When’s the last time you gave God a part of your day? Not to go to church or bible study or meet with a church member. When’s the last time you separated yourself from the chaos of this world to be alone with Him?
Devotionals are an essential part of having a healthy relationship with God, the same way spend time with people to have a working relationship with them. Think of it this way: How would you feel if your parent did not want to talk to you or spend time with you unless they want something from you? That’s how God feels when we only come to Him to submit our requests. God gives us so many days on this Earth. He deserves as much of that time as possible.
Jesus sets an example of how to devote time to God in many places in the Bible. One of them being Luke 5:15-16
However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.
The Him in this scripture refers to Jesus. Back when He traveled the land performing miracles, so many sick people searched for Jesus to be healed. I can imagine the multitudes had to be overwhelming. Through devotionals of separated prayer in the wilderness, Jesus found solace in the midst of the stress and strength to keep doing God’s work. The commentary of my NKJV study bible explains these verses perfectly: “Strength comes from God, and we can only be strengthened by spending time with him.” So let’s take it from Jesus. Devotionals are important.
My 10 tips on Starting a Devotional Time with God
- Start Small. To adjust to scheduling God time into your day, start with a little time, just a minute or two to take a deep breath and say a prayer. Don’t schedule an exact end time to your devotional, meaning leave room for you to lose track of time. After a while, it will become easier to give Him even more of your time.
- Give Him the time your mind is most calm. Yes, you should call out to God in distress, but to get the most out of a devotional you want to be in a humbled, receptive state of mind. Don’t rush into a devo in the middle of a work day. Find a time of less chaos. Try during your lunch break. Some people prefer quiet mornings to start their day with God. If you’re a night person like me, devotionals are a lovely way to end your day and reflect.
- Remove yourself from this world. If you’re in the midst of worldly messages being thrown at you, like from a television, you won’t be able to focus on God. Take yourself away from everything: from stress, work, and even your loved ones. Find a place of serenity and solitude. For me, I retreat to my bed. If you fall asleep too easily, try going for a walk in a park or visit a church sanctuary.
- Put the phone away. This might seem obvious, but it’s harder than it seems. It’s such a commonly reached for object, but it’s of this world. So take a short break. Throw it across the room if you have to. Put all electronics away. Turn off your bible app, and grab the dusty paperback version. Why? Because it’s too easy to jump from the bible to Facebook to Snapchat to … you get the gist?
- Humble yourself. You are entering the presence of the one and only God. Release any pride or anger from your heart. Present yourself as His child yearning to spend time with your father. You don’t have to get on your knees for this. I like to say, “God, I am yours. I am not my own.” In taking this posture of submission, I recognize God as my Heavenly Father, and myself as His child and humble servant.
- Grab your essentials: your bible, a journal and pen, the right heart.
- Turn on a great playlist to get into a good mood. I’m currently loving Bethel Music’s “Without Words.” Make sure you play it away from where you access distractions. I put my laptop out of my reach.
- Pray of course! Create that initial connection with God. Praise Him for giving you another day. Vent the stress of the day away. Ask for clarity of mind and a hear open to how He wants to work in you.
- Let God lead you into His Word. Don’t know where to start reading your bible? First, the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are the best books to get to know Jesus. Aside from them, I’ve found some of my best scriptures through a bible concordance, the index of the Bible aka the secret gem of study bibles. Some bibles come with them in the back, or try this one for free. Whatever topics you’re thinking about, from loneliness to discipleship, the concordance will give you scripture about that specific topic. I highly recommend it. I’ve found some of my favorite scriptures from searching my concordance. In this way, God leads me to the exact scripture I need.
- Capture your moment in a journal. When God reveals truth in His word or speaks to you, you can capture that revelation and remember it for later.
Why do I do devotionals? For the connection. When I’m in a devotional, I can feel God’s presence, the warm, fuzzy blanket of His love. His Word speaks clearly to me. He answers my questions. Feeling connected to my divine, Holy Father is the best feeling in the world.
So I urge you …Give God part of your day. A minute. Five minutes. An hour. Whatever amount of time you can give, He will make it worth it.
There’s no better way to start your week than a devotional! I hope these tips helped you, and you try a devotional soon. Good luck!
My Current Read: Lysa Terkeurst’s The Best Yes (I’m absolutely in love with this book – review coming soon)
Now Playing: “You Alone” by NCC Worship (this song just gets me – buy the soundtrack here)
My Daily Devo: Right now, I’m going through the Gospel of John for the first time (just past chapter 5!)