We all have an idyllic vision of a quiet hour in the morning alone by candlelight during which we pour out our hearts to God and study His Word. We always perfectly understand everything we read. Everything just flows together spontaneously, and we soon become spiritual giants.
Maybe it happens that way for you, but I find that sometimes I do devotions just because it is time and I love the Lord. I might have trouble concentrating on the words I read. I inevitably will have interruptions. It may seem like I’m just praying to the ceiling.
I know that a devotional life is necessary and beneficial to my relationship with Christ. I also know He doesn’t grade me on it. He just wants to be with me, and I want to be with Him. That’s what lovers do.
Call me crazy, but things that don’t get planned in my life usually don’t happen. There are too many variables in my day to day life. I’m guessing, that is probably the case for you, too. Here is what I do to make sure I don’t just jump randomly through the Bible or feel guilty if I don’t get to my whole reading plan for that day:
Choose four different places to read.I have chosen four main categories to read from. One is Worship, usually a Psalm. Another is wisdom, Proverbs for now. Another is Example, from one of the Gospels about the life of Jesus. The last is Exegesis, which is just a fancy term for Bible study. Right now, I am studying Hebrews.
Decide what I need the most that day and start there. I already know that I usually won’t have time to get to all four passages along with prayer time. On a day when I especially want to worship, I start there. On days I need extra wisdom about something, I start with the Wisdom portion. If my brain is working halfway decently, I will begin in the Exegesis portion of Scripture.
Strive to check my heart, not check off a list. When I have tried plans before that assign a specific portion of Scripture each day, I would invariably get behind. Then, I would have to play catch up and soon it was less about hearing from the Lord and more about another deadline to meet.
Now, even if I only have time for one chapter, I look to see what God is teaching me and write it down. If my day begins to fall apart, I can always refer to my notebook and meditate on what I learned from Christ that morning.
For you, the reader: What type of devotional plan works for you? If you don’t have one yet, what is your biggest obstacle to a growing devotional life?