Lesson 45 - Developing a Daily Devotional Time, Part 4
ST. PAUL SCHOOL OF LEADERSHIP
“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ”
(I Corinthians 11:1)
Lesson 45 - DEVELOPING A DAILY DEVOTIONAL TIME (Part 4)
We have spent three lessons on the importance of meeting daily with the Lord in an established devotional time. Every Christian, whether single or married, should begin and maintain a time alone each day with our awesome Creator.
In Part 4, we will discuss two other types of devotionals that can make the difference between success and failure in both the marriage and family relationship.
A HUSBAND AND WIFE DEVOTIONAL
Now let's talk about a married couple's quiet time. You've heard about those unholy triangles where third parties have intruded to destroy many good marriages. My wife and I discovered a holy triangle—adding a third person to our marriage—that has made life all the more vibrant, romantic and superb. Of course, we didn't really “add” this third person, because He was the One who brought us together in the first place—our wonderful Lord who engineered our meeting, flooded our hearts with love for each other, and has made sure we've continued loving each other for nearly fifty adventurous years.
In speaking of this holy triangle, we determined to make the Lord the point at the top and we would be the other two points at the bottom. From the beginning of our marriage, we have maintained having an evening quiet time together. Obviously, when I'm alone on a journey somewhere, we have our personal evening devotional alone, but not when we're together. We began an evening time in the Word and prayer the first night of our marriage. I'm sure you know which book I chose; the Song of Solomon. Now, many years later we still look at our evening devotions as that special time of spiritual togetherness that guarantees all other kinds of closeness.
THE EIKLOR PATTERN
I've already discussed how we have our morning devotions separately. However, I didn't mention that before going into the day, we like to just have a brief word of prayer together, agreeing on God's will for our lives that day. Night time is different. With Norma and me, we enjoy just being together with our Lord. Sometimes our devotional is more brief, while at other times we get excited about what we're reading, discussing, or praying about, and it goes on and on. Just let it happen.
The Eiklor pattern is very simple. We read the Scriptures together—enjoying the Bible most when we take turns reading a couple of verses each. Sometimes we'll discuss what we think to be the main thought for that evening in order to make it part of our lives. Then we'll have a time of prayer together—often for various needs that have come up during the day—but always thanking God for the gift of each other and His rule over our marriage.
WHEN CONFLICTS COME
Your evening quiet time might be as little as ten minutes or continue in a thrilling spiritual encounter with God. The main thing for couples is to refuse to go to bed without reading the Bible and praying for each other. But what do you do when you're having one of those disagreements and are impatient or angry with each other? It's all the more important to have a quiet time, because we're ordered in Ephesians 4:26: “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” Don't close your eyes in sleep while angry against your mate. I've thought how horrible it would be for my wife or me to die during one of my “grudge times” without my having a chance to say, “I'm sorry, honey. I was wrong. Forgive me.”
A good marriage is not without conflicts. But a quiet time together will help us learn how to resolve those conflicts with the help of the greatest Counselor in the world (Isaiah 9:6) whose office hours are unlimited and whose expertise is given without charge (Isaiah 55:1). There have been times when Norma and I have had our devotions while irritated with each other. It's very difficult to read God's Word and pray when you know your heart is wrong. I don't know how many times I've had to stop, especially when reading words like, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25) and confess my wrong attitude to my wife.
Mature Christian couples don't determine whether or not they will have a devotional together by how they feel. They know that it's during those times when things aren't going smoothly that their togetherness in God's Word and prayer is even more important.
A FAMILY DEVOTIONAL
Take time for a brief Bible reading and prayer for your children. I remember how we had a simple devotional with our daughter when she was only a few months old. She could sing “Jesus loves me” just as soon as she could say “daddy” and “mama,” and it was always special for me to lay my big hand on her tiny little tummy or head and thank God for that precious little diamond He had put in the crib.
We did the same as she grew up, trying to keep a family devotional from getting boring. Sometimes I would give her the story of David and Goliath while acting out the event. She would be David hurling the stone (I made sure to see her hands were empty) and I would be Goliath falling to the ground as she whirled her arm and laughed with glee as her six foot three inch daddy collapsed on the carpet. Have devotions with your children—and have fun doing it.
Most Christians don't have a personal, marriage, or family quiet time simply because they are in the habit of not having one. You have to be determined. How much time do we spend shaving, combing our hair, putting on make-up, etc?! How much time do we spend making sure we look our best just to meet people whom we'll only know during this short space called time?!
What about a personal relationship that will go on for all of eternity? Pay the price and you'll enjoy the reward for intimacy with the Lord. It will cost time, effort and energy. But when the habit is formed, you'll be sorry for people who insist on sleeping longer while you're enjoying the presence of your Heavenly Father.
Your daily time alone in the Word and prayer will build a relationship that will make God explosively real. And as tests, trials and temptations roll in like the periodic tides (as they most surely will); the person who has developed that intimate, daily relationship with the Lord will be standing when others have fallen. May that person be you. And when you reach down to lift others, don't forget to tell them that they won't be such an easy target for the devil once they, too, begin their own personal, marriage, and family quiet time.
Review this 4 part lesson here