Devotions are intentional times set aside by a follower of Christ to be in the presence of God. It is time devoted to being in the presence of the Triune God, listening for God’s voice and talking with God. This time may involve Scripture reading, reflection and prayer.
Just as Jesus set aside regular time to be with his Father (Matthew 14:22-23) and his disciples had the blessing of being with Jesus daily, so also we who are baptized children of God’s family and called to be followers of Jesus need to set aside daily devoted time to be in God’s presence, to listen to our God and speak with him. This is how the relationship of faith is grown (John 15:5-8), the fullness of life is unfolded (John 10:10), the well-being and balance of God’s salvation comes to us, and how we can experience God and walk with him in our daily living.
Daily devotions is a discipline that requires a pattern, practice and the support of others.
Although you can do your daily devotions in many different ways, following a particular pattern over a period of time is helpful. Consider the following as you establish your pattern:
- When will I have my devotions? You can certainly choose anytime. One woman had her devotions on the bus she traveled to work on every morning. Some people devote time at both the beginning and end of the day. If you are to choose one time, the beginning of the day may be the best because your devotional time will then help you with living the day ahead.
- How much time do I need? Time is a valuable commodity in our society and we never seem to have enough of it. However, if we look at time as belonging to God and our devotional time as a reflection of the priority of God in our lives, then time is always there. If you are just developing this practice, start with a shorter amount of time like 10 minutes. Let it grow naturally as your relationship with God grows.
- How do I spend this time with God? There are many approaches, but perhaps the most basic would include some of these:
- Begin your time “In the name of God, the Father, the Son + and the Holy Spirit.”
- Allow yourself to be quiet before God and simply breathe the gift of life he has given you.
- Pray: ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening’ (1 Samuel 3:9).
- Read a small piece of scripture over several times, listening for that still small voice that promises to speak to your life. Don’t be concerned about what you do not understand. We believe God can speak without us knowing everything.
- If you hear nothing, do not be concerned. Many people use a devotional writing to help them hear. Several of these are suggested below.
- Speak the Apostles’ Creed as a reminder of the God you serve.
- Take some time to talk with God. From what you have heard in the Bible you may want to thank God fro something or confess something to God or just pray for yourself or someone else.
- End your time by praying the Lord’s Prayer.
Nothing truly becomes a part of our life without practice. Commit yourself to forty days of devotional time and you will find that it becomes a habit. If after forty days, some parts of the pattern are not contributing, then change it. There is not just one way to spend time with God and the occasional change in pattern can be renewing.
Although devotions are generally done alone, we still require the support of others in this practice. Sharing devotional time with your spouse or talking about it with a Christian friend or in a Christian small group can reinforce your practice, enable you to learn from others and even be an encouragement to others.
Your pastor is also there to support you in your Christian walk. Speak to your pastor about issues you are facing. Pastors confront many of the same issues.
To help you begin this spiritual journey we recommend the following resources:
- Portals of Prayer…This is an excellent Lutheran devotional guide in print. Our congregation is currently ordering these for general use by our people. They come in regular and large print. Please contact our office if you would like a large print copy reserved for you.
- Our Daily Bread…This non-denominational resource is available in print and online. We will have some copies on hand.
- Eternity for Today…This is a devotional resource of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. Our congregation will not be ordering these due to theological concerns, but individuals may still order these online from Augsburg Fortress.
May your devotional time bring you all that God desires for you.