Wayne Nall Jr
3/20/15 at 05:07 AM 0 Comments

Jump Start Your Devotional Life! Part 1

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This is the third article in a series on devotional life. If you would like to start at the beginning, click here.

 I recently had dinner with a Christian friend who shared with me his struggles with his devotional life. I asked him how he was doing in his time with the Lord. In reply, he showed me his "verse of the day" on his phone. He stated, "I read the verse that comes up on my phone, pray for my son, pray for my day, and that's about it." He courageously shared with me that he knows that there is more to devotional life than this, but he can't seem to get there.

 I encouraged him first of all that it is God's mercy that he realizes there is more to it than this perfunctory "cross it off the list" type of devotions. I'm afraid many Christians go for years thinking they can pray for a minute or two in the morning, read a verse, and be off on their way, thinking somehow that they had "performed their duty." There is so much more available to us than this! If we think of devotions as a "duty", we really are missing it. My friend got this. He was asking for help, and I commended him for this. I shared with him a few things that have helped me in my devotional life, and I'd like to pass them on to you here as well. In this article, I'd like to share some "pointers" that may help you in your prayer life. In a future article, I will share some ideas on how to get more out of your time in God's word.

 As they say, let's "begin at the beginning!"

  1. Start early - David said, "In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice..." (Psalm 5:3a) and "...in the morning, my prayer comes before You." (Psalm 88:13b) The best time to begin devotions for most people is in the morning, before the clamor of life hits us. We live in an age where most of us are being pulled in many different directions throughout our day. Whether you are a mom with kids to take care of, a factory worker, or perhaps a busy executive, your day is probably full of stress. You need the Lord's help early to help you to handle the stresses in life before they overwhelm you.
  2. Start Small - Think Big!  - We men especially tend to want to grab a problem and solve it immediately. However, if your devotional life is like my friend's, you probably are not going to be able to start out praying for an hour or two. I made this suggestion to my friend, and I would make this to you: Set your alarm fifteen minutes earlier than you usually do. Can you handle fifteen minutes? Most people can easily manage to come up with that small amount of time. Now, in my case, I found I couldn't stay with just fifteen minutes for very long, and I hope that eventually you will find that you want to spend more time with the Lord than this. However, if you are only praying two to three minutes (or not at all), fifteen minutes is a good place to start.
  3. Think Of Your Devotions As An Offering To God - This one suggestion seemed to hit home with my friend more than anything. We all know that in Old Testament times, Israelites were expected to bring a daily offering to the temple. In these New Testament times, we are not asked to make such a physical offering, but nevertheless, we are expected to bring an offering to God each day. Paul said, "...I urge you...to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship." (Romans 12:1) Many of us know this very familiar verse. But what does Paul mean by "presenting your bodies" as a sacrifice? It means many things, but I believe that part of what he is talking about is giving the Lord our time. Our time is not really our time anyway, just like our money is not really our money. However, we often live our lives like we think we own our time. Is it too much to ask to get up a few minutes early each morning as an offering to the Lord? You might say, "But I'm so tired anyway!" My response to that is that maybe you are so tired because you haven't been giving the Lord his due. Here's a truth that was shared with me years ago that I have found to be right. If you get up early, God will redeem for you the time you've lost. When I started getting up earlier several years ago for the purpose of prayer, I actually found that I felt less tired than I did before! I believe you will as well.

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