Reading the Bible is only a part of the equation. You must also seek God's guidance as you dive into His Word. Once you've made a plan to study Scripture, you're doing well. But there's something you should always do before you read the first word.
Reading Scripture isn't just about gathering information or checking something off your to-do list. It's an act of listening. That's because God's Word allows us to hear from Him. The Bible says that God spoke through His prophets (whose words we have) and His Son (Hebrews 1). What you're reading are the words God wants to communicate to us (Hebrews 4:12).
When you have that mindset, you'll see how important studying the Bible really is. And just like you'd prep yourself for an important meeting, do the same with Scripture. After all, it's like meeting with God.
So, before you start, spend a few moments asking God to speak to you through Scripture. And when He does, be sure to make notes in My Bible so that you don't forget. If you're not sure what to pray, use Psalms 119 as a guide or visit our collection of hymns. But you don't have to use any special words. Prayer is about being truthful and open (John 4:24).
Don't stop there, though. When you read something that impacts you or makes you want to praise, stop and speak to God. Let your reading time be a conversation: you reading and praying and Him speaking through the verses. And when you finish, take a moment to respond to what you read.
When you start with prayer, you'll be amazed what a difference it can make.