Return to the Source
In our previous few blog posts, we shared about different resources that are available to us today, mainly podcasts. We also wrote on the importance of not listening too much and so forgetting to prioritize regular Bible reading. There is a real and daily need to return constantly to the Word of God, our source for life. Brother Spurgeon was known for saying, "Visit many good books, but live in the Bible."
In our last post, Don't Listen Too Much!, we tried to remind everyone of this critical value. We pointed out that thanks to modern technology we now have numerous servants in our pocket, on our phones, and these servants are at our disposal. These servants are called apps. They can actually read the Bible to us as if we had paid somebody to stand next to us and read out loud. Wonderful blessings!
Today we want to remind everyone of another overlooked part of the Christian life. To make time to be quiet and pray while contemplating the Word and how the Lord would have us apply it in our daily living. There's a time for learning and listening. There’s a time for returning and staying in the Word (ad fontes), listening primarily to the Word. As Christians, however, we must never forget to also be intentional in our relationship with God through prayer.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” - John 6:68-69
Probably one of the biggest challenges for Christians today in our culture is to apply the things we learn, both from the Word directly and from our experiences. It’s too easy, and too often we gather and gather lots of information and knowledge, but we fail to spend any time considering exactly how we should apply that in tangible ways. College students today are plagued with the problem of constantly learning, cramming, passing exams, while never actually learning and taking the knowledge gained to heart. It's for this reason, sadly, that we have, dare I say, educated fools in abundance...
It’s true for all of us today that many things call for our attention and commitment. I appreciate a book written by John piper titled, "Brothers, We Are Not Professionals". There’s one chapter of this book that talks about prayer as a critical work of gospel ministers. (Such a good read!) Too often the gospel minister of today is pulled in so many directions and the primary task of prayer and the Word get sidelined. We on the mission field know what this is like too. Our workload is always more than ordinary men can handle, especially when we are living and serving in unreached areas like Italy which is 99% unreached and less than 1% evangelical. We also have limited resources and missionaries to do the job of reaching the masses that are perishing in their sins. We must balance the hard work of laboring (spending ourselves) to proclaim the Gospel, evangelize the lost, make disciples, and plant Biblical churches while also daily living at the source - in the Word and in ongoing intentional prayer.
Typically, the theological term "ad fontes", refers to the need to return to the well, the Word. I would argue that to return to the source also means to return to a purposeful and meaningful consistency in prayer. Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh (John 1). Time in the Word is time with God, yet Jesus Himself taught us the value of regular times of prayer in solitude. He often arose early or stayed up late to meet with His Father in quiet prayer. We can be sure as we commit to intentional prayer and we break away from the countless distractions (news reports these days), that though the Word may not be physically in our hand as we get alone to pray, it is in our heart, provided that we are also regularly abiding in His Word and it is abiding in us. While we still ourselves in quiet prayer, the Spirit is pleased to bring His Word to our minds that we may learn to commit ourselves to the right application of God's Word in our daily lives and situations.
but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” - Luke 24:29.
May God help us to always return to the source (ad fontes), the fountain of life, which is his Word. May we dwell there and commit ourselves afresh to return to Him also in quality times of consistent and purposeful prayer. May He be pleased to keep us filled with His Spirit and bearing fruit for Him in all our endeavors. Amen
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. - Col. 4:2