So January rolled around, and then February rolled around, and I still have not managed to get back into those two. Reading the Prayer Guide has become even more challenging as our Sunday School class has abandoned (which seems like such a strong word, but I'll let it go for now) that and opted instead to work on our chronological reading of the Bible. I suppose that is one good thing to come of this - I've been doing that reading every day. Thus far we've covered Genesis, Job, and Exodus, and we are working through Leviticus.
I also picked up a copy of Dallas Willard's The Spirit of the Disciplines. But I have not been able to get into it yet as I can tell it is a book that will take some real concentration. Which in turn means I'll need some peace and quiet. And with three kids, a dog, and my wife, that is hard to come by. Which brings me back to the whole point of this entry.
In the use of discipline entry, I had written about how my pastor pointed us to Genesis 3:8 as evidence that God walks the earth in the cool of the morning. So, that would be an appropriate time for us to spend time in prayer and study. A couple Sundays ago one of our readings came from Mark and I noted in particular, Mark 1:35, where it is written about Jesus -
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
That sounds very similar - Jesus was up so early it was still dark - the cool of the morning. He found a desolate place which would be quiet and peaceful. And it was in that time and place that he prayed. As we continue to learn, part of our role as Christians is to try to model our lives after Jesus (we can never do it completely, but it is the goal we strive for). So this passage seems to be a pretty good example of at least one of the ways in which Jesus went about his prayers. And consistent with what we learned about in Genesis 3:8.
Speaking of consistency, I experienced another example of this a couple nights ago. As mentioned earlier, we are currently reading Leviticus. Thus far, it is covering all types of sacrifices the Isrealites were commanded to perform after having been delivered out of Egypt. Quite bloody reading. On some unrelated subject, my wife had made a comment to me about us not having to follow the OT law anymore due to the "new" law as shown to us by Jesus. True, I acknowledged, but I noted that we had also just read this past week in Mark 1:44 (where Jesus has healed a leper):
and said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them."
So in the middle of this passage about a miraculous healing performed by Jesus, he is referring back to the very sacrifices that we are reading about in Leviticus right now.
I suppose that is one benefit I am finding from all of the reading and studying I have been doing over the past 4-5 months (even if in a somewhat chaotic, sporadic fashion) - I seem to be able to spot some of these connections between the OT and the NT. I certainly would not have made either of these connections even a couple years ago. I know I still have a lifetime of learning to do and hopefully I'll get to some reasonable understanding of God's word. But at least I've maybe made this one little step.