A Simple Guide for Daily Scripture Reading, Meditation, Prayer, & Journaling

A couple of days ago, one of the students in my campus ministry in Cincinnati said that he wanted to start his day with meditation and prayer. As I was looking online for some kind of resource to send to him, I realized it might be just as easy to describe an approach that I often use.

When you want to start the day with 5-10 minutes of meditation and prayer, here’s an idea…

Begin with a verse like Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” In my opinion, key verses in the Psalms are great for this type of reading, but one could also select key verses (Google encouraging bible verses etc) from anywhere in Scripture.

Read over the verse 2-3 times…slowly…even reading out loud if possible. (A more in-depth approach like this is called lectio divina)

Then ask God a question: What do you want me to learn from this verse? What do I need to hear today? Or what’s the most important word in this verse for me today?

Create your own daily prayer that goes something like this: “Lord, I invite you to lead my life today. Help me listen for your voice. Help me to love you and love others well. Guide me with your Spirit towards the decisions that honor you today. Amen.” 🙏

Then take a few moments to write in a journal.

Perhaps write out the verse on which you were meditating. Then write down some thoughts or words that came to mind during the prayer/meditation time.

Try to include some kind of daily “action” plan, for example… “Today, when I feel like I’m in trouble emotionally, financially, relationally or in any way…I want to think about God being my main source of help.”

And viola…you just started your day with 5-10 minutes of scripture-based meditation and prayer. 😎

Book #1 for 2019


Quoting Fredrick Neitzsche, Eugen Peterson speaks of an essential “long obedience in the same direction” which is required of anyone who would engage the life-long pursuit of being formed by Christ.

This great communicator who has given us The Message translation/paraphrase of Scripture takes a section of the Psalms (Psalm 120–134) and builds an approach to Christian living which mimicks the Jewish custom of pilgrimage to worship in Jerusalem.

Along the way, he skillfully reminds us of the path from repentance to blessing which guides us towards true encounters with God in the context of community. And for Peterson, the proof is in the pudding. The Gospel is livable. And the scriptures are not primarily a source of information, but the inspiring voice of God which fuses with our prayerful response to result in a life that is formed by Christ.

The Epilogue which has been added to the 20th anniversary edition of the book summarizes nicely an appropriate approach to Scripture. We should be reading the Bible slowly, imaginatively, prayerfully, and obediently. For anyone who takes life-long discipleship in the way of Jesus seriously, this book is a must read!