Lesson 45 - Developing a Daily Devotional Time, Part 3
ST. PAUL SCHOOL OF SERVANT-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 3
Voices! We hear them constantly. The voice of a father. A mother. A husband. A wife. A child. Neighbors. Friends. Yes, our days are usually filled with the voices of others.
There is one voice that is the most important of all. It is the voice of God. How awesome that the Creator of the universe chooses to—loves to—speak to you and to me. In fact, He speaks to us every day—but we seldom recognize His voice. Most of us don't know when He is speaking—or how He speaks. That's because we have not made seeking His face our number one priority,
especially in the morning, before we face all the other voices that come our way.
Now we are learning to correct that problem by meeting with God each morning before all of the day's action begins. We call this sacred time a daily devotional—a quiet time with our Lord. Nothing is more important. Just look at this wonderful promise: “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). In Part 1 of this study, we learned that a good habit (like having a daily devotional) is just as hard to break as a bad habit (being too lazy to awake a little earlier to meet with Jesus). In Part 2, we learned some important points in beginning and maintaining a time alone each day with the Lord. Now we can learn how to make each devotional time an exciting adventure.
HOW SHOULD YOU GO ABOUT IT
My own answer to this question is certainly not the last word. I'm simply giving you my personal pattern so that you can work out your own plan. I like one hour alone with the Lord in the morning. Taking sufficient time will prevent you from going into a day with only a brief, “Hi, Lord—Goodbye, Lord” kind of devotions. I read a chapter in the Old Testament as well as a chapter of the New Testament. I don't like to jump around in the Bible by just reading passages randomly. That's no way to read a love letter, nor the usual way to read a book. Why read the Bible that way?
- I start a book in the Bible and go through it chapter by chapter in order to get its full picture and impact for my life. That doesn't mean I don't break the sequence of books. Sometimes I'll read through the five books of Moses in my morning quiet times and want a change before going into Joshua. Perhaps I'll have that inner feeling that I want to start the minor prophets. The same thing goes for the New Testament. In fact, part of the excitement is experimenting.
- A good Idea before reading the Scriptures is to ask the Holy Spirit to make your heart like a prepared garden ready for the living seed of the Word, which can grow into a harvest of righteousness. Sometimes I'll do my praying even as I'm reading my chapter of Scripture, as certain verses stand out and remind me of specific needs. Other times, I'll go all the way through my daily Bible reading before talking to the Lord in prayer.
- Writing down meaningful scripture verses is a good idea. I like to mark my Bible and underline scriptures that really speak to my heart. Perhaps that day only one verse out of your entire chapter really strikes home with extra meaning. That could well be the Holy Spirit's message to your heart saying, “Meditate on this scripture. Tests are coming and this will be your scripture of strength to meet the test, trial or temptation.”
- Don't let your quiet time become a bore. When I memorize scripture, I love to memorize in the King James Version. But I also enjoy comparing verses in my Amplified Bible, New International Version, Phillips Translation, The Living Bible, etc. I don't want studying the Word of God to become boring in my life.
- Don't worry about the times when you don't seem to get anything special from your devotions with the Lord. Some of those times may appear dry, but you'll be strengthened throughout the day just because you met with Christ. Other times, all the lights will turn on and you'll have great emotional experiences. What Paul told Timothy to be in preaching the Word will also be important for you in keeping up a quiet time with God: “be instant in season, out of season”—in other words, when you feel like it and when you don't (2 Timothy 4:2).
Something else I enjoy doing in my morning quiet time is reviewing some of my memory verses, because I love to memorize and review chapters of the Bible. I find that quoting the Word of God primes the pump of my faith and brings me into an awareness of the presence of God. You may also want to review some of your scriptures during this time.
Do you see how you can make your quiet time meaningful and adventurous—and change the order and content from time to time? If you're single and won't be having any family devotions, have a before-bed quiet time on the same principle as your morning session. It might be a shorter time because you'll be tired and not as alert. I find that I don't enjoy tackling tough subjects (like the book of Revelation) at night. Who wants to dream about the mark of the beast throughout the night? Instead, I enjoy the Psalms or other portions of Scripture that talk about life's experiences and God's realities but that don't make me attempt to figure out Daniel's ten toes or who the anti-Christ might be.
Go to part 4
Review other parts of this lesson here