I realized that it’s been over a week since I posted. I haven’t done too well of a job of keeping up with the book of essays that included the two I wrote about in my last post. So I decided to just reflect a little bit about what I have done.

I’ve started memorizing Matthew 5. My goal is to have the chapter memorized word-for-word from the NIV by May 30. I really did not think it was going to be tough to do, because the beatitudes only took a few hours to memorize. Now, over a week later I have memorized Matthew 5:1-16. I’ve been working hard on memorizing the section about Jesus’ fulfillment of the law, but for whatever reason, those 4 verses are just getting me frustrated – I know when I make a mistake, but I don’t know what the correct phrase is. I shouldn’t let it frustrate me, but it does.

I was talking to my friend James Laugerman, who is also the leader of my connection group as we came back from a trip to Ames last night about reading and memorizing the Scripture and prayer. He asked me how this goal of spending a year learning from and memorizing the Sermon on the Mount is affecting my life. I didn’t really have anything to say.

I guess that’s one problem I have when I read Scripture. I don’t really intentionally apply it. I mean, when did I show someone mercy this week? When did I act like the salt of the earth or the light of the world? Did I ever set aside one of the least of the commands of the Law? I feel like I read it for the scholarly value, not the application value. For example, James quoted Jesus from Matthew 4 (Man cannot live by bread alone). I asked him where Jesus got it from, because I knew he got it from Deuteronomy 6 (scholarly), but when do I live in the application of that. I don’t feel like I cling to everything from the mouth of God… In this last week alone, I only opened my Bible twice.

As for prayer, we talked about it the other day too. He’s reading this cool book and it inspired him to be real intentional about prayer. It occurred to me that I had this very intense Bible reading plan last month and am spending the year on the sermon where Jesus outlines how to pray, but I’ve only prayed a couple times all year, and they were mostly just over meals. This week I’m making it an intentional goal to make prayer a larger part of my life.