Today we ask, once again, how can you have a consistent and meaningful devotional life? We want to continue following up on our previous little lesson talking about a devotional life, and how is it possible to have a meaningful devotional life?
Well, it has to be heartfelt, right? You don’t just want to be saying redundant prayers by rote.
Jesus said, “The Gentiles think that God will hear them for their many words, but when you pray,” and He gave a guide that we normally call the Lord’s Prayer (see Matthew 6:5-15). You could follow that prayer verbatim. It’s a great prayer, of course, but you can also take the principles of that prayer and apply them, and expand your prayer time to make it even more meaningful.
Using the Lord’s Prayer as a Model
Obviously, if we’re going to praise the Lord, we’re not limited to just saying, “Hallowed be Thy name.” And if we’re making requests, we’re not limited to simply, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.” But it does show us that we ought to, first of all, focus on honoring, worshiping, praising, adoring the Lord. As you do that, it just, you know, gives you a wonderful, wonderful feeling thinking about how great God is and how big He is, and He’s the maker and creator of the universe, and He’s got everything in His hands.
You know these declarations that you can make about how great He is, how holy, and righteous, and pure… It’s really a spiritual exercise, that, I’m sure helps you more than it helps Him, because He already knows all those things about Himself. But you’re extolling His virtues.
You know, obviously our prayers for requesting stuff for ourselves are not limited to just, give me my daily bread this day. The whole forgiveness aspect, which is also included in the Lord’s Prayer, it could be expanded upon. See what you can learn.
I think probably everyone who’s watching this knows more of the principles that are found in the Lord’s Prayer than only what you find in the Lord’s Prayer. Let that be a great pattern for your prayers.
Of course, it ends with a praise and acknowledgement, you know, “For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever, and ever.” I love that declaration. You just can’t say that too much.
Hearing From the Lord
Then, of course, we love for the Lord to speak to us. And many mystical people who spend a lot of time in prayer, begin to think that they’re hearing from the Lord on a regular basis. You’ve got to be very careful with this. Every thought that you have while you pray is not necessarily the Lord.
On the other hand, as I pray, and oftentimes when I pray in the Spirit… that’s another phrase for praying in tongues, which I have talked about before on Little Lessons. If you didn’t hear those Little Lessons on praying in tongues, you can look them up, starting with this lesson. But that’s the Holy Spirit praying through you. It’s marvelous.
You would expect that you might get some revelation, or some wisdom, or guidance, or something from doing that. I can testify that I do. I often get instructions. I hate to even use such a strong term as that. But I get instructions, or ideas, or wisdom, or thoughts, whatever you want to call it, things that I’m supposed to do that day that I’m praying.
I can take care of those things then. I often get insight into God’s Word. Then that would be, of course, the second part of hearing from God. In our devotional life, that would be spending time meditating in His word. Notice I said meditating and not just reading.
Letting God’s Word Penetrate Us
Reading the word of God is a very valuable thing, but we want it to penetrate us, and change our lives. Paul wrote, “Let the word of Christ dwell within you richly” (Colossians 3:16). We find lots of Scripture about the importance of meditating in God’s word day and night, and that’s a way to renew our minds.
You think about how blessed we are. The majority of the history of Christianity, Christians haven’t had personal Bibles that they could just pick up and read. It wasn’t until the invention of the Gutenberg printing press when they could crank out copies of the Bible. Even then they were way out of price. The average person couldn’t afford them, and it’s really just not that too far back in recent history, where books became affordable to the average person.
We have that blessing of getting access to the Word of God by reading it ourselves. Early Christians only had what they could memorize, what they heard, in their gatherings. The circulation of Paul’s letters and so forth, which the early church didn’t even have many of at first, because it took a while for Paul to get going, and for those letters to get going. They had the Old Testament and they would listen for those things, and memorize them, and try to internalize them. It’s much more important that we do that.
If you’re going to spend time in God’s word, well, I would suggest spending most of your time in the New Testament, because we are under the New Covenant. This is not to say that it isn’t worthwhile to spend time reading the Old Covenant, the Old Testament, because God hasn’t changed. But the Covenant has changed and we’ve got a better Covenant established on better promises (see Hebrews 8:6).
Where to Start – Some Free Devotional Options
I’ve done my best over the years to help Christians in their devotional life through a number of means. I wrote a book called Family-Style Devotions. It’s written in very simple language so that parents can read it to their children every day, and then I have some follow up questions. It actually studies the entire life of Christ. We’re not just discussing ethical and moral things, you know, about, don’t take your brother’s crayons. But we know everything Jesus said and did, we look at it, and put it into a kid’s level of understanding. If you’re a family with children, you might want to check into this free devotional.
Then we’ve got a couple other devotionals. HeavenWord Daily is a book that I wrote, that takes you through the New Testament in one year’s time. You only have to actually do it five days a week. Then I have a commentary that helps to explain and answer questions, and so forth, and in one year’s time, you’ll go through the whole New Testament. We kind of figured it just takes anywhere from seven to ten minutes a day to read that day’s chapter, and then to read my commentary.
Then we have a video devotional, which is HeavenWord 7, a seven minute broadcast, going through the New Testament verse by verse, chronologically. That went on, I think, for three years, before we shut that one down. There’s a lot of help out there, at least from me and many others if you are kind of intimidated by reading the Bible yourself and you’re just getting started.
Let God’s Word Sink In
But I encourage you at bare minimum, read a chapter from the Bible, and then just think about it. Maybe you might, if you have time, read the chapter more than one time. Try to get it to sink in, and internalize, meditate.
One of the old Hebrew words for meditation is more literally said to chew the cud. The cow chews the cud, swallows it, brings it back up, chews it again, swallows it, and repeats the process. So that’s a picture of meditation. Thinking about it, and dwelling upon it. Memorizing it. Letting it sink in and saturate you, okay?
This is a Little Lesson, so, we can’t say everything about everything. Thank you so much for joining me! God bless.