The following is from Spurgeon's sermon,
"A Song at the Well-head" No. 776. Num. 21:16-18
You are retired for your private devotions;
have opened the Bible, and you begin to read.
Now, do not be satisfied with merely reading
through a chapter. Some people thoughtlessly
read through two or three chapters- stupid
people for doing such a thing!
It is always better to read a little and digest
it, than it is to read much and then think you
have done a good thing by merely reading the
letter of the word.
For you might as well read the alphabet
backwards and forwards, as read a chapter
of Scripture, unless you meditate upon it,
and seek to comprehend its meaning.
Merely to read words is nothing: the letter kills.
The business of the believer with his Bible
open is to pray, "Lord, give me the meaning
and spirit of your word, while it lies open
before me; apply your word with power to
my soul, threatening or promise, doctrine
or precept, whatever it may be; lead me
into the soul and marrow of your word."
Also, it is not the form of prayer, but the spirit
of prayer that shall truly benefit your souls.
That prayer has not benefited you,
which is not the prayer of the soul.
You have need to say, "Lord, give me the
spirit of prayer; now help me to feel my
need deeply, to perceive your promises
clearly, and to exercise faith upon them."
In your private devotions, strive after vital
godliness, real soul-work, the life-giving
operation of the Spirit of God in your hearts.