each week. For praying I am currently using, among other things, the #PRAYERMATE app. I have also positioned corresponding apps on my phone for quick access as you can see on the image above.
What are your plans for reading, remembering and praying God’s word in 2014? Feel free to share your plan and any other resources in the comments.