Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law
Before preaching a sermon, I normally climb into the pulpit and pray at the beginning. My pre-sermon pray is pretty consistent, asking God for help as we come to his Word. Specifically, I’d pray like this: “Father, give us eyes to see great and glorious truths in your Word and help us to live in light of what we’ve seen.” That’s fine as far as it goes, but I believe an additional phrase is needed. Namely, I need to plead with the Spirit to help us love or savor what God gives us eyes to see. My prayer, then, would look like this:
Father, give us eyes to see great and glorious truths in your Word, help us savor what we see, and give us the strength live in light of what we’ve seen and savored.
Beyond preaching, I think this is a good prayer to pray when you’re reading your Bible. You certainly want to seek the help of the Spirit as you read and study that ancient text. You want to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15). Christians should desire to faithfully interpret and apply biblical texts. So, as you sit down to study Scripture, you pray for the Spirit to help you see what is really there.
But you also want to savor the realities that the Spirit brings to light. By savor, however, I don’t mean that everything you see in the Bible causes you to smile, do backflips, or jump for immediate joy. That is, some passages present hard truths that cut us to the quick (cf. Heb 4:12). But even then, we should savor those biblical realities. Or, to state it differently, we should feel the weight, value, and significance of what we’ve seen. That’s what I mean by savor. Think about cough medicine for a moment. We savor the cough medicine because it brings relief to our sore throat, though the taste is sometimes less than pleasant. In like manner, sometimes the Spirit shows us hard truths in the Bible that are hard to take. But we savor even the hard truths because we know they are good for our souls.
So, we need the Spirit to give us eyes to see and we need the Spirit to move our hearts so that we savor those same biblical truths (this is what theologians have historically called the doctrine of illumination). God moves to help us feel the weight of the text, see the value of the passage, and put those things into practice in our lives. All that together is what I mean by savoring.
Whether you’re an avid Bible reader, a new Christian who is just starting to read their Bible, or a seasoned Christian preacher and teacher, the next time you go to the Bible, pray for God’s help. Perhaps, pray like this: “Father, give us eyes to see great and glorious truths in your Word, help us savor what we see, and give us the strength to live in light of what we’ve seen and savored.”