This document reflects commonly held beliefs based on scripture which have been endorsed by the church's Commission on Doctrinal Purity and the Executive Presbytery.
Why does the Assemblies of God believe it is necessary for Christians to study the Bible and keep personal prayer times on a regular daily basis?
Personal Bible reading and prayer are considered indispensable to the growth and development of the follower of Jesus Christ. The fostering of one’s spirit is considered mandatory for all born-again believers. The task cannot be relegated to the clergy nor fulfilled functionally through the corporate life of the church. Every heart is to be an altar unto the Lord. And prayer and Bible study are to be its sacrifice and fire.
Jesus equated error with an ignorance of Scripture (Matthew 22:29). The early disciples marveled as Jesus expounded to them the Word (Luke 24:32). Paul understood the Scriptures as the embodiment of prophetic revelation (Romans 16:25,26). James sees in Scripture the key to proper social behavior (James 2:8,9). The Lord Jesus retreated often to places of solitude to pray (Mark 1:35; 6:46; Luke 5:16; 6:12; 22:41,42). The pattern of personal Scripture study and prayer was established by Christ himself. As followers of Jesus we are to do no less.
The prophet Amos saw a tragic day in which the Word of God would be neglected: "I will send a famine through the land–not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord" (Amos 8:11). We are in just that place. For many, the Bible is read only occasionally. Prayer is often limited to routine functions. Dust gathers on Bibles. And the prayer closet remains empty.
As the body is nourished by regular eating and drinking, so the soul must be nourished by regular Bible reading and prayer. For those who struggle with a personal devotional life the church recommends: 1) Use a Bible-reading guide to chart reading day by day. 2) Follow or precede your Bible reading with prayer. 3) Discover the joy of meditating on God’s Word and listening for His voice. 4) Use prayer request lists and write your thoughts in a journal. 5) Include devotional classics as a source of inspiration. 6) Have world maps available for global intercession.
Spiritual growth requires intentionality. To depend on momentary inspiration and incidental times with God are inadequate. Spiritual maturity requires more. But the rewards are great and many.
The above statement is based upon our common understanding of scriptural teaching.
All Scripture quotations are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise specified.