The two primary spiritual disciplines for spiritual growth are Bible reading and prayer. Many Christians practice these disciplines but separate them. We read the Bible, put the reading away, and then pray. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this. But I suggest spiritually connecting the Bible and prayer. Below is an example of this from Scotty Smithy from Colossians 3:12-14.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved…” (Col. 3:12) “Dear Lord Jesus, thank you that this is my truest, most life-defining, heart-encouraging, life-transforming identity: I am chosen by God, set apart, and dearly loved. All of this is true because of what you’ve done for us by your life, death, and resurrection. The gospel is true, and I am in you, Jesus. Hallelujah!”

“… clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (Col. 3:12) “Therefore, as I think about my relationships, by faith, I reach into the closet of the gospel and reach for these garments of grace—all of which we have in you, Jesus. Grant me your compassion and kindness, for hurting people, broken people, and perpetual offenders. I’m not called to fix anyone, but to love everyone as you love us. Grant me your humility and gentleness, Jesus, lest I default to my critical and rigid ways. I repent of quick and harsh reactions. Increase my patience, with trying people and “inconvenient” circumstances—as I see with your eyes, and seek to extend your grace, Lord.”

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Col. 3:13) Jesus, this is so very convicting… indeed, supersize and gentle my forbearance (so I don’t just “put up with” people), and free me to forgive grievances (big ones and little ones). May your comprehensive and complete forgiveness for me, define and empower my forgiveness of others. Help me, Jesus! I have some difficult, complex, and ongoing forgiving to do.

“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Col. 3:14) Not playing “make-believe”, but really believing the gospel, right now, I “put on” love—your love, Jesus. You cannot love me more than you do in this moment, and you will never love me less. How can I possibly not choose to love others? Your love is compelling, and your love is enough. Love in me and through me to your glory—all this daylong. So very Amen I pray, in your merciful and mighty name.