Resources for Bible reading, prayer and growing in the love and knowledge of God in the new year.
As we approach 2023, it is a good chance to think about how we set patterns that will help us grow as disciples of Jesus. It may be something new, re-starting in an area we have had trouble keeping up, refreshing where we are feeling a bit stale, or re-evaluating patterns that are going well but could be tweaked a little.
Growing as a Christian isn’t just about our own Bible reading and praying habits (church and fellowship patterns, and ways of putting our faith into action in love of others around us are two areas that immediately spring to mind, and there are more). And yet, it is hard to grow and thrive in Christ if these areas aren’t a regular part of our lives. And at the same time, they are hard areas to keep up! So I am going to give a bunch of resources that may be helpful for you and/or your family, in the hope that one or two may help you. There are quite a few, but as I say I am just hoping that one or two may be of use to you. So ask God’s help and have look to see if any catch your eye, and go for it!
May God bless you in 2023,
Ways to access the Bible:
- YouVersion – while I prefer paper Bibles, this is great for having numerous Bible translations on your phone for free, as well as the possibility of different reading plans and prayer helps. Excellent for having audio versions of the Bible at your fingertips.
- Bible Gateway Audio – another easy way to access a lot of audio Bibles that may be very helpful.
- Biblia – another online Bible with various versions, and not many ads. Nice to look at, closer to a paper Bible, and has easy reference to resources and helps.
Bible reading plans:
- Bible Reading Chart – a simple colour coded chart. You can mark off chapters you have read, and thereby keep track of what you have read over time, making sure to take in the ‘whole council of God’. The colours also allow you to keep track of getting a good diet of different genres of Bible books. Useful whether you read half a chapter a day or many chapters a day.
- M’Cheyne Yearly Bible Reading Plan – a time tested way to read the whole Bible in a year, covering around 4 chapters per day, from different parts and genres of the Bible. This chart version from TGC is easy to print, read, and mark off, to keep track of what you have covered (print it and keep it with your Bible). If you’d rather do it on your phone, an app for keeping track of your reading with this plan is here on Android.
- TGC Bible Reading and Devotional – following the M’Cheyne plan noted above, this plan provides these chapters along with a devotional by wise and learned scholar Don Carson. Both the Bible text and the devotional are provided in both written and audio formats, all in one place each day. If you just want the devotional as a podcast (eg to use with the chart above) you can get it here (includes links to various platforms, eg Apple, Spotify).
- Bible 52 – due out from Bible Society in 2023, this covers 52 chapters of the Bible across the year, ideal especially for doing as a family with kids, with activities and simple prayers provided (a sample page is downloadable from the linked page).
- The Bible at church this year – although not exactly a Bible reading plan, here are the main books we are planning (at this stage at least) to preach through at church through most of 2023, so you can read through them and familiarise yourself with them: Psalms 1, 2, 8, 13, 15, 121 (over summer); Luke 14-19; James; 1 Samuel 1-16. Also, our main focuses in Growth Groups will probably be Ephesians and John’s Gospel.
A number of the Bible reading helps above include helps for prayer, but here are some more that are focussed on prayer in particular:
- PrayerMate – prayer app for smartphones. Keep track of and plan for things to pray for, set reminders pray for things you need to pray for or have promised to pray for. You can also subscribe to prayer updates from many different organisations.
- Paul’s prayers collected – a complete list of the Apostle Paul’s prayers in the Bible, collected together, which you can use as a basis to pray from.
- Prayers from the Book of Common Prayer – a collection of collects (prayers for use at different times of the year, connected with different parts of the Bible’s story), and prayers for various occasions – collected from the traditional Anglican prayer book, time tested over a number of centuries.
- New City Catechism – mentioned in an email to the church a while ago, this mobile app resource is free. Catechisms have been in use in the church since the very beginning – ways of summarising the key doctrinal truths and implications from the Bible and helping people (including families together) to take them in more deeply. A good contemporary (but deeply rooted) catechism has been made available. could be good to, for instance, look at one topic with your family over dinner once per week. Also available as a free e-book through this link.