Once when he was asked, “What is more important: Prayer or Reading the Bible?” Charles Spurgeon replied with a question of his own: “What is more important: Breathing in or Breathing out?”
Just as breathing in and breathing out is not an either/or proposition, we should never look at prayer and reading the Bible as an either-or proposition. Both are equally important.
If all we ever did was breath in we would get too much oxygen. If all we ever did was breath out, we would get too little oxygen. We need to do both to stay healthy.
Praying and hearing the Word of God cannot be thought of as separate activities. To me, the breathing in part would be hearing the Word. The breathing out part would be prayer. Those who are breathing in the Word regularly and consistently will also be breathing out prayers regularly and consistently.
We are to breathe deeply of God’s Word from the Bible:
“Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. 3 Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.” (Isaiah 55:2-3)
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16)
The breathed-in Word will make us breath out prayers. The best prayers are those that come right from Scripture: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)
We breath out prayers to God of praise and thanks: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
We breath out prayers for others, for their wellbeing and that they too might always be breathing in Scripture.
So have a great new year of breathing; breathing in Scripture and breathing out prayer.