5 Tips for Doing Personal Devotions
Doing daily devotions is one of the most beneficial things a Christian can do in their life. It’s an important aspect of the Christian’s life to be alone with God and hear His Word and talk to Him in prayer. Yet, many Christians struggle with their daily devotions. There are many contributing factors - busyness, lack of desire, and distractions. Christian publishers have seen this need to help the average Christian and have done a disservice by promoting books that help you knock out those personal devotions in “less than 5 minutes.” Is that really the purpose of our alone time with God? To get it done as quickly as possible? The purpose of personal devotions is to spend time with God and to grow in Christ, but in order to do that Christians need to have a plan and execute that plan with discipline. Here are 5 tips to help in your personal alone time with God.
Set a routine: time and place
Everything we do in our life is scheduled. We go to work when our shift begins. We go home when our work shift ends. We eat at certain times throughout the day. We even sleep because of a schedule within our own body. Yet, we don’t schedule our alone time with God instead we expect to be able to find time throughout the day and then we wonder why we haven’t read the Bible in a week. Christians must have a plan for being alone with God and digging into the Word. We are creatures of habit and it might make a big difference if we develop healthy habits of doing our devotions at certain times and certain places. Whether that’s as you eat breakfast or before you go to bed. Find a place and time that will automatically make you remember to be in God’s Word.
Read more Scripture than commentary
So many Christians read small little booklets or even devotionals that have 1 Bible verse in them and several paragraphs of a story or commentary for their alone time with God. I’m not trying to say this shouldn’t be the case, but I encourage all Christians who do this to go deeper in their Bible. Don’t just read a writer’s words about the Bible, read the context of that passage. Study it out. Then hear what an author has to say about that passage.
Don’t read the entire Bible in 1 year
This one is controversial I know, but I don’t think reading the entire Bible in a year as part of your personal devotions is helpful for the Christian. This is not a race nor is it about quantity. Your personal devotions are for your relationship with God. What usually happens when you’re doing this is that you speed read through several chapters and even books within a short amount of time. You’re not taking time to smell the roses, but are speeding past the roses of Scripture to get to Revelation. I think a wiser decision would be to take your time and dig deep into God’s Word. This leads me to my next point..
Be flexible in knowing what you need to hear
Sometimes you need to break from your normal routine and read a different passage that would help you for that day and season. As a pastor, I find myself often making a full-stop in where I am at and returning to the Pastoral Epistles. If you’re marriage is crumbling, maybe you should stop reading Jeremiah and run to Ephesians 5. If your struggling with gossip then stop reading Leviticus and go to James. Christians must be honest with themselves and choose to be flexible in order to hear what God has for them about whatever they may be going through.
Don’t give up. This is biggest issue I see with Christians who struggle with devotions. They may be good for a few weeks, but something happens either they go on a trip or get out of their routine for a few days and they give up. Don’t give into Satan, keep moving forward. Keep reading God’s Word and praying. You will make mistakes, but in time those mistakes will become few and far between. Your daily reading of Scripture and time in prayer is so important for your spiritual growth so don’t give up on it. Persist!