Does Reading the Bible and Praying Have Results?

On Good Friday this year, I decided that, in keeping with this somber day, I should deny myself some things on this particular day.  These are very small sacrifices, but they were something I felt I wanted to do.

My sacrifices were:

  1. No coffee and no drinks other than water
  2. No snacks
  3. Simple meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner, little to no meat.
  4. Do not  check email or go on the computer or other device whenever I feel like it.  Limit device-checking to certain intervals during the day, with at least a few hours between times.

Actually, of these, only the first 3 actually felt like sacrifices of any sort.  The fourth one gave me abundantly more useful time in my day! It turned out to be a benefit, not a sacrifice.  I'll be implementing this rule most days from now on!

The other thing I did that made Good Friday special for me (but was not a sacrifice to me) was to participate in the church's Easter Vigil.  This involved spending an hour in prayer at the church.  

The bigger picture is that at the church, there was to be a continuous vigil from 3pm Good Friday to 3pm Easter Saturday.  There will be different people praying during that time, one hour each with at least two people at a time, so that there is a continuous presence of prayer.

I signed up for the prayer slot of 4am to 5am on Easter Saturday.

I noticed that I have changed a lot in the last year or two, and that reading the Bible and praying does have results.  

Why? Because a year or two ago, if I'd signed up for Easter Vigil prayer, I would have considered this a huge sacrifice.  In contrast, now I consider it a wonderful reason to spend time with God.  

Previously, I would have done it, thinking "I hope God is really noticing how I am giving up my precious sleep to spend time in prayer!"  Now I am doing it without any feeling of any sacrifice.  It feels like a good excuse to spend time in prayer.  It's an honor to spend time with God, not a sacrifice.

What Jesus did by dying on the cross for our sins, THAT was a sacrifice.  Waking up early to spend time in prayer is not a sacrifice by any means.

So, I have changed, and in a good way. Of course there is a very long way for me to go.  I am on a long journey, as we all are.  But it was interesting for me to see from a personal perspective that reading the Bible and praying actually does have results.

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