How to read the Holy Bible In a simple and practical way (30)
By: House of God’s Love
Book name: Book series of Principles of Spiritual Life
How to read the Holy Bible
In a simple and practical way
By: Servants of God’s Love Hostel
* We hope in Christ that this series would reach the hands of every Christian youth.
* You could share this hope by giving it to your friends and loved ones.
This is a practical scheme to growth and progression in spiritual life. To completely benefit from it you have to read it in its correct sequence as well as to apply its simple principles in your life in a regular and cumulative sequence. We learn the alphabet to be able to write words and make sentences out of these words. Accumulated steps in spiritual life are important to continue and be fruitful.
This part is a simple method for hearing the voice of God from the Holy Bible. We talk to God through our dialogue with Him and He responds through His words. Many people wonder about how to hear the voice of God.
We hear His voice by listening to His words and understanding them, otherwise we will continue to be strangers to God, He speaks and we are totally lost and estranged to his words of love. These are simple and practical steps to hear and understand the voice of God. Always remember that “only starting is not enough”
May God help us to continue in spiritual growth and distinguish His beautiful voice with the help of our Virgin mother and the prayers of our blessed Pope Tawadross II
On my usual way to see my father, I saw a mouse jumping in front of me. I got scared for a moment and then continued to walk quickly then I met my father, I told him the story of the mouse and smiled.
He asked: why are you smiling?
I answered: I have a strange question
He asked: what is it, son?
I said: what is the difference between me and the mouse?
He said: in your opinion, what do you think the difference is?
I thought for a while and then
I said: I think it is the mind father
He said: but the mouse thinks too. When he saw you walking quickly, he ran away, and if you put him in a closed room, he looks for a window to escape, smiling,
He said: some people have greater minds and some others have small minds (as they say) but there is a substantial difference between man and the mouse, son.
I said: what is it, father
He said: the Spirit, the mouse consists of body and soul only, while man has body, spirit and soul when the mouse dies its life ends. There is no life after death for the mouse or judgment for its deeds while man’s spirit is eternal and as the body needs nutrition, so does the spirit. Who ever cares only for the body and not the spirit, his spirit weakens, and may die similar to mice.
I said: how does the spirit feed, father?
He said: the body needs food to develop, like bread, rice and meat, while the spirit feeds on the word of God. This is why Jesus Christ said “man lives not only by bread, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
Bread only feeds the body, while the spirit needs the word of God to develop. He who neglects feeding the spirit with the word of God, weakens it, and becomes liable to spiritual sickness and his immunity against evil and sin becomes weak.
I said: tell me father about an easy way to continue to read the bible, to avoid being like mice.
He said: I’ll tell you about three things for good nutrition of God’s words to grow spiritually and be strong in front of sin and conquer the devil’s thoughts. God’s word is your weapon and the source of your strength before worldly lusts and temptations. Without these weapons, you will be like a toy in the hands of the devil, whereby he can drop you whenever he wishes and tie you to the rope of lust and sin.
I said: now I know why I was always weak before thoughts concerning worldly desires and sins and used to often fall, as I was delinquent in reading the holy bible.
He said: There are three basics to profit from reading the bible:
I said: what are they, father?
He said: first
Read at a fixed and limited time
I said: what does fixed and limited time mean?
He said: by nature, human beings tend to forget and the devil concentrates on certain matters in our nature to negatively use. We will talk later, about forgetting, in detail but to avoid forgetting to read the bible you have to read it at a fixed time .i.e. designate the most appropriate time for you and read the Holy Bible. This time varies from one person to another. Someone finds it suitable before going to school or work, if he wakes up early, another can hardly wake up on time to go to work or attend his lectures and this time would not be suitable for him. Someone prefers to read the bible before going to bed, they may be still alert while another may be very exhausted before going to sleep. For some the appropriate time may be before eating or before starting to study.
Choose the most appropriate time and stick to it strongly. You must be very firm about this fixed time, and pray to God to help you in this. You either do your best or you will die out of hunger and fall out of weakens facing the devil and worldly lusts.
When you make effort in this point, by time, it becomes a habit that you don’t leave, sleep or study before reading the Holy Bible. So do your best at the beginning and make effort until you get used afterwards, it will be easy for you. Psychologists and sociologists advise you to perform the same thing at the same time, in the same place
and same manner for 21days, it becomes a second nature in you that you would not easily forget.
I said: why 21 days?
He said: because the brain gets programmed to this and it becomes a natural behavior. For example, some one who is used to shutting the light every time he leaves the room, will keep on doing this even if some one is in the room. Same thing with someone who is used to click on “no.1” in the elevator, he will unconsciously click “1”even if there is some body else in the elevator who also clicked “1”
I smiled and said: father, you remind me of my youth, we had a friend in the college hostel, sharing our room, who was used to sit on the chair whenever he entered the room, before even greeting any of us. Once one of our friends poured water on the chair and when our friend arrived he sat directly on the chair, without noticing the water.
He said: a wise man once said we develop our habits and then our habits rule us.
I said: these words sound wise, but what do they mean?
He said: one makes an effort to fix a regular timing for prayers or bible reading. This maybe without enough concentration or feelings at first, but, by time, it becomes a natural behavior in his life that requires no effort, as he gets used to it and it becomes a blessing in his life. On the other hand, when some one gets used to negative behavior, like trying to smoke even if he is not willing to continue doing this but because he did not make an effort to quit from the beginning, it becomes a habit for him and he finds difficulty getting rid of this habit. Also, spending a lot of time on face book, becomes an addiction and one may not have time to nourish the spirit and may eventually die spiritually and become like the …..the same with pornography and evil habits all start as an experience then a habit the it becomes one’s nature and then a bondage.
I said: O My God! I never realized how serious can habits and getting used to different actions can be. But is it possible to get rid of evil habits that are time consuming?
He said : with Jesus grace, we can, my son, we will discus this later when we talk about how we can free our selves from sinful habits. However, for the time being do your best to fix a regular time for reading the Holy Bible, and be sure that by time everything will be a normal routine in your life.
Do your best to get used to what builds you up instead of instead of indulging and getting used to what destruct and obsess you.
I said: what does limited time mean father?
He said: limited time means any limited number of pages that you read on daily basis. Start by a few pages and continue, rather than starting with a large number of pages and then the stopping. As they say “the sustainable less is better than the discontinued more” start by reading one chapter or part of a chapter or even a verse every day, better than not reading at all .
In general, be careful of spiritual leaps in spiritual life.
I said: what are spiritual leaps, father?
He said: when you first start leading a spiritual life the devil makes you take quick steps, on the road and makes you reach a peak that you cannot cope with, and eventually fall and suffer from frustration and despair.
When the person begins to lead a spiritual life, the devil might push him to pray all the seven prayers and, in each prayer read all the psalms and make several prostrations which may exhaust him and make him feel unable to continue hence frustrated and despaired.
He might also make him cry while praying and stay up all night and consequently feel exhausted and sleep for several days often such a sleepless night. Every time this person tries to pray, the devil may tell him: prayer means tears, emotions and feelings of prayer, and that, without all these it is not prayer! Thus this person remains misled, and whenever he wishes to pray, the devil tells him so. When this person finds out that he is getting to be very far from God and stops praying for weeks he may also say I should pray in any way better than not praying at all. the devil may tell Ok let’s pray, man, and draws him back to tears, emotions and feelings and says: didn’t I tell you that prayers mean these things and that’s enough, and may let him continue for weeks or months until he tries once more. The
same thing with the Holy Bible.
I said: How father?
He said: the devil may let you read several bible chapters, 30 or 50, sometimes whole books, per day and then asks you to rest for 30 or 40 days, with an average of one chapter a day.
At Easter time after the long fasting, in upper Egypt, a family slaughtered a lamb for Easter, the younger brother said : I’ll take my share of the lamb and eat it, they told him take whatever you want, he said : I want a quarter of the lamb and will eat it all at once, we have just ended the fasting. They told him: it’s in the refrigerator and whenever you want to eat, eat as much as you wish. Within 2 days he had actually eaten the quarter of the lamb, grilled and boiled, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. After 3 days, his friends saw him, he was exhausted and unable to play football. They asked him: why do you look so exhausted?
May be you are not eating enough. He said: how should I eat?
they said: eat like human beings, and he answered: I‘ve eaten a quarter of a lamb. They asked: what do you mean?!!
He answered: this means I can depend on this for 2 or 3 weeks without eating. Here father asked: can he do this?
I said: certainly not, father, even if he eats a whole came, he cannot sustain hunger for 3 weeks or even for 3 days.
He said: this is it. The sustainable less is better than the discontinued more.
Read little by little better than not read at all.
I said: some times I don’t feel like reading, what should I do?
He said: on such days, read little, even one verse, press yourself as much as possible. As we will mention later, in the phases of prayer, there is a phase when you should force yourself to pray. Jesus said: The Kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force. This applies to reading the bible too. Sometimes I don’t feel like eating, especially when I’m sick, but I must eat, even by force, to recover.
I asked : what‘s the second step Father?
He said: the next step is:
Pray the prayer of understanding
I asked: what is the prayer of understanding Father?
He said: a simple prayer that you should say before reading, which is
“God teach me and let me understand what do You want to tell me today”.
Understanding is very important, the word “understand” was repeated more than 30 times in the New Testament. It is written that When anyone hears the word of the Kingdom, and understands it not then comes the wicked one, and catches away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the wayside (Mathew 13:19) But he that received seed into the good ground is he that hears the word and understands it which also bears fruits. (Mathew13:23). Then opened He their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures. (Luke24:45) St. Paul says to Timothy: and the Lord give you understanding in all things (2Timothy2:7) and David the prophet says: The Lord made me understand in writing by His hand upon me. (1 chronicles 28: 19)
David, the blessed, asks the Lord for understanding to achieve God’s commandments. Although he is sure that it is written in the Book of Canons, he says “I am your servant give me understanding that I may know your testimonies.” Psalms119: 125
For sure David had the natural human understanding and God’s commandments written in the Book of Canons, still he prayed to God that He teaches him the Canons perfectly. What he received by nature is not enough if God does not enlighten his understanding with daily enlightenment to understand His commandments properly
The words mentioned in the holy bible are God’s words and are a message from God to us. We, therefore, ask Him to make us understand, and grant us understanding and knowledge, and since we ask, He will sure respond to our prayers.
I said: Will I understand God’s daily message to me through the holy bible and understand what He tells me?
He said: So long as you asked, you will be given, but maybe what you read today, you will get its benefits later, you might find out that you remember some verses or benefit from some, at a certain situation, from what you have read months or years ago. Be sure that so long as you asked, He will respond. This is His pleasure to show us His word and message as written “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.” As to when you are going to use it or benefit from it?!!! This will be at the right time.
Be sure that God will not let you go empty handed, He will tell you something either through what you have read today orin the past. The closer you get to the holy bible, the more you will discover certain matters, and the doors of grace and know ledge will be opened to you, you will feel that you love the holy bible. Just be patient and you will sense this practically. The promise is obvious. (So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth, it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isaiah 55:11) God is not limited by time, what you pray for today, sure He will respond to, but you will feel His response at the appropriate time, even if it comes after many years.
One of the mafia members was specialized in bank robbery. He broke through one of the banks in Italy and went to the treasury at 5:00 pm, while they were about to close the dealings of the day. He directed his gun to the treasurer and asked him to keep quiet saying: you know what mafia means! We’ll kill, not only you but also your children and he mentioned their names and work places. The treasures was scared and terrified and could not utter a word. The robber threw a sac at him and asked him to fill it with all the money. The man did as he was told, saying to himself
“I lose myself, rather than losing my family”. The robber took the sac and told the treasurer “scream after 10 minutes, call the police and do what ever you please. If you scream before this time be aware that you will not die alone but your whole family too. The robber went outside, where a car was waiting for him. The car drove him to the railway station. He stepped down and took the international train. As soon as he entered the train the door closed and the train started moving. One of the passengers said to his colleague “shut the door.”
These words entered the robber’s hearing and did not get out and kept repeating and repeating “shut the door shut the door” he thought this was just a word, someone saying to his friend what’s the issue about it?! But he could not get rid of it. He kept thinking and thinking about where did he ever hear these words before, finally, he remembered that he had read it in the bible when he was a little child.
Oh! That was many years ago! “Jesus will come and those prepared shall enter the wedding and the door will shut. “Oh my God,” he said, “I was religious in my childhood how come I’ve changed so much? No, no, I must change. If Jesus comes now will I be in or out? No, no, I must go back”, and at the first following station, the robber got off the train and took the returning train. Before
the court, he confessed and said what they have never heard before and “the door closed” only one word that he have read in his childhood changed his whole life.
I said: what is the third step, father?
He said: The third point is
LIVE ACT AND PRAY
I said: what does this mean?
He said: the first word
This means we live the words we read. Follow the commandments we read. It should not be just words, but it should be a life we live. As our Lord Jesus said: “the words that I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life” (John 6: 63). Also the Book said “But be you doers of the word and not hearers only” (James 1:22)
Just as the obedient child follows his beloved father’s words. An obedient child follows his father’s instructions, as he trusts that his father’s words are for his good and benefit, even if this is hard for him at the beginnings, he still trusts that this is for his benefit and insists on learning, and as the time goes by, it becomes easy.
He said: when someone reads in the bible “unpleasant words should not come out of your mouths”, and he continues to say unpleasant words, then he learns nothing, he who reads the bible and does not try to apply what he reads on his daily life and also feels comfortable or does not repent, is similar to a person who eats and vomits the food he ate. Would such a person even benefit, no matter how much he eats ?
I said: certainly not. He will not gain anything. Oh! This is a very difficult example, father.
He said: true, very difficult, my son whoever reads and does not even try to apply the commandment and gives excuses for committing sins no matter how trivial, experiences a very painful situation before God. On the other hand, for him who tries and fails and tries again, God will liberate him sooner or later and will be happy for him for trying, and not betraying Him and stubbornly refusing his Father’s words or falling in despair, and having doubts that He has the power to help, assist and liberate him.
For a person to follow and live the commandment, he must first ask God to give him strength, and whenever he is fought by sin, he repeats the verse, and, if he fails he should quickly repent and remind himself that by failing, he breaks the commandment.
At first, it will be difficult for him. For example, if he is used to curse, and when he does, he starts blaming himself and repents, he will gradually get rid of this habit and by time, he will be liberated from this sin, and studying the commandments will be very easy. For example, a person who reads “love your enemies bless those who curse you”, and bears in his heart a lot of animosity, hatred, a non-forgiving attitude or dislike or un acceptance for someone who was unfair to him or caused him to sin. When he reads the verse and starts to live it, he will feel uncomfortable towards hating this person but he can’t forgive him, he can then ask Christ to help him follow the commandment and live it. Whenever he gets the feelings of un forgiveness or hatred he remembers that the Book says “love your enemies and bless those who curse you” As time goes by these feelings start to fade until the time comes and they vanish and are replaced with love.
I said: Is it as simple as that father?
He said: certainly, it will not be easy at first, but the more serious you are and the more you do not despair or be doubtful, no matter what happens, the more sure you are to reach your goal. Consequently, the commandment becomes easy. Be sure that the power of the commandment is in applying it! As Anba Makarious says:
The power of the commandment is in itself
Any person cannot apply the verse, by his own power only, but if he deeply desires to do so, then God will give him the power.
I said: what does this mean?
He said: when our Lord Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil, He did not use except the commandments to face him. Whenever the devil tempted Him He would say: it is written Likewise, when you read the bible and find a commandment that you need to apply, learn it by heart, whenever the devil tempts you say “it is written” and repeat this commandment over and over again.
God will not permit our being tempted beyond our abilities to face the temptation. If we fall we must get up and repent and fight using the word of God, “for the word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword”(Hebrews 4:12) and is named by Paul the apostle “The sword of the Spirit.”(Ephesians 6:17)
Sin is an illness that we can recover from using the word of God. For every illness there is a time for recovery. Let’s be patient and persistent while we read the word of God which is the treatment until we recover.
Let’s continue reading the word of God and use it in our war until we win and get liberated.
I said: this applies to how we live. What about acting?
He said: the word “live” means to live the word of God i.e. to live it in your life, while the word “act” to take a part in the part you are reading from the word of God and insert yourself in the story you are reading.
I said : I need more clarification, father.
He said: did you see father Andrawess the Samuely and did he acted all the stories of the Holy Bible?
I said: yes, he used to act the Bible characters.
He said: you, too, choose the appropriate character in what you read and act accordingly.
For example, zaccheus story, imagine yourself as zaccheus and that you climbed a tree and the Lord Jesus passes under the tree and looks at you and asks you to: come down, “You so and so” today, I will go with you to your home. Imagine Jesus with you in your room and asking you what do you want. Start talking to Him about all your needs and how much you are happy to be with Him and about your desire that He liberates you from all your weaknesses as he liberated zaccheus, to bless you and pray for any of your relatives or friends, and ask Him to save your home and family similar to the salvation of zaccheus ‘ home and family, and so on continue talking to Jesus who is sitting with you in your room, Talk to Him with an open heart.
Now , take a minute or tow and imagine that I am not here and that Jesus came close to you and asked you “what would you like me to do for you? Talk to me love?
I said: Shall I start now.
He said: now start to talk to Him silently, and start a dialogue with Him.
(Father left me for two minutes to talk to Jesus about my worries and needs and these were the happiest moments of my life).
(I advise you, dear reader, to leave this booklet and imagine that Jesus is beside you and try this process of acting. Talk to Him openly, ask Him to liberate you as he liberated zaccheus).
After the two minutes,
I said: this is wonderful, father. This enables me to live the bible and feel it, not just read it. If possible please father, give me another example of acting, that I may learn more.
He said: certainly, son truly, if every day you act one of the characters in the holy bible, the Book becomes your life, it becomes a daily happy life.
Once I talked to some one about this, and he said that every day he waits for the bible time to see what character he will act, and what will he ask Jesus for
ANOTHER EXAMPLE my son, is the blind man who was sitting at the gate of Jericho, who was calling on Jesus to heal him . Imagine yourself in his place and screaming to Jesus and people reproaching you (scream silently, of course to avoid disturbing your neighbors) and Jesus calls you by name and asks you to come and tell him what you want. Tell Him
“Dear God, I have eyes and I can see, but I need spiritual vision, I wish to know what you want my life to be and act accordingly.”
I wish to have simple and pure eyes as created by you instead of evil and sin that blind them, and make me see only evil and sin, I don’t see in others except lust or condemnation. Give me pure vision, dear Jesus. Don’t allow evil to blind and stain me. Place your hand, Jesus, on my eyes that they may be pure and belong to you, deer God. I tried and failed but,
a touch by you may purify me. As you gave vision to the blind man, give me clear and pure vision, dear Jesus.
Also Another Example is lazaru Lazurus who died and was rotten. imagine yourself in in the in the grave and it is full of darkness and all your body eaten by full of worms, but spiritual worms, sins and evil and worldly and worldly lusts in you and Jesus standing before you. Tell Him: Lord I stink due to my many sins and evil doing. Tell Him, my numerous sins and evil doing have rendered me rotten and I cannot stand my bad smell. I, myself hate to open these wounds, and try to forget or add fragrance to them to these wounds outwardly, but internally they produce a stinky smell. Those sins which I know about and You also know about, which may not be seen by men, made a hypocrite out of me. I hate my self and try to avoid facing them. I can see failure and impurity within me. The past sins of my childhood, youthful arrogance and un forgiveness follow me. Despair due to my many tumbles, almost caused me to give up, but, now, I surrender in Your arms, and as, in one word, You called
On Lazarus and he came out of his grave and was risen from the dead, and his rotten smell was transformed to life and vitality, now call on me Lord, call on me and say come out of your old evil nature, sin and impurity, and from un forgiveness and hatred.
Say a word, Lord, as you did in the past. Now say one word, only one word from You, Lord can raise the whole world. Tell me one word, Lord and give me life. I am Your son. Don’t leave me to dead, stinky and unclean. Maybe I don’t have faith, help my lack of faith. I will not leave You Lord until You say a word that I can live with. To whom can I go Lord? I will go to you only. You are the resurrection and the life. I am Your son, no matter what happens. I am counted on You. I will keep on knocking on Your door, looking up to You, Lord , until you raise me up. You must do that because You are my Father and you love me.
Likewise, son , there are many examples that you can act, like the Canaanite woman, Peter’s denial and many other examples and Jesus’ parables, like the sawyer and the lost sheep. You can
find your role in all these stories. The bible, thereby becomes, not only a book to read, but a book of life.
Frankly speaking, if we just read the book as a book of historical stories, at first we will be happy with it, reading it another time, it will be just stories, then the third time it will be a boring book.
It is a personal book (my Holy Bible). Take from it the daily message of your life and this will give a meaning to your life and you will feel the presence of God in your life every day.
I said: but the bible is not only stories father. How can I act the Epistles of Paul the apostle? How can I act also many parts of the old testament how? He said: this is the last point. Now we got to know how to live and act. The last point is to
In the parts that do not contain stories you will find promises, use these promises to pray, hold them tight, Consider them given to you. They were not given to Abram, Moses, or Isaiah only but they are for us also, to all believers.
The book says “The promise is given to you and to your children and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (The Acts 2:39)
If these promises were only given to the apostles and the prophets, what would anyone who reads them get except a broken heart and remorse.
We would have said “They had promises at those good old days and God were by their side”
Use those promises in your prayers, and that’s how the bible will be transformed to prayers for you and this is the most important issue about reading the bible: to be transformed to prayer.
I said: Give me an example too, father.
He said: In “Isaiah 43:1” “Fear not for I have redeemed you I have called you by the name you are mine” This promise was given, not only to Isaiah, but to anybody who believes in the Holy Bible, so pray using this verse and tell Him” Lord don’t let me fear anything, remove all fear of the future from me, fear from the unknown, and fear from the devil.
Keep my heart comforted help me to feel that my future is secured with you and that you will protect me from the devil. help me to trust that You will save me and grant me trust in Your salvation.
Let me have faith in Your forgiveness. Let me have faith that I am known to You by name, and not considered one of other billions of people. That You specially care for me even if there is no other person in this, no friends, relatives or servants, but You know me by name Lord. You know me personally and by name as You promised. Let me have this faith Lord and accept it and believe in it. This will give me satisfaction, joy and contentment more than if all the presidents and kings of the world know me. Assure me Lord that I am Yours, I am Your follower and I am Thine. The devil with all his power can’t hurt me. All the troubles and difficulties of the world can’t conquer me because I belong to You. Let me accept and believe that I am Yours, You are my father and you care for me and will never leave me. Also Lord let me live for You and not for the world. Let all my thought be in You Lord. All my acts and all my words for You Lord. Don’ let the world and the lusts of the world have any part in me. Am I not for You Lord, aren’t those Your own words Jesus? You told me that I am Yours. I accept those words and if I don’t please let me accept them and actually continue Lord to let me be Yours and not belong to the world. Why do you allow the world to get inside me? Why Lord
Why do you allow worldly lusts and sins to humiliate me, instead of being you’re your slave and Your belonging I become a slave to lusts and sins. Come and dedicate all my life and all my senses and sanctify me completely to You Jesus because I am Yours You said “you are mine.”
I said: beautiful deep words, father and lovely prayers but what if I don’t find any promises, what can I do?
He said: even normal talk, we can transform to prayers, for example, in St. Paul, the apostle’s epistles, he always starts by “Paul, slave of Jesus Christ you may pray, saying ” true, Lord, Paul was Your slave and he sincerely lived for You and gave You his life. I want Lord to be Your slave, Lord from all my heart I want to serve You and live for You God. Liberate me from all slavery to evil and sin from ego and selfishness from grudge and hatred. You liberated me Lord on the cross and You paid for me a very high price which was Your blood but willingly I sold myself once more to evil and sin when I
accepted evil and sin inside me. Come o Lord and renew my liberation renew me from evil and sin let me come back to Your bosom once more You don’t want the death of the sinner, You came
I said: all this in the word “slave”?
He said: yes son, we can pray a lot with the bible, just start. Start even with one sentence to pray with, and bit by bit you will find out that each word will take from you, prayers and prayers depths and depths!
So that you do not forget, when you read the bible:
First: read it in a fixed and limited time
Second: pray the prayer of understanding “Lord teach me and let me understand what would you like to tell me today.”
Third: live act and pray.
He said: Now what remains for us is the Map of our Spiritual Life (the copy book)
I said: and what is Map of our Spiritual Life (the copy book)
He said: Anyone who spoke to Father Bishoy Kamel, he used to advise him to follow two exercises the first is the picture of the crucified Christ and this we discussed in sanctifying the conscience and dreams.
I said: yes father and I perceived its benefits myself as it has a marvelous effect on sanctifying the mind and defending against evil thoughts but what is the second exercise father?
He said; The second exercise is the copybook that is you make a daily copybook for your spiritual life. You write in it one verse each day and your meditation or prayer as the one you prayed now when you acted the role of Zacchaus and then you write three things
I said: what are they?
He said: First, an important event that happened during the day, and, if no important event happened, say, I went to college (work) and returned, at that God responded to my prayer concerning a certain matter.
Second : spiritual struggle, i.e. write: “Lord protect me from evil thoughts, evil habits, worry, arrogance, anger or any war that faces you write it down and ask God to save you.
Filling with the Holy Spirit
Third: write a request. There are three kinds:
First: spiritual request, such as, being filled with the Holy Spirit, love, purity, modesty, faith, wisdom and sanctity. It can be distributed over the week each day a special request that you keep on asking for all the day partially (this will help you to activate your partial prayers.
i.e. Sunday to be filled with the Holy
Spirit, Monday love, Tuesday prayer, Wednesday modesty, Thursday faith, Friday wisdom and Saturday sanctity and purity.
Then a materialistic request, such as asking God to be with you in your exams, your work, your future or solve a particular problem.
I said: can I ask God for materialistic matters? didn’t he say “ask first for the Kingdom of heaven”.
He said: when someone needs anything does he ask his father or his neighbor?
I said: of course his father.
He said: God said “ask for the Kingdom of heaven first”, but not only for the Kingdom of heaven. God is your Father. Ask for whatever you may wish from him, even the smallest details of your life. He likes this.
Be with God as a little child with his loving father
Expect from Him something good every day. Tell Him what’s the good thing of today, God? Expect this from your heavenly Father so that you can gather, be joyful and thankful and this will get you closer and closer to God, your life and companionship with Him will continue to develop.
The Lord Jesus challenges us in (John: 16: 24)”Hitherto, have you asked nothing in my name: ask and you shall receive that your joy may be full.”
I said: what’s the third kind of request, father?
He said: requests for others.
I said: can I, the weak and sinful ask for others?
He said: God listens to our prayers for others, not for our sanctity or our level of spirituality, but for his compassion and mercy.
For, when he sees someone praying for others he says: “the weak and helpless man loves his brother and prays for him” God is happy for this and responds for your love of this person so, pray for anyone you love, even if he doesn’t ask you to pray for him.
Remember that God responded to your prayer, not for your sanctity, but for your love of that person. He is the God of love and mercy.
I said: this is new information to me, father. It shows me the value and meaning of prayer and this encourages me to pray for my family and friends and all the people I know and love. Also, by doing this, I make use of my idle time instead of wasting it for nothing.
He said: pray, son, because God said: Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel and his Maker, Ask me for things to come concerning my sons , and concerning the work of my hands command ye me” (Isaiah 45:11)
I said: It’s obvious that it’s a long process, but a pleasant one, father
He said : remember that the Copybook, is writing a verse every day, then meditating and praying, then an important event, spiritual fight and then a request (spiritual, materialistic and for others).
You have to know, son that the copybook is one of the most difficult spiritual exercises, and that not many people can be committed to it , but it is a very powerful exercise and those who apply it for some time can appreciate its value.
It becomes a chapter of love between you and God it would be the storage of your spiritual life, that may assist you in times of spiritual tepidity and dryness.
Son, pray for the grace of Christ and start with all your might. If you follow this for some time and then slow down, go back and you will feel its good effect by time. Now I leave you and we will continue some other time. You must know that starting is not sufficient. What’s more important is continuing. Don’t forget the collection of good morning, angles control and partial praying.
If this series blesses your life we ask you to pray for the completion of the remaining sections.
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