“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.”
Colossians 4:2, NLT
There is a reason we call spending time daily with God, devotional time. We are supposed to be setting time aside, devoted wholly to God. Whether we are spending that time praying, listening, crying, praising, asking, writing, reading, studying, or just being with God and His Word (Bible), we should be giving ourselves fully. If all we have is 5 minutes to spend with God during the day, then spend that time with your mind, heart, and soul focused on God alone.
Now I know that this can be difficult for some people. It is something we need to put into practice. Some days will be easier than others. God doesn’t expect us to sit down everyday in perfect harmony and a serene environment, spend an uninterrupted hour with Him and never let our mind wander. The most important part of the previous sentence is that God wants us to spend time with Him. Don’t get me wrong; God wants whatever time we can give Him to be focused on Him. Devotion means giving our time, energy, attention, self entirely.
If you are just starting a devotional time with God or trying to start again (like myself), here are a few tips:
- Start Small– Most of us are not going to be able to sit down the first morning, evening, or anytime in between for an hour or more and spend that entire time focused on God. Minds wander, children interrupt, and life happens. For some (like me), a lengthy devotional time just isn’t going to happen. So start small. Carve out that 5 or 10 minutes of time to give wholly to God and grow from there, until you find the right amount for you and what God asks of you.
- Stay Sacred-What I mean by this is two fold. Once you decide what time of the day works best for you to meet with God, be stingy with that time. Make it a date that can’t be canceled. Make sure your family or anyone else knows that time is special and set aside just for you and the Creator and lover of your heart. The second part is to find a sacred space to spend the time in. I don’t mean you need to devote an entire room to this purpose (unless you want to and can), and you don’t have to be at a church to meet with God. Just find a space that you feel relaxed, peaceful, and comfortable in. For some this will be the kitchen table, couch, or, a comfy chair. Others may have the luxury of carving out a small space they can set aside just for the purpose of meeting God. Wherever you find yourself, add one or two special touches that help remind you why you are there. Hang a cross, framed Scripture, or light a candle. Keep it simple or spruce it up. Just keep it special.
- Select Something– Whether it is a simple Bible, a specialized devotional , or a daily devotional sent via email, select something to help focus and direct your time with God. Pray, listen to God, and think about where you need to focus on. Where do you need to grow or be strengthened? Where are you hurting? What are you thankful for? Do a Google search on that area and you will be led to numerous resources. If you prefer to just have God’s Word in front of you, then make sure it is a version you are comfortable with and able to understand. Don’t feel like you are limited to a certain version just because your church, grandma, or friend uses that version. Go to a bookstore and browse the selection of Bibles and see how God speaks to you best. You might be surprised by the choices and by what chooses your heart. (*I am happy to make suggestions*) If you choose a devotional guide (many study Bibles have devotionals included) I recommend also have your Bible at hand. While most devotionals will include the Scripture for the day, you may want to read more and go deeper. God may want to show you something more. So be ready.
- Start and Stay Steady- The most important parts of developing a healthy, regular devotional life are simple. Starting is the first step. Decide to meet with God and He will be ready and waiting. He desires this time with you greatly. The more difficult task is staying steady. Not letting life get in the way and consistently setting aside special time will get tough. Kids will cry, you will be tired, you will feel like nothing is changing, and you will forget. But God is a a big fan of second chances (and third, fourth, etc.) He isn’t going to give up on you if you forget you have coffee with him scheduled at 9. Just show up tomorrow. He will still be there.
Day 3 Step
Today I am to write down five things that I am thankful for (after devoting some time thinking about this and spending in prayer) and then thank God for those things out loud. (From Holly Wagner’s book, “Daily Steps for God Chicks: The 90-Day Devotional For Real Women“)
Since I already thanked God out loud, I will write down my list here. The following list is in no particular order.
- Family– I am incredibly thankful for my family. From my wonderful husband, adorable son, and growing boy to be to my amazing and large extended family, I am very blessed to have so many people who love me.
- Material– I am grateful that I have the ability to decide between wants and needs. I am thankful that I can even dream about owning a pair of Toms in the
- Home– We are blessed to have a parsonage to live in, free of charge. We can create a home thanks to the provision of our church family.
- Food– I am grateful that the hardest decision of the day is WHAT to have for dinner and not IF we will eat. I am thankful we serve a church that helps feed many families in our community every month through our food pantry. I feel blessed to be able to provide funds for a 12 year old girl, Salome, and her family in Uganda through Compassion International so they can eat.
- Faith– I am very grateful to live in America for many reasons, especially because I can freely practice my Christian faith without fear of persecution. Being able to share my heart for Christ here on a blog is a gift. Knowing there are sisters and brothers in Christ who are martyred and suffer in order to serve and know the same Christ I do is a sobering reality, and one I pray will change for the better.
It felt good today to focus on my time with God and to be thankful for people and things in my life. Digging down to expose the dark, ugly things can wear a girl down, so this was a nice refreshment break. It’s amazing how God knows just what we need and when we need it. He’s funny that way!
I hope you are finding time to spend with God. It’s so worth it, no matter the amount.
I’m off to spend some time with a very cute toddler who has been trying to break into my sacred space for some time! Love his spirit!
I’d love to hear what you do to spend time with God and where you do it.
Hope to see you for Day 4.