A Journey through James
1) Start small. If a long time alone with God is too intimidating, start with 1 hour and then work up to perhaps a 3-4-hour block of time. An average Sweet Selah Day is about 6 hours. So, if you ever do an entire 24-hour day … you’ve done more than we have. The purpose of this day, is for you to spend time with God.
2) This guide is only a guide. If God calls you in another direction, showing you something in His Word you want to explore … ditch this format and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Always commit the day to Him and seek to hear His voice.
Grab your bag (see Preparing for a Sweet Selah Day) and add to it anything else you think you’d like to have “with” you on this special day. Determine how much time you have for this sweet meeting. I recommend 5-6 hours. If you only have 3-4 hours, that is okay, too. If you want to make it 8+ hours, of course you can!! The goal is for it to be long enough for you to close off your mind to your normal activities and enter in to a quieter time with the Lord.
If you are driving somewhere and plan to walk, make sure you bring sneakers and coat and hat if necessary. Remember that your day starts the moment you sit in your car. Pray and then slip in a CD or listen on your phone to worship as you drive!
If you are staying home, shut off electronic devices like iPad’s and computers. If you need your phone on in case of emergency calls, determine to put it down where you can hear it but not where you can fiddle with it. This is an electronics-free day.
YOUR THEME – STUDYING THE BOOK OF JAMES
James is a short little book in the Bible chock-full of practical advice and wisdom. It is only five chapters long, which means you will have plenty of time to read and perhaps even re-read it. Enjoy your study!
LISTEN TO A WORSHIP CD or READ A HYMNBOOK
Sing along, read the lyrics as a prayer, or simply close your eyes and lift your heart toward Heaven. Start with a time of praise.
TAKE A PRAYER WALK
If the weather allows, take a walk. Admire God’s creation. Whisper to Him how beautiful it is. Pray for loved ones as God brings them to your mind or lift up to Him a thorny situation that is troubling you, asking for His guidance. Confess to Him any sin in your life. Thank Him for as many things as you can think of … or perhaps start with the letter “a” and go through the alphabet, finding one thing beginning with each letter. Choose a favorite Scripture passage and turn it into a prayer of either praise or intercession for someone you love. Still your mind and simply “be” with Him, knowing there is no hurry … no rush … nothing else to do but be with the One who loves you best. Pray as He leads, taking your time, not being afraid of just being silent and listening as well.
STUDY HIS WORD
Pour yourself a drink, make a little snack if you would like if you are home. If you are out somewhere, find a simple café with a table for your Bible and order a coffee or tea or whatever your preference is. Be prepared to tip generously, as you may be at that table for an hour or three!!
Read straight through the book of James. Then take a “selah” break and just think about it for a bit. If you have a study Bible, read the introduction to the book and every note about the book. Take some “selah” times as you read the background of James as well.
Key Questions to Ponder:
What type of person do you think James was, based on how he wrote?
What was he most passionate about?
What pieces of advice were most relevant to your life situations at the moment?
Did any part confuse you? Write it down and ask God to make it clear to you now, or in the days ahead.
Of all the verses in this book … which ones touched you the most deeply? Write them down. Write a response to God about what you learned, complete with questions.
Has God directed you to do something based on this study? Write that down, too, so that you remember to do it.
READ A BOOK
Open one of the books you brought with you. Underline key passages. Copy key thoughts into your journal. If a thought triggers a question, search the Word for answers. Read a chapter in another book, if you feel so led.
Write a letter to God about your day, what you’ve learned, how you want to change, or how blessed you are to be His. Write out some prayer requests that are long-term for you, asking God to help you grow in certain areas. Write out anything God has put on your heart to do when you get home again.
PRAY FOR YOUR ACTIVITIES
Take time to pray for all that is coming up in your week/month ahead. Are you attending a family event? Pray for opportunities to shine for Christ. Are you helping with a bake sale? Pray for God’s love to touch others through you. Do you have a medical procedure coming up? Ask for God’s help … think through what is coming up and bring each thing God reminds you of to Him, laying it in His hands.
Yes, you can nap. If you are tired at any time during your 5-6 hours and you nod off, trust that God has allowed this for you to rest. Slow your heart beat … calm your breathing … savor a day with your Creator, who says He is your “Abba.” Your good, good Father. Rest in His Presence.
As you end your day with Him, sing along with another worship CD, write a prayer of thanks, or shout out your praise! Rejoice in the day you spent in the presence of the Lover of your soul.