- August 17, 2017
- Christian Living
One of the best ways to strengthen your relationship with Christ and develop into a more loving human being is to spend daily time with the Lord. How do we do this? By reading the Bible and coming before Him in prayer. Aside from these main ideas, there is a lot of customization to explore in order to create the perfect daily devotions. Many of us struggle to make quiet times consistent. Whether it’s a busy schedule, laziness, or misguided priorities, we can often find it difficult to make time for daily devotions. Even when we succeed at making time for the Lord, it doesn’t always feel like the groundbreaking experience we hope for when we seek an audience with our Creator. What are some ways to make the most of these daily devotions? We have a few ideas.
Plan for Daily Devotions
If you want to fail at having quality quiet times, then just be sure to never plan for them. Developing a routine is important for building consistency in God’s word. The first step is to get enough sleep. When you stay up late watching TV, reading a book, or doing some other activity, you’re already working against yourself the following morning. Getting a full night’s sleep makes it easier to get out of the bed the next morning and gives you a fresh mind for when you are reading scripture. Even if you don’t do your daily devotions in the morning, your sleeping habits will have an effect on the rest of your day.
When the time comes for you to be alone with God, make sure you’re doing just that. Set aside time where you have a reasonable expectation of solitude so that you can really dig into scripture. Feel free to turn your phone off, close the door, or do anything else that will help you focus.
Don’t Be Afraid to Mix It Up
Sometimes we can feel like things are getting a little stale. The food we eat or the activities we engage in start to feel a little bland when there’s no variety. You might not even feel safe to say out loud that your daily devotions aren’t doing it for you anymore. Shouldn’t every single quiet time be breathtaking? Sadly that’s not always the case. If your time in scripture seems more like a chore than a blessing, it might be time to change things up. The easiest fix might be to simply study a different part of the Bible. We’ve all had those days when we look at the suggested reading and cringe at the long list of genealogies or the dimensions and features of the tabernacle. If you find it hard to get in the Word consistently, maybe you should study a certain subject for a while. Look at the life of Jonah, Samson, or Noah. Read a daily proverb that will instill wisdom and discipline. It’s more important for you to read the Bible and get something out of it than to stick with the same reading plan every single day.
Have the Right Materials
This is where we separate the people who like to highlight from those who only like to read. For many people there is a set location and list of accessories needed to conduct a proper quiet time. An example might be a Bible, pen, highlighter, and note cards kept on the small table by a person’s favorite chair. For others it might be more in the style of “War Room” where an entire room or closet is stocked with the materials needed to create a military outpost for prayer. Your quiet time can be whatever you want it to be so long as you are pursuing Christ and seeking to better understand and serve Him. If you’re not getting enough out of your daily devotions, don’t be afraid to go a little deeper or try something different. You may decide to add a daily reading from a respected theologian like Spurgeon or Chambers that will get you thinking on another level. Some people even like to listen to some worship music at the end of their time with God. Whatever path you decide to take, make sure that you have the right materials and that they are all collected in the area where you will be meeting with the Lord.
We’ve already established the importance of reading scripture and talking with the Lord, but we often don’t focus enough on the aspect of listening during our daily devotions. Prayer is a form of communication, not a simple speech that we are throwing out into the universe. Sure, the response may not be as audible as most conversations we’ll have in a given day, but there are many times when both prayer and scripture reading can bring us an answer we didn’t even know we were looking for at the time.
To have a quiet time is to be seeking an audience with the Creator of the universe. It doesn’t make sense to walk away right when the conversation gets to the good part. This is where time management comes into play. Leave enough time in your schedule so that you can sit and reflect on the verses you have read and the prayers you have lifted up. A time of calm before the storm is a great way to start the day.
Taking Daily Devotions to the Next Level
If you’re looking to make the most of your daily devotions, there are a few activities that will help you take things to the next level. Much like a quiet time itself, these will help you to gain discipline and wisdom and push you toward a deeper understanding of Christ.
Since you’re already diving into the Bible, you might as well take it with you wherever you go throughout the day, right? Memorizing the Bible is a great practice as you can recall scripture in a time of distress, speak Biblical truth to a friend, or simply dwell on God’s words. This discipline is important because it shows that we are not merely reading but meditating on the Bible.
Too often we see prayer as a hail mary pass that we’re tossing up in hopes of the go-ahead touchdown. We can sadly forget the good things that God has done for us as time goes on. By keeping a prayer journal with you for daily devotions, you can more easily remember prayer requests as well as look back on the needs that God has provided for in the past. What better way to pump up your time with the Lord than to rejoice in His victories in your life?
While our own needs are often at the forefront of our minds, we don’t want to fall into the pit of only praying over our own situations. Prayer journals allow us to more easily keep track of the struggles being faced by friends, family, fellow church members, and so on. If you’re someone who has trouble praying for more than a few minutes, try expanding the focus of your prayers to include your community, church, and the greater world.
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