With the coming New Year, many Christians will make a resolution to read their Bible every day. Others know that they need to grow in their faith, but they do not know how. In this lesson we will be examining how to have a meaningful devotional time.
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.Psalm 1:1-3
Choose a time
As a Christian, you should spend time alone with the Lord every single day. For each person this will look different. As with all habits it helps if you have a set time and place. For many people this is first thing in the morning; for others it will be right before bed. Make sure that whenever you have your quiet time that you have allotted adequate time so that you will not feel rushed. The most important thing is that you do not neglect spending time with the Lord.
Choose a place
The place should be free from distractions. TV, background noise, your phone pinging, magazines to read, etc. will all take your mind off of Jesus. Remember your own weakness! If there is a distraction, you will be distracted. If you read the Bible on your phone, turn off Wi-Fi so that you will not be distracted.
Choose a Bible reading plan
There are many, many different Bible reading plans out there. You need to choose one or you will easily become distracted in your devotions.
Now that you are adequately prepared here are some tips for having a quality devotional time.
Clear your mind
It is a very good idea to write down all stray thoughts or to-do’s before you begin your devotions. If you do not, your will spend your time thinking of things other than God and His Word. Take a few moments to unwind and empty your mind.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.James 1:5
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.Proverbs 3:5-6
Take time to prepare your heart to seek the Lord. Ask Him to reveal things to you as you read. Go over a prayer list. As you pray, talk to the Lord about your previous day and day ahead. Ask Him to guide you each step of the way, open doors for evangelism, meet your needs, etc. Take time to confess sins and ask for victory over each temptation. It is helpful to follow a prayer guide. The best is probably the Lord’s Prayer.
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.Matthew 6:9-13
- Adoration – praise God for Who He is and what He has done
- Evangelism – ask God for opportunities to share the Gospel and pray for the lost
- Provision – ask God to meet your needs
- Forgiveness – confess your sins
- Victory – ask for victory over sin
Read through your selected passage. Read slowly and thoughtfully. Take your time to make sure you do not miss something in the passage. If you find yourself confused, stop and re-read the passage.
One of the greatest dangers we can fall into is dead religious deeds. We can read the Bible simply to check off a box. The way to avoid this and get the most out of your time with the Lord is meditation. As you read the Bible, here are some questions to help you meditate on the passage:
- Who is this passage written to?
- What did the original hearers hear?
- Why did God write this?
- What does this passage tell me about Jesus?
- Is there a promise to be believed?
- Is there a sin to repent from?
- Is there something I need to do in light of this passage?
- What stands out to you?
- Is there a verse here I need to memorize?
- Do I need to do further study on any verse?
- How does this affect my life?
- Live in light of your devotional time
Jesus is not a puppet that we take out of the closet for a few minutes and then put back in for the rest of the day. The purpose of our quiet time is to recalibrate our relationship with Jesus so that we walk with Him all the time. Take what you have read and focus on it throughout the day. Take time to confess sin and seek the Lord in your everyday life. Make your devotions part of who you are, not something you do.