An employee of a leading Bible software program told me that their website receives most of their traffic at 2am on Sunday mornings. They guess that it is largely pastors finding sermons to preach. If you’ve struggled to get your daily devotions going, you’re clearly not alone.
What is a Daily Devotion?
A helpful article¹ found on redeemer.com describes a ‘Devotion’ (Quiet Time) as: ‘a dedicated time each day set aside to connect with God – to adore and praise Him, to study Scripture and hear what He has to say, and to allow HIs Word to renew our hearts and minds so that the Spirit of God can transform us.’
What are they for?
Again from the same article: ‘Our goal as Christians is not just to know about God, but actually to know Him as one person knows another. He is our Father, our Friend, our Comforter, our Guide, and our Lord. Knowing Him in this way, talking with Him in this way, calls for responses of joy, of worship, of repentance and sorrow, of hope and expectation.’ Know and loving God – that’s what devotions are for.
How do we do this?
‘… and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” Eph. 6:17-18a.
First thing we do is use our minds to meditate on the gospel. How often do you meditate upon the gospel? Never leave the cross of Christ! When we meditate upon our salvation, our minds settle again in the peace and acceptance of God. This enables us to priorities our time, focus, and energy. When our minds are settled on Jesus, we are enabled to desire, find and spend quality time with God.
We pick up the sword of the Spirit, the word of God; our Bibles. It’s the only weapon we have! This reminds us that our battle is not against ourselves, a spouse, a boss, a neighbour… our battle is against a spiritual force that seeks to deafen, dope, and dumb us to Gods will and ways – sin. We pick up Gods Word to hear God speak into our heart and lives and to lift our eyes to him, the author and perfecter of our faith. We meditate on his word to see how we can adore him, how we can admit sin, and how we can aspire to live for him in our daily activity (through the enabling His Spirit).
We pray, all kinds of prayers. Once we have meditated and believed Gods word, we can respond in prayer. There is a mystery to the power of words. God spoke and the world was created. There is power in words. Prayer helps us align our hearts with Gods heart. Sometimes while praying, God changes our hearts to His. Prayer also reminds us where we believe our help comes from.
Here is a two verse example of an entire devotion from the Bible.
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’ ” Hebrews 13:5-6.
A Christian is wrestling with materialism, worry, or anxiety around financial issues.
They meditate upon their salvation in Jesus with the result that they are accepted and loved by God.
They open the Word to read ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ and they believe God at His Word.
In response they are able to pray ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’
They are able to adore God’s ability to provide for them and His unfailing love to commit to it.
They can admit that love of money has crept in some way and repent for this destructive influence.
They can aspire to trust in God and to see the Spirit destroy fear (sin dies) and bring confidence.
If you lack desire…
Begin praying: ‘God please help me to want to want to spend time with you.’
If you have desire but lack strategy…
Begin with a Devotional book: Songs of Jesus by Tim and Kathy Keller, etc.
Then: Grow in your own ability to look at a text and respond in the following three ways?
- Adore God.
- Admit sin.
- Aspire towards holiness.