Seven Steps To A Better Devotional Life
As we begin new year, one of the desires that many people express is to do better when it comes to spiritual disciplines. Many churches, in addition, emphasize seasons of fasting and prayer to begin a new year right. (Allison Park Church has this really healthy habit as well - this year we are calling for 21 days of special prayer from January 3rd through the 24th).
So let me try to be as helpful as possible in helping you to improve in this area. I have been working at this, personally, for more than thirty years now. And there are several things that I have found to be extremely helpful.
- Select a Bible Reading Plan - interacting with the Bible in a meaningful way is so powerful in your life. But often we approach this amazing book in an unreasonable or pressured way. One thing to make it easy - is to select a plan. The most common format is the ONE YEAR BIBLE which you can either buy in book form or find on the internet (oneyearbibleonline.com) or on the youversion.com app. This plan will take you through the entire Bible in one year. If that is your goal, that is an amazing way to begin. But if you want something more basic - download the youversion.com app and search for plans. There are so many to choose from, each which are tailored to your readiness.
- Choose a Time and Place - The second thing you need to determine your best time to be able to be alone, quiet, and consistent. Make an advanced decision to commit a specific amount of time to daily devotions. It's better to be consistent with 5 minutes a day than inconsistent with an hour.
- Find a Partner - One of the ways to gain traction in your life is to have someone who is dieting with you, running with you, and setting a goal to pray with you. Now, this does not mean that you have to be in the same place or praying aloud or even at the same time. It just means that there is someone who is training themselves spiritually, just as you are. You can keep each other going when you feel like giving up.
- Select a Playlist - what I do each day is find a song or worship band that I enjoy (on spotify or youtube). I simply take five minutes to sing my way through one song. There is so much great music out there. Personally, I prefer Bethel or Elevation. But whatever is your preference - get a playlist going and use it every day.
- Use a Prayer Guide - This is something that I believe in so much that I actually wrote a book about it. PRAYING WITH CONFIDENCE provides 31 days of prayer patterns that are all Biblically based prayers. Actually, I wrote these for my own prayer life before I ever thought about sharing them in book form. But when someone saw me using them, they asked me to make them available.
- Keep a Journal - This is one of the most useful things I have ever done for my spiritual life. I keep myself to writing just one page, so that I don't feel pressure to write a lot. What I do is simply reflect on a verse in the Bible and write about what it means to me at the moment. Some will write out their prayers. Others keep a place in the back that records prayers prayed and dates when God provided.
- Celebrate Progress - remember that the goal is not perfection it is progress. Don't grieve over missed days. Just get back to it. God is never mad at you for missing your devotions. He is just lonely for you. He enjoys this time alone with you.
I believe this can be your best year ever when it comes to this area of your life. Go for it!