One of the most important disciplines for any believer is learning how to have a consistent devotional time. Many Christians admit they did make time with God a daily habit until several years after their decision to follow Christ. Others confess that consistent devotional time is still a work in progress.
Below I have listed six practices that will help establish a daily devotional time:
Do not just hang out with God, make an appointment
Set aside a specific time to meet with God that works with the rhythm of your daily schedule. Pick a time of day that you are most alert. Some people are early risers and can jump into their devotions right after they wake up. Others may find that lunch time, or just before bedtime are better options. Whatever time you choose, prioritize it like you would a doctor’s appointment or a meeting at work. God is showing up to meet with me at this time and I do not want to miss it.
Find a quiet place
This refers to the physical setting in which you choose to have your daily devotions. What is important here is that you pick a place that allows you to tune out distractions and focus. Sometimes the challenge is not as much about the place you have your devotions, but it is about getting your mind in the right place. If you are a checklist person, a multitasker, or life is just stressful at the moment; it would be helpful to spend some time in prayer asking God to help calm you heart before you begin.
Have a plan
How many of us have played that magic game where we flip open our Bibles and randomly read where ever it opens? (Guilty!) The more you read the Bible the more you will see that it is not just a random collection of literature, but one seamless story of God’s pursuit of mankind. You can find hundreds of different Bible reading plans on the Internet, Bible apps on your phone, and various devotional guides. Some you will find more helpful than others; the important thing is that you have one.
The number one goal for your daily devotional time is to connect with God. You will not do that if you cannot be real with God and with yourself. If you are struggling with a life difficulty, be real about it. If you are overwhelmed with joy, be real. If you are angry at God, be real. If you have unconfessed sin, be real. Know that God wants to connect with you wherever you are. If you cannot be real with God who can you be real with?
Write it down
Never underestimate the power of journaling. When we write we are actually interacting with ourselves. We remember things more, we focus better, and we have a record to look back on later. Write out the date, the passage you are reading for the day, your prayer request, and any thoughts that come to mind as you read. If you have any questions about what you read, write those down as well and review them later with your mentor or small group.
The newer you are to the practice of daily devotions the more you will need help and accountability. Find a mentor that can hold you accountable, answer your questions, and process your thoughts with about what you read.