Daily Prayer

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At many times and in various ways, I have tried to institute a daily habit of morning and evening prayer. I've met with limited and occasional success, but I'm still trying.

The benefits of this habit include consistency in prayer and daily exposure to Scripture. These are just two of the gifts—the ordinary means of grace—that God has given to his people. And we serve ourselves and those around us well by making regular use of them.

So to that end, here are a few helpful resources. First, one of the simplest and most helpful orders of daily prayer I've found is by Martin Luther in his Small Catechism. You can find it at the above link on the Book of Concord site. While the instructions are addressed to the head of household, anyone may use this form in their own private devotions just as easily. It's a simple order that requires little time, and you can add or subtract elements and prayers to suit your purposes.

Luther suggests singing a hymn. If you have a hymnal or other source of music for worship, this is a great idea—learning a hymn will help you keep the scripture on your mind all day long. If you don't have a hymnal, they are fairly inexpensive these days. There are more worship resources at Sovereign Grace Music and Indelible Grace.

Second, If you'd like to add daily bible reading, some helpful plans include:
  1. Robert Murray M'cheyne's plan (1 year)
  2. D.A. Carson, For the Love of God (1 year)
  3. The Discipleship Journal plan (1 year)
  4. The Bible in 90 Days
Crossway maintains a good selection of reading plans. This list includes one that presents the readings chronologically as well as the reading plans included with Crossway's study bibles.

Or you could design your own plan. If you read four chapters per day, you can finish the whole bible in one year, allowing five catch-up days each month. If you read fourteen chapters each day, you can read through the whole bible in just under ninety days.

Before closing this post, though, I need to point out one thing: don't follow these plans in such a way that you feel guilty if you miss a day—or even if you miss a week. This is simply a tool to remind you to pray and meditate on God's word daily. You can even do that by thinking and meditating through the week about the sermon text from last Sunday or next Sunday. Again, it's just a tool, not a test of righteousness. Remember that we do not come before God clothed in our own righteousness, but Christ's.

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