We started a new series at church last Sunday evening taking us through the Bible story genre by genre and equipping church members to 'read the Bible for all its worth' (to borrow a well known title). I think it's going to be good - not our idea, by the way, but borrowed with thanks from David Cook, with us on his latest trip. As part of the evening service we read out a slightly modernised version of a prayer from the Valley of Vision. At the risk of sounding like a cracked record, I do like that book! Here's the prayer. Good for every minister. Good for every Christian.
O God of truth, I thank you for the holy Scriptures, their precepts, promises, directions, light. In them may I learn more of Christ, be enabled to retain his truth and have grace to follow it.
Help me to lift up the gates of my soul that he may come in and show me himself when I search the Scriptures, for I have no lines to fathom its depths, no wings to soar to its heights.
By his aid may I be enabled to explore all its truths, love them with all my heart, embrace them with all my power, engraft them into my life.
Bless to my soul all grains of truth garnered from your Word; may they take deep root, be refreshed by heavenly dew, be ripened by heavenly rays, be harvested to my joy and your praise.
Help me to gain profit by what I read, as treasure beyond all treasure, a fountain which can replenish my dry heart, its waters flowing through me as a ever-flowing river drawn on by your Holy Spirit.
Enable me to distil from its pages faithful prayer that grasps the arm of your omnipotence, achieves wonders, obtains blessings, and draws down streams of mercy.
From it show me how my words have often been unfaithful to you, harmful to my fellow-men, empty of grace, full of folly, dishonouring to my calling. Then write your own words upon my heart and inscribe them on my lips; So shall all glory be to you in my reading of your Word!