What fruitful habits do you have for spending time with God? Are there personal patterns in your relationship with Him through prayer, Bible study or other means? Note that I write “fruitful” instead of “enjoyable” because although we’d like to enjoy every moment with God, as our Father He sometimes has to tell us things we won’t like immediately. As Jesus said in John 15:2 – “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
One example of a fruitful habit for me has been to study more than one book of the Bible at a time. What do I mean by this? For example, I currently have a goal to read 1-2 chapters each of the Psalms and the Pentateuch daily, along with study Bible notes. The idea came from a recent sermon, where the 5 books of Psalms were described as similar in theme to the 5 books of the Pentateuch. Shortly after, I read that: “Just as Genesis tells how mankind was created, fell into sin, and was then promised redemption, many of these psalms [book 1, or Psalms 1-41] discuss humans as blessed, fallen, and redeemed by God.” With a little work, I was able to map out a schedule lining up the Psalm readings with the other readings and I’m trying to follow it. Reading different parts together can help make connections I wouldn’t otherwise. One connection recently led me to post about frustration with my cat and how it relates to Noah and the ark.
At other times, I’ve been reading a Gospel along with the Psalms, or one of the prophets because changing the pattern over time helps reveal unexpected context or connections. I wouldn’t talk to a friend the same way over and over again, so why do it with God? Years ago, when reading Psalm 46:10 and Matthew 21:15-16 on the same day led to a stark reminder that God is worthy of, and will receive, all praise. These are those verses that nailed the point home:
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
“But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,
“‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies
you have prepared praise’?”
I know I can’t require God to speak to me in a certain way, but these occasional “accidents” from different parts of Scripture have reinforced each other in ways I might have never seen or might even have resisted. Sometimes, we might prefer to keep certain truths away from certain parts of our lives, but when we make time to be quiet, listen and allow different parts of God’s word to collide in ways we didn’t expect, we may uncover an encouragement or a challenge that bears fruit.
What creative and fruitful habits do you have for spending time with God?
 The first five books of the Bible, sometimes called the books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy)
 Life Application Study Bible, introduction to the Psalms.