I have been reading the Bible an hour a day for years. It is not a law of Scripture, just a law of Andrée, which I implement with the strictness of a Jesuit. It goes with my habit of prayer-walking daily for three quarters of an hour.
What I learned in week one of marriage is that my husband has a different "style" with God. He is not a regimented kind of guy. Let me not give the wrong impression here-this is not laxness. Over the course of our courtship David has fasted for days on end in times of emergency and has prayed through the nights till he got what he called a "breakthrough."
But his tendency is to pray on the spot as things come up during the day. And his Scripture reading is likewise: "Andrée, got a Bible? Let's read such and such a passage."
Also, I have noticed that David does not repeat himself in prayer the way I do. He speaks a request to the Lord-once, in a natural voice-and then moves on in peace and quiet assurance. I asked him about it and he said he just commits the matter to the Lord and then refrains from worry.
I think it's the assurance thing that most strikes me. I, by comparison to David, am reminiscent of the prophets of Baal at the contest on Mount Carmel:
"[They] called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, 'O Baal, answer us!'… [T]hey limped around the altar that they had made. … [T]hey cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation …" (1 Kings 18:26-29).
David sounds more like Elijah:
"'O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.' Then the fire of the LORD fell …" (verses 36-38).
But the main thing I observe about my husband's Bible reading is that he believes every word he reads, like a child. And the main thing I observe about his praying is that he simply believes God has heard him and that help is already on the way. Therefore, he is not given to obsessive and frenetic repetitions of "empty phrases":
"… [T]hey think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (Matthew 6:7-8).
In summary, lesson one in my marriage is something about the difference between quantity and quality. I had thought "abiding" in the Word was reading buckets of it. But come to think of it, to firmly believe the one verse you read at breakfast is better than an hour's worth with doubt.