There are many times in our lives when we want to be in the Word and pray more, but we don’t seem to have time for it. We get busy at work or with the kids or whatever and it’s hard for us to find time to spend with God. But honestly, spending time with God is the most important thing we can do with our lives. This can sound like just one more task in our busy lives where we are expected to go, go, go, all the time. What is supposed to be a meaningful devotional time can quickly be turned into a box that needs to be checked. In this post, I will share with you some tips I have learned about how to have a devotions time that will change your life but won’t keep you from all of the other things God has called you to do.
Waking Up Early To Make Time
Ok, confession time. There are few things I dislike more than getting up early. I am very much a night owl, but motherhood demands waking up before the crack of dawn to get the kids ready for school. So if I’m going to get them ready first thing in the morning, I’d better have the full armor of God on. ‘Cause it isn’t going to be pretty otherwise. Either someone is taking forever in the bathroom, or they won’t actually wake up, or they can’t find something, or suddenly they have homework that was never mentioned. This is a perfect recipe for disaster. I’m going to lose my temper if I try to deal with this on my own. That is definitely what is going to happen. So I’ve learned that even though I am fussy about getting up early, it’s necessary for the well-being of the whole family for me to go talk to God before I try to talk to them. If I can get up about an hour before the kids, then I can drink some coffee and read my Bible and pray before the day hits me. This way I actually have time to myself to be quiet, read in peace, drink some coffee, and think about the Lord. And if I’m honest, if I don’t do it before the kids get up, then I’m not going to do it. I’m going to be side-tracked and forget about it. So this ensures that I have dedicated time to the Word of God and prayer.
Reading The Word When You’re Busy
I have spent most of my life believing that it’s necessary to read the entire Bible in a year, every year, your whole life, or you aren’t “actually” dedicated to God. Well, that’s silly. I have spent years completely avoiding reading my Bible because I don’t have time to sit and read 4 chapters every day.
The book of Luke is a great example! Luke has an average of almost 50 verses per chapter. That’s 200 verses every day from the book of Luke alone! That’s longer than Psalm 119 (the longest chapter in the Bible which has 176 verses)! This seems overwhelming to me. To those of you that are sitting there thinking, “Oh I have no problem with reading four chapters a day. I don’t know what the big deal is”, congrats. I mean that. Good for you. I’m happy that there are people who can do that. My dad is one of those people. He reads the whole Bible in just a few months every year. I am not one of those people. I need smaller chunks if I’m ever going to read the whole thing.
So, what I do is I just read one chapter every day. Some days I might read more than one chapter if I have time and I’m feeling especially into what I’m reading. But I always read at least one chapter for devotions. If that won’t work for you, then make it less. Read a few verses if you need to but read the whole thing eventually. Don’t just read over the book of Psalms or John a million times your whole life. God has given us the entire Bible for us to know His will and His ways. We should read the bible as a whole. At the rate I’m going it might take me four years to read it from start to finish, but I’m ok with that. I have plenty of time to read at my own pace and soak up all of the good stuff in His Word.
Don’t overcomplicate it and think you have to do something just because that’s the thing that Christians are supposed to do. God never said that. He made you an individual, and you should know God as an individual. He wants you to know Him. Be willing to be open with God. If ever we should be vulnerable it’s in our relationship with God.
Make Time For Prayer
Prayer is a topic that I feel gets overlooked a lot. We hear a lot about how we should read our Bibles but not enough on what prayer really looks like in the Christian life. It seems that we often go off into extremes. Extremes aren’t sustainable. Either we’re told that we need to pray five hours a day to have an effective prayer time or we are told that we can just pray wherever we are, in our minds, while we go about our daily tasks and that’s enough because God knows our hearts.
Both of these are pitfalls we should avoid. If you pray five hours a day then, kudos. You’re doing better than probably every other Christian in the United States. But if you can’t spend five hours a day, alone, praying the most profound prayers of your life because God has also called you to be a mother and a wife and that means you have obligations to keep, then don’t. It’s ok. God doesn’t love you any less because you don’t spend five hours praying. He wants you to do those other things too. He wouldn’t have placed a husband or children or a job or whatever in your life if He didn’t want you to be responsible in those roles too.
But let’s be realistic here, the kingdom of God isn’t advanced, and God isn’t glorified with half-hearted prayers that are thrown out at Him while you’re changing the baby or on your way to work. God definitely hears those prayers too. Please don’t think I’m saying He doesn’t. He loves you and loves to hear from you when you pray, but we should be more intentional with prayer than just a thought in our head while we carry on with our lives. Prayer is our most valuable weapon in the fight for holiness in our lives. We need to take time to sit down and really pray. We should be thinking about what it is we’re praying about. We need to allow ourselves to be in a place where we are able to be emotionally vulnerable.
When we pray, we are reaching up to the throne of Heaven and bringing our petitions for our lives, our families, our friends, and our world to God. This is important! Praying is possibly the most important thing you do. We should be moved, to tears sometimes even, when we come to the Father with our prayers and our praises. That’s why I think you should have a place and a time that you’ve dedicated to praying.
I personally, will write down what I’m praying about in a prayer journal. I don’t like praying out loud because I feel that it’s a very private time just between God and me. But my thoughts get all jumbled up if I just sit there and try to pray silently. So, I write in a prayer journal to keep my thoughts straight and make sure I pray about all the things I wanted to. It’s also encouraging to go back and read what I’ve prayed about before and see how God answered those prayers. Just find something that works for you but be intentional about it. Whatever you do, do it with your whole heart.
How Consistent Devotions Will Change Your Life
The last point I’d like to make is that at the beginning of this post I said that devotions this way was life-changing. You might be wondering how. It sure doesn’t seem like it’s life-changing. It seems ordinary. But something that God has been teaching me is that He takes the ordinary and uses it to build His kingdom and bring glory to Him. When we faithfully give Him our time and attention and faithfully seek His face, He will, over time, make us more and more like Him. It’s about being faithful and consistent. That is how this type of devotions will forever change your life. When you are consistently seeking Him, He consistently shows up, and you are consistently becoming more and more like Him.
If you don’t currently have a preferred Bible translation, I highly recommend the English Standard Version (ESV). It’s easy to understand, and you can download the app onto your phone or tablet for reading on the go or listen to it in the car. If this post was helpful to you, I hope you’ll look at some of the other things I’ve written. You can read My Testimony which might be interesting to you. You can also subscribe by going to the Contact Me page, or you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter by clicking the links or searching for theology for us.