If you have been in Christian protestant (and especially evangelical) circles for any length of time you may hear the word “devotions” or phrases “quiet time” or “daily devotions” pop up. Most Christians use these terms to refer to one-on-one time spent in prayer, reading the Bible, meditating and often journaling. This is the time a follower of God sets aside to grow their faith by spending time with God.
What does it mean to do daily devotions?
“Doing devotions” simply means when you begin to incorporate a practice of meeting with Gdo regularly into your life. What specifically that means is as varied and unique as the people of faith that practice them.
One person may simply pray and meditate on a single verse of Scripture. Another may do an in depth Bible study with colored pens, and note-taking and Bible concordances. Still another Christ follower may use a journaling Bible to create a beautiful work of creative art. Someone else may say “I met with God today while I walked”.
There really is no incorrect way how to “do devotions” as long as you are connecting with God.
What does the Bible say about daily devotions?
You won’t find the words “devotions or quiet time” in the Bible, but the theme of meeting regularly with God is all throughout the Bible.
Psalm 42:2 “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”
Mark 1:35 “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
While Bible study is a large part of meeting with God today, remember that at the time the Bible was written and throughout much of human history, followers of God did not have access to a Bible to read in their own homes. So much of meeting with God was done through prayer and meditating on memorized portions of the Bible, and reading Scripture was a corporate event.
What an amazing gift we have in the 21st century of having not just one, but literally hundreds of versions of Bibles, study notes, and helpful books to help us grow in our faith–many of which can be accessed on our smart devices in just a few seconds. Stunning!
What is a devotional?
Unlike devotions, a devotional is a book meant to help guide your time with God. So in your devotions, you may read a devotional, but you don’t have to.
Many devotionals have Scriptures in them and also the author’s explanation of the passage or spiritual encouragement. Many of them last a full year and can be repeated many times over. Some build on each other, but many you can hop in at any day and still have the same impact.
5 of my favorite devotionals to grow your faith
New Morning Mercies — A little longer, but filled with great wisdom! I like this one because it has additional Bible verses to study if you want to dig deeper.
Jesus Calling –A great one for those new to faith! Beautifully written as if Jesus is speaking directly to you.
Grace for the Moment — One of the first devotionals I read. Simple and encouraging place to start to grow your faith.
Letters to the Thirsty — Written like a letter from a spiritual mentor.
One of my favorite questions to ask my fellow Christian friends lately has been: What do you do during your devotions or time with God? I love seeing the variety of answers and how uniquely God meets each one of His children!
I’ve also been encouraged with that “I’m not the only one” realization. I’m not the only one who likes to sit in quiet, I’m not the only one who likes to walk and talk to God, I’m not the only one who writes out their prayers.
I hope you will see these devotions examples as descriptive, not prescriptive. You don’t have to try to replicate anything anyone else is doing exactly, but you can have freedom to follow the Spirit’s guiding and grace for doing devotions imperfectly.
My Short Devotions or Quiet Time Example:
Open in prayer asking God to speak to me and pouring out any worries, concerns, and happenings. Read from 100 Days to Brave.
Ask myself, “What does this mean for me today?” Close in prayer for any special needs I have. Turn on worship music as I move to my next thing in the day whether that’s doing dishes or taking a shower or driving to work.
(This would probably take 10 minutes or less to complete.)
My Longer Devotions or Quiet Time Example:
Open in prayer asking God to speak to me and pouring out any worries, concerns, and happenings. Read daily “assignment” from The Bible Project, a read through the Bible in a year, reading plan. Write notes, questions or “aha moments” in the margin of my journaling Bible or in my journal. Listen to accompanying podcast. Use my journal to respond in prayer and writing out my thoughts. Close with prayer and listening/singing along to worship music.
(This would probably take 20 minutes or more to complete.)
Ally’s Devotions Example:
Six days a week I go to a quiet place to meet with the Lord and on the seventh day I rest longer. Often I wake up to my alarm, but sometimes He wakes me and invites me to our place early. Those are the best days.
Over the last year I’ve asked God to give me supernatural hunger for His Word and He has satisfied me! Typically our time together begins with talking together. I journal my praises adn prayers and ask Him to let me see His character as I search His Word. Then I move into reading through Scripture chronological Bible, followed by a daily podcast called The Bible Recap that covers that days reading. As I read I write down ways I see His character and goodness as well as any promises He makes to His people and any specific people in the Bible.
Throughout my day, I seek His Spirit, His voice to see how He would like our day to unfold. I try to regularly go back to His voice and His presence guiding our steps and if the day allows, I try to sneak away with Him in the afternoon to read more from human authors about who He is and what He’s done in the lives of other believers.
Lastly, a couple times a week in the evening, I try to dig deep into a book of the Bible by inductive study. Daily Grace Co. has some excellent studies to aid this process and they’re also beautiful to look at 🥰 . Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Kim’s Devotions Example:
My morning time with God starts with me cozying up with a blanket and coffee in front of the fireplace. It’s my spot. ❤️
Currently I’m working my way through Job with the Bible Recap podcast. I read the daily scripture first and then listen to the recap, it’s simple and straightforward.
Some mornings I start with this, others I stare at the fire and just think. I don’t have a lot of mental space during the day, so I just let my mind wander, linger and land on what it needs to. Being a “thinker and a feeler” this time has been important for me to lay my inner thoughts before the Lord, to talk with him and process life together. Sometimes I argue, sometimes I cry, sometimes I just sit and know He’s with me quietly strengthening me for the day ahead.
I’ve also been enjoying My Heart, Ever His: Prayers for Women by Barbara Rainey and will read a prayer before I get into Scripture or sometimes as the sole meditation of the morning.
Worship music also plays a big part in my daily focus on the Lord. In the car, getting ready in the morning, doing laundry, cooking dinner, etc. it’s my little “pick-me-up” and helps me keep my mind focused on Him in the midst of what can seem like mundane tasks.
Bethany’s Devotions Example:
As a young adult I fell in love with Inductive Bible Studies. I pick a book of the Bible to go through, print it out without any chapter titles or headers, and go through it a little at a time, color coding and marking key words to help me see patterns and other observations in the word. Sometimes I use a Kay Arthur New Inductive Study Series book for guidance. I’m currently going through Psalm 119 with my church family.
This year I also tried something new and bought a chronological Bible. I go back and forth between the inductive study and reading through the Bible chronologically. I’ve been enjoying seeing how the different books and passages meshed together in “real time.”
When it comes to prayer, my attention span is about the same as a toddler in Disney World. 🤷🏻♀️ I’ve found that if I want to have intentional conversation with God, I have to write it out. Journaling allows me to be intentional in my prayers. I use that space to process what I’m studying in the Bible along with bringing the things going on in my life to the Lord.
I’m working on being less “all or nothing” in my time with the Lord. If I have a busy morning, or don’t manage my time well and don’t have enough time for my routine, I tend to skip it altogether. I’m working on remembering that my time with the Lord isn’t about my routine, but about the intentions of my heart. Rocking some worship music during a run or going for a walk and taking in the sunset have been some of my most unexpectedly intimate times with God!
Other Quiet Time and Bible Study Resources:
The Bible Recap: It was totally NOT intentional that 3/4 of us mentioned using The Bible Recap. It is a Scripture plan on the Youversion Bible app with a daily podcast that helps explain the reading. There is also a book with the daily podcast summarized, if you prefer written word to audio!
The Claiming the Promises Bible Study: This devotional Bible study is super easy to dive right into and includes a worship playlist to go along with each day of the study.
What happens when you miss a day?
You continue to connect with God in other ways throughout your day and you try again tomorrow.
There are no devotions police. God is no less in love with you than He is on the days you spend a long time with Him. His love is unconditional and has nothing to do with your performance.
I probably have longer devotions 5 times a week. Sometimes I wake up late and don’t have time for my set aside time with God, but I listened to worship music to help me reset my faith as I got ready for my day. Generally once a week, I try to take a long walk with no music or podcasts and just think and talk to God as well.
Having a daily devotional time is key to growing your faith. The more you spend time with God the more your relationship will grow, your trust will deepen and the sweeter your time together will be.
Do you have a daily devotional practice? Tell us in the comments what your time with God looks like!