The Bible and Prayer
Spiritual renewal comes when we listen obediently to the Bible and pray earnestly. Ezra led in renewing the spiritual life of the Jews at this time, using these two means. He gathered the people together and not only read the Bible to them but gave explanations so they would understand it. Expository preaching, by which portions of the Bible are explained and applied, is one of the most important kinds of preaching. Such preaching is not expounding the views or opinions of the preacher, but opening God’s Word.
Hearing the Bible read, the people realized they had failed to do what God wanted them to do and were sorry. The leaders, however, urged them to rejoice because they knew what God wanted them to do. They then kept one of the festivals appointed in Scripture for the first time since the days of Joshua.
Ezra also led in prayer. In this prayer he rehearsed God’s gracious dealings with their ancestors, who had been so rebellious. He realized that they were in their present predicament as vassals to a foreign king because of sin. He acknowledged that sin, thus anticipating God’s mercy. Then he renewed the covenant to which their ancestors had been unfaithful.
May our day be a day of spiritual renewal. It will be as we make faithful use of the Bible and of prayer.