By: Kristen Oliver
I recently posted about 5 ways to improve your daily devotions and then I realized that a lot people may not be able to relate to that post because they don’t do daily devotions, either because they don’t know where to start, have tried and failed or don’t know why it’s important to implement into our lives.
For this post I plan to give some easy ways to start daily devotions in your life. If you already do devotions and maybe you’re stuck in a rut or need something a little different, I would encourage you to read my previous post here about 5 ways to improve your daily devotions and hopefully that helps!
You will find out quickly by reading any of my blog posts that I write from experience. I am never going to suggest or challenge you on something that I have never experienced myself. My prayer has always been, God use me. Use me to help others the way you have helped me. So during my personal journey of building a habit of daily devotions, I have discovered some tried and true methods that may not be mind-shattering to you, in fact you probably know a lot of this already, but if you aren’t currently doing daily devotions give these ideas a try. What do you have to lose?! Without any further ado…The Beginners Guide to Daily Devotions.
1) PRAY FIRST
The purpose of doing devotions is to be still, listen and learn from God. The very first thing you should start with is prayer. Why? Because before you even start your devotions God knows what you need to hear, you may not though. In order to receive what God wants for you to hear you should pray for him to open your ears, and eyes during this devotion time. Ask him to show you what he would have you get out of this devotion time. This prayer does not have to be super long or “spiritual.” Something I used to get very caught up in was doing everything right. There is no right or wrong way to devotions. God knows your heart that is ultimately what matters. However, if you are like me and stress over what to do exactly then this post is for you and will give you a starting point, but it is not one size fits all solution. Start with these suggestions and move it around as needed. Don’t get stuck in doing it exactly right or your will never do anything!
2) Read your Bible for 5 minutes!!
Like I said above, this is not about doing anything perfect, that’s impossible, but it is about starting a healthy spiritual habit, so starting is the key! I used to think that I had to do devotions for a required amount of time or God didn’t approve, or something crazy like that. So the reason I tell you to start reading your Bible for 5 minutes is to get started and not overwhelmed by the size of the Bible. I guarantee after you start reading it will be hard to put down, especially if you prayed before-hand and you know God is using what you are reading to apply to your life. I’m telling you, the Bible will transform your life! Don’t believe me? Try it for 21 days and see what you think.
3) Start in Romans or James
Ok so you may be asking, “Ok I can pray and read for 5 minutes but where do I even begin?” Personally I am not a big fan of opening up your Bible to a random page and reading whatever page you flip to because you are losing out on context. Scripture can be easily misunderstood especially if you chose a random spot to read every time. How will you even understand what you are reading? So my suggestion is start reading in Romans or James. They are both in the New Testament and they are relatable to today’s culture. I personally find them easy to understand without having to do too much extra studying. Although I believe that will happen naturally, especially if you have a study Bible or a pastor or Christian friend you can discuss what you are reading with. I suggested above to read for at least 5 minutes, if you think that is not enough or long enough to begin, then try one chapter at a time and just keep going in order through the books in the New Testament. It will help you understand the time period better when you read the books chronologically (not that you have to). Remember we are not getting stuck in a mindset of, “Devotions have to be done this way.” Do what works for you! As Nike says, Just Do It!
After you have read the bible for 5 minutes or one chapter, stop, be silent for a minute, reflect on what you read, what you feel, what questions do you have? Then…pray about it. Maybe you have figured out that not only will devotions help your understanding of God’s word, but you will be strengthening your prayer life too. Double win!! If you struggle with thoughts running through your mind during prayer time, try writing out your prayer. Writing your prayer is beneficial for many reasons; it helps you remember what you prayed for, you can write down a to-do list and then continue your prayer. During this time of prayer, again not super spiritual, there is no right or wrong way to pray, just talk to God. Tell him what is on your heart and he will listen. Praying after your devotions helps to put what you read into action.
Finally I would encourage you…DON’T GIVE UP! I know this post says daily devotions, but if you miss a day or 2 or even 7 don’t beat yourself up about it. God knows your heart. I have days where I still don’t get my devotions in because both boys are sick or we are on vacation or my schedule sporadically changes and I forget. It’s OK. God will not hold it against you. Just try to get back into the word and keep reading, praying and learning. If you are struggling with staying consistent in your devotions I would encourage you to find someone to hold you accountable. A friend, spouse or family member that will ask you if you have done your devotions and if not, why? Something I used to do is set an alarm on my phone every day, because with young kids my mind is pulled in a million directions and while it is always my intention to do my devotions and I know I feel better when I do them, I forget sometimes! The goal is not to live perfectly but intentionally. I hope that this helps you wherever you are in this season of life.
BONUS: If you would like another way to get in 5 minutes of devotional time check out the First 5 app here.
Comment how you do your daily devotions! I love hearing other perspectives and sharing as much helpful information as possible. We are all in this journey together.
Loving you all! Thanks for reading,