How can you have a consistent and meaningful devotional life? We’re going to talk about daily devotions, having a devotional life. And what that means is, spending time consistently, usually every day, once a day, in prayer and in meditation in God’s Word.
And before we talk about how to do that consistently and meaningfully, we ought to just gently, first of all, talk about what it says about us if we don’t really have a devotional life.
I think many followers of Christ and professing followers of Christ would have to confess that they are falling short in that area. Certainly I’ve been guilty of that at times within my Christian life. But always acutely aware of the fact that something’s wrong with my spiritual life if I’m neglecting prayer and meditation daily in the Word of God.
What Our Neglect of a Consistent Devotional Time Says About Us
If we’re too busy to spend time every day focused purely on the Lord, what does this say about us?
And I know, I know, believe me I know. We’re all so very busy, there are so many things to do. But yet, our conscience is always telling us that we have time for this, we have time for that, we do it every day. Like we never miss sleeping five or six or seven or eight hours a night. We rarely miss a meal, we take care of personal hygiene and so forth, and we’ve got time for so many things.
When it comes down to the honest truth, we have time for the things that are the most important to us. And so what it says if we don’t have a consistent devotional life is that it’s not as important to us as it should be.
Devoting Ourselves To Prayer
So it’s just good to start off by facing up to that. And again, I’m trying to say it with as much gentleness as I possibly can for a number of reasons.
One of which, again, is that I know what it’s like to be so, so, so busy that these things get pushed aside.
But if we’re just honest with ourselves, and just think about it for a short time, we’re going to be convicted that we need every day to be in prayer, and in the Word of God. And this is certainly Biblical isn’t it? The New Testament tells believers to be devoted to prayer, and so devoted to it that husbands and wives might forego the normal relationships that they have between them sexually, or they might by agreement devote themselves to a time of prayer, special prayer (see 1 Corinthians 7:5). And the King James adds, “and fasting.”
So that’s obviously more than just a five minute prayer. That’s obviously a real, real focus on prayer.
A Weak and Powerless Church
If we study the book of Acts, and we see the emphasis on prayer there, it might help us to understand why the church today seems so weak and powerless. We’re not as dependent upon the Lord as we should be, and our prayerlessness could be the most telling thing about why we have so little manifestation of the Holy Spirit in our midst.
Prayerlessness could be our greatest declaration of how little we really do depend on the Lord. So those of us who are ministers, who are supposed to be serving the Lord full-time vocationally in ministry, we certainly ought to be devoting a significant amount of time on a regular basis to prayer, and to meditation on God’s word.
Having a Consistent Devotional Life
So once you’ve decided, wow, I need to be doing this, then how do you go about, first of all, having a consistent devotional life?
Well, like anything else that you’re consistent at, you have to just set apart a chunk of time. And I recommend that the best time is in the morning, because you’re starting your day, and this is one way to honor the Lord, focusing on Him first.
When the disciples asked Jesus, teach us to pray, and He taught them the Lord’s prayer, the Lord’s prayer gives us a little clue that it’s kind of a morning prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread.” So that sounds like a prayer you’d pray early on in the day.
The Blessing of Insomnia
So you’ve got to start off that way. And again I know that we’re all so busy. I’m blessed in this respect that at age 59, I don’t need as much sleep as I needed at one time, and typically I wake up without even trying, very early in the morning, every day at 3:00 or 4:00 AM.
And it’s just absolutely no trouble for me at all to get up and spend some time, an hour or two, on my devotions, and then I actually go back to sleep for a little while many days, and get up and start my work day. And you may not be so blessed, but if you’re kind of cursing your circumstance, saying “Oh, I’m suffering insomnia,” you might look at it differently and say “Oh, I’m so blessed! I can’t sleep and so the Lord’s giving me some special time to seek Him and pray, and I know that the Lord is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him, and so I’m going to be blessed as I pray and as I seek the Lord.”
The Discipline of Rising Early
But regardless, if you’re not blessed like me and waking up in the middle of the night or early in the morning, then you just have to set your schedule.
And if you want to pray in the mornings, and you’re typically getting up only with enough time to bathe and put down a little bit of breakfast and rush off to work or something, or whatever you do, you need to figure out a way to get up earlier. And of course that requires perhaps going to bed earlier.
And so this is a discipline, and the New Testament tells us that we should discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness (see 1 Timothy 4:7-8). This doesn’t just happen.
People who pray consistently have made a decision, a quality decision, to spend time with the Lord, and they’ve carved out part of their day.
Making the Most of Little Time
So again, I’m recommending the morning, and I’m recommending prioritizing and taking a look at all the other things that obviously are important enough to get done in your day.
And this is not to heap condemnation on anybody. I have more time because of my need for less sleep than many people, but don’t think that “oh, if I only have a half hour, then it’s not worth it.” If you just prayed the Lord’s prayer verbatim, it takes about 30 seconds, so that’s a start, isn’t it?
You can just read a couple of verses. Something is better than nothing. Don’t let the devil persuade you that you might as well not do anything, because you don’t really have quality time. Give the Lord whatever time you can.
And again, we’re not limiting devotions just to the morning. They can happen during your lunch hour if that’s convenient for you, right before your dinner time, after, in the evening, whatever. Sometime is better than no time.
Okay, well we’re out of time for this Little Lesson, but on the next episode, I’ll talk about making those devotoinal times meaningful. Thanks for joining me, God bless.