Today I wanted to share 5 tips to deepen your daily devotions–these practices have strengthened my faith and helped me get in the habit of connecting with God every day. Personal devotions or quiet time or “God time” or whatever you call it is simply the act of spending time with God, primarily through prayer, reading the Bible, and meditating, and reflection.
Most Christians I’ve met believe having devotions is important and improves their spiritual health, but most have a hard time getting the rubber to meet the road. I mean, heck yes, survey says, it’s important, but life, laundry, work, meal prep, social life, and twitter get in the way pretty quick for me. Sometimes reading the Bible is boring and dry. Sometimes I don’t “get anything” so I just quit. Sometimes I have no clue where to start.
I wanted to share this cause I hope I’m not alone. I hope you’re not all spiritual superpowers who have it all together. And I definitely don’t have it all down pat, but I’ve noticed some things that help me maintain consistency in this area and therefore grow spiritually.
1.) Find a consistent time and place.
For me I have a spot, a chair in my living room that is my devotions spot. It’s near a coaster for my coffee, and my Bible, journal and pen sit nearby. I like to have my devotions first thing in the morning with a strong cup of French press coffee. This worked well for me when I was working full time and during my current season of life. Some people like spend the time right before bed doing their devotions or after work or during their kids naps (my alternate time when mornings don’t work out). Find a time you can (more or less) stick to!
2.) Get a Bible study methodology
Sorry to bust out those big scary words! All I mean by “Bible study methodology” is have an approach to the Bible; otherwise you run the risk of being overwhelmed. Some ideas that have helped me grow.
- Pick a book of the Bible to read and then journal your thoughts and reflections. I like to use the following prompts:
- What is the writer saying?”
- “What does this mean?”
- “How can I apply this to my life?”
- Write out a couple verses of Scripture on a topic each day.
- Read through Psalms. Write down every reference to or trait of God.
- Join a Bible study group. I’ve loved the Beth Moore studies!
- Use an online tool like the YouVersion app or study that is emailed to you. I’m currently participating in the #SheReadsTruth study which is an online women’s study group! I absolutely love it! If you’re “that person” who can’t stop tweeting and instagramming this is the Bible study for you!
- Read through the whole Bible—fast! One summer during college I read through the whole Bible on summer break. It was incredible to see the broad strokes and big picture of the Bible in this way.
- Read through the whole Bible—slow! There are lots of great yearly plans out there. Take your time and let it sink in. You can use the SPECT method as you go…Is there any Sin for me to forsake; Promise to claim; Example to follow; Command to obey; Trait to praise.
- Study something specific: God’s holiness; pride; trust. Look for Bible studies you can use.
- Bonus! If you find an intriguing word use BlueLetterBible or another concordance program to delve deeper into the original meaning of the word. I did that with a study on God’s glory and suffering and it was awesome!
While prayer (talking to God) is simple, it can be really hard for me! I love learning so I could easily spend lots of time studying and doing the “deep dives” into the Bible, but never letting it sink in past my brain. And God wants to go deeper than that.
Prayer is just talking to God. Confession time—I don’t close my eyes when I pray. I just say what I’m thinking with my eyes open. Sometimes in church I forget to close my eyes since I’m so used to keeping them open during my private prayer times. I’ve been “caught” by a little kid or two. lol!For prayer, I have kept a prayer journal where I document requests and answers to prayer. Honestly right now I just pray for stuff on my mind, my family, and whatever prayer requests I’ve recently seen on Facebook.
Meditation is not unlike meditation done in yoga or similar practices. In yoga though you are supposed to clear your mind and think about nothing. Biblical meditation would take maybe an attribute of God or a phrase from Scripture and mull over it. Look at it from different angles. Think about how or if you’ve seen this in your life. Think of yourself as a rock tumbler, rolling the thought around and around in your mind. Pray through what this may or may not bring up. Use creative illustrations to channel your thoughts.
Devotions…although I’ve spelt it out here in a linear fashion is generally non-linear for me. Days sometimes don’t look the same. Maybe one day I read more or pray more or just pray or sing. Here is a sample “devotional time”.
I get my coffee hit up my devotions spot with my coffee. It is about 9:00 and Nate has left for work. I open up my Bible app and get the passage for today that #shereadstruth community is studying. I read through the passage in Ephesians 2 a couple times. I read through the devotion section and the questions it puts forth. I use my journal to jot down some thoughts God struck me with. I journal-illustrate the word “Peace” and specifically the phrase “He Himself is our Peace.” I thought about what peace meant to me: envisioned places I’ve felt peaceful, thought about times in the past Jesus has brought me peace, prayed for Him to give me peace with current and ongoing struggles, thought about what peace looks like between families and countries, prayed for peace on a worldwide scale. etc. I pray for God to give me the ability to forgive, to bring about peace personally. I sit quietly. I close out my time by reading a Psalm, finding specific things to praise my God for being.
I hope this is a blessing to you! Please realize I am so less than perfect! I don’t always have awesome devos and gosh, some days I’m just lazy and I skip it. God loves you as much as He could ever love you—devotions or not. But He wants to KNOW you! He wants to spend time talking to you and hearing from you. He wants to help you in your day to day life and problems. Make some time to get to know Him.
Have you struggled to maintain a consistent devotional time?
What helps you stay consistent in a daily devotions?