During your Devotion Time, it would be ideal to be “locked away” from distractions of the world (TV, children, family members, noise). I’ve read about mothers who literally pull a blanket over their heads to signify “Do not Bother me.” I’ve heard of people even going into a dark closet with a flashlight. Many people have a special chair, or nook, in their homes where they commune with God. While others, even in a cafeteria during lunch with the hub-bub of the world still going on around them, are able to block out the surrounding “noise” and focus on God. You will need to find what works for you.
Biblical Examples of Devotions
There are several people throughout the Bible who spent one-on-one time with God. There seems to be a theme: morning. It seems that most people would seek God first thing in the morning, before starting the rest of their day. Here are a few:
Abraham: “Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord.” ~ Genesis 19:27
David: “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” ~ Psalm 5:3
“I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.” ~ Psalm 119:147-148
Jesus: “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.” ~ Mark 1:35
When I surveyed older, more mature Christians, they said the ideal time is morning. (This simply could be because they don’t sleep as much, and wake up way earlier than the rest of us. But I digress.)
The wisdom of our elders, along with the Biblical examples, point to the fact that morning devotions are the preferred way to start your day.
~ Prayer – Reading – Prayer – Listening – Prayer ~
Ideally, our daily devotion time would be prayer – reading – prayer – AND listening – prayer. Just like friends, we are coming together with God – our Friend, our Father – and communicating with Him.
PRAYER: We should start our devotion in prayer – asking God for guidance and understanding as we read our Bible or Devotion Passage. (I’m working on a post about Prayer now – look for it in the next couple of weeks.)
READING: Next, read the Scripture or passage. Read it slowly. Sometimes I read it quickly, then go back a 2nd (or even 3rd) time to re-read & ponder. Do you understand the passage? Did you learn anything? What emotions does this passage evoke? Did any key word or phrase “stick out?” Is your inner small voice (conscience?) speaking to you? How does this passage relate to your life?
PRAYER: Once again, I suggest you pray. This time you are responding (aka talking back) to God. Do you have concerns/worries that you need to share (better yet – turn over) to God? Are you uneasy about what you read? Do you still need clarity? Do you need guidance or strength? Or, do you simply want to glorify & praise God? Or, thank Him for all the blessings He has provided you? What is on your mind? Whatever it is, share it with God now.
LISTENING: Now, here comes the hard part. Listening. Most people feel great if they have gotten a prayer & Bible reading done. Then, they’re off to battle the world & continue a full To-Do List for the day. But wait…there’s more! Did you stop & listen? Here is where modern society has a really hard time – our minds are running around thinking about what else we need to do, we hear the kids making no noise (that’s never a good sign), we hear the neglected HVAC system, what kind of bird is that singing, who’s dog is that? The latest song from the radio stuck in our head. You name it – anything but God.
Listening is hard. It’s what most people fail at in the communication process. Communication is simply where two people take turns talking & listening. Communication should be where one person speaks while the other one listens. But how many people truly listen?
Spend a few minutes just listening. What thoughts, phrases, ideas has God placed in your heart or mind? What thought is now “repeating” in your head? What is gnawing at you? Did someone who you haven’t thought about in forever pop in your mind? Did another Bible Verse or lesson come to mind? BAM – God has spoken. Just be aware of the message & act accordingly.
PRAYER: Close out your devotion once again with prayer. You can call it Prayer-on–the-fly. Thank God for His guidance, all His blessings, His majesty, and His awesomeness. Ask Him to bless the rest of your day & help you live according to His will.
Most people start by allotting 5 minutes each day for devotions. I believe most people spend 15-30 minutes doing their daily devotions, while other people may take much longer. How long this takes depends on you & God. Are you willing to put God first in your life? How long does God need to respond to you…half a day? Did God have a lot to say?
Other Devotional Ideas
Some people like to keep a devotional journal of their devotions. We’ve simply used spiral-bound notebooks to take notes, quotes, scriptures, and thoughts. Some people will use their journal to write out their prayer as well. One way is also to write out your worries or concerns to turn them over to God. This may also help clear your mind before starting your devotion time.
Some folks will do Art Journaling by doodling, drawing, or illustrating verses in their Bibles or in their Daily Journal.
Do you need a Daily Journal? No! It’s just that some people like to look back at their journals and see how God has worked in their lives. Some, like me, get more out of their devotional time by writing out Scripture by hand or concentrating on certain words or thoughts that come to mind.
Although I am going to talk about Prayer in a couple of weeks, I’m going to share with you a simple printable page that will help you get started with your daily devotions. Just click on the image below to download a FREE copy of the Daily Devotion & Prayer List page.
- Related: Daily Devotions Guide
- Related: What are Devotions & Why do We Need Them
- Related: Devotions: Suggested Resources