“Be still, and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10a).
Since several people have made this statement to me recently, I thought I would change things up a bit and instead of writing a devotional this time, just share with you my thoughts on how to have an effective devotional life in God’s Word. This involves a simple four-step process. I truly hope this helps some of you. Others of you who are already doing this, just keep it up!
First, find a place where you can be clear of distractions and interruptions, where you can give undivided attention to the Scriptures. Got it? Good!
Second, pray and ask God for divine illumination, such as David did in Psalm 119:18, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” Ask the Holy Spirit to be your “Teacher” (see I John 2:27).
Third, read one chapter every day. If you want to do more, that’s fine. But start with at least one chapter and read it slowly or even several times, looking for AND recording the following things:
- Thoughts from the Bible about God (His Person, attributes, etc.).
- Thoughts from the Bible about your relationship with God (prayer, faith, etc.).
- Thoughts from the Bible about how to avoid sin and failure (warnings, examples of others’ failures, etc.).
- Thoughts from the Bible about God’s promises and commands (what to claim and what to obey).
Keep a journal of your findings and, also in that same journal, have a place to record prayer requests and praises. Inexpensive composition books work great for this! Use sticky notes to keep tabs on where you are! No expensive journal books are needed! In addition, sing to the Lord and read good Christian books, but give more attention to the Scriptures.
Fourth, memorize one verse each week. Come on, I know you can do it! Hiding God’s Word in your heart will help you avoid sin (see Psalm 119:11).
Aim for consistency! If you miss a day, don’t beat yourself up over it. Just get back to it the very next day. Everyone has missed a day in the Word occasionally, including me. What IS bothersome is that some miss a whole bunch and it doesn’t seem to bother them! What’s the old saying? “Seven days without prayer makes one weak!” It takes discipline to have an effective devotional life; it won’t “just happen.”And Satan will discourage you all the way!
Now, you may have a different or even a better devotional plan than this. Great! Just have one! And if you don’t, now is the time to start one. You’ll be so glad you did!