This is Easily the Most Practical Way to Stay Consistent…
Daily Devotions do not have to be “hard” to be impactful. If you’ve ever said to yourself, “Why do daily devotions seem to be so difficult to consistently make a part of my day?” then you are certainly not alone. I have been a Christian for over 25 years and have found that I have gone through “seasons” of being consistent and “seasons” of, well, neglect to put it mildly. Here’s what can help keep you consistent.
Create a Repeatable Process that Helps You Grow Spiritually
The whole point of spending (devoting) time to the Lord each day is to grow spiritually. Our relationship with the Lord should be our most precious relationship. Just by becoming a Christian we are proclaiming that Jesus Christ is our LORD and savior. If He is our Lord Jesus Christ, our King, we place Him in the highest regard in our life. Nothing is more important than our Lord. If this is true, then devoting time to Him is also of highest priority. The tough part is when we spend the time without the spiritual impact. Without spiritual growth, remaining consistent with our devotional time is an uphill battle. Without spiritual growth we do it out of obligation and that never really seems to last.
The 5 Repeatable Steps for Your Daily Devotional Time to be Impactful:
If you want to DESIRE this time each day it needs to be impactful. I have been tweaking what I do for years and have found these 5 steps (6 if you include the bonus one) have been life changing. It renews my daily inspiration to do devotions daily. It produces the environment where God can speak and I am regularly impacting my spiritual life. It is like a snowball affect where you gain momentum as the snowball rolls it gets bigger and bigger.
Step 1: Pick One Book of the Bible.
I know that you can purchase daily devotionals online or at a local christian book store (if there are any left), but if you think about it, they all derive their inspiration from the same place… God’s Word! So Why not just go to the source? I think we can all agree that the word of God is powerful. Going straight to the Bible can be overwhelming at first, especially if you are new. As a side note, if you are new I would recommend starting with something in the New Testament. If I had to start anywhere I would recommend a Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) or the book of James. With there being so many books in the Bible to choose from it is nice to start with a simpler book, like James, that is more to the point and has less culturally references that you need to catch up on to get the point.
The idea is we just use the Bible. I think we tend to over complicate things some times and search for the latest and greatest things to help with this time. Fact is, you can spend time with God and need nothing else but your heart and mind. If you did not have access to a Bible you could still devote time to your relationship with the Lord. If you have internet access (which I guarantee that you do 🙂 than you have access to a bible for free
Step 2: Get Context of that Particular Book.
All books of the Bible have their own context, their own author and audience that it was originally intended. Take time to understand what is happening before diving into any bible verses. God’s Word can be complex but the amount of tools that are available today are incredible. Before starting to read any book of the bible I highly recommend you watch a short video on context by the Bible Project. They have a video overview of every book of the Bible. I have followed them for years and they have put a lot of work into each video and it will get you off to a great start! To this day, even if I have watched the video before, when I am starting to read a new book of the bible I watch the overview video to get me started, you are going to love it.
Step 3: Prayer: Invite God to Speak
This is a sacred time. You are devoting this time to grow in your relationship with our heavenly father. The creator of the universe. It is easy to forget what we are actually accomplishing with this time and the seriousness behind it. That is why prayer is so important. It makes us pause for a moment, think about what we are doing, clear our distracted thoughts, and direct it towards the Lord.
This may only take a minute or two, it may also take much longer, that is all up to you. Speaking to God is personal and some people like to talk more than others. May the Holy Spirit guide you during this time, it is less about the length of time in prayer as it is the connection that occurs. This is a great time to ask God to:
- Clear All Distractions: If something seems to be on your mind and keeps distracting you during this time, let God know.
- Speak to You: Ask for Him to reveal what you need to hear most.
Be Honest: Don’t forget that there is nothing going on in your life of which He is not already aware. God is big and He can handle your authenticity. He can handle your honesty (even when you are angry or frustrated). We can have a tendency to put on a mask as if we are talking to someone who doesn’t know our most intimate thoughts.
Step 4: Start Reading and Start From the Beginning.
I don’t mean that you should start from the beginning of the whole Bible, you don’t need to start in Genesis (and I actually recommend that you don’t). When you decide on a book of the Bible, commit to reading through it entirely. Read your chosen book from beginning to end. I am not recommending that you read the whole book in one sitting, unless you are reading a small book like Jude or something, all I’m saying is that you do not skip around in that book. After step 2 you have already spent the time understanding the context so reading it from beginning to end will be most impactful. So you may be thinking, if I am not to read the whole book at once, how much should I read at a time? Short answer: read until you are impacted.
Step 5: Read Until You Are Impacted
I have found that if you do step 3 correctly, step five goes by quickly. When step 3 is done well your heart is ready to be impacted. When your heart is ready you may only read a few verses before something hits you. Something brings new life to you. That is the power of God’s word. I have also found that this builds momentum, that these daily bible readings will build on each other. You may find that this momentum will also shorten the time you spend reading. On the flip side, if it takes longer before the scriptures impact your heart, don’t be discouraged. Sometimes it may take a couple verses, other times it may take a couple chapters. Don’t give up, come with an expectation that God is going to speak to your heart and I promise He will!
It can be tempting to want to continue reading, even after you have a moment where you are deeply impacted, but I have found that it is best to stop and pause at that very moment. Let it sink in. The Bible is massive and although it can be a tempting goal to try and read the entire bible as fast as you can, or in 1 year, letting God impact you as you read it is more important. By continue reading, after the moment of impact, you run the risk of speeding over what God is revealing to you in the moment to press on towards something else. God will bring great value to your life, let it sink in and change you.
Step 6: Write Down How You Have Been Impacted (optional)
When you have that impactful moment from scripture, wrap up your time with the Lord in prayer. Thank Him for what He has revealed to you and take it even a step further, write it down. There is something about taking action right when you have been impacted by scripture. Writing it down can have a solidifying impact to this devotion that you just spent with the Lord. I did this for a long time and then I started recording my thoughts on my phone instead, that eventually turned into a podcast.
When you have a repeatable process, one that consistently makes an impact in your life, you will desire to do it again. Your daily devotions become less of an obligation and more of a desire to be with your creator. This time will be energizing and a breath of life. It will impact you through and through which will overflow into other relationships and future generations.