“I just love my personal devotion time. I get in my closet, fall on my knees, and praise the Lord. I treasure that time with Him. Me and God all alone. It’s the best part of my day. I couldn’t survive without it.”
As this sweet, older woman shared her heart about her personal devotions, I stood there wondering why I felt like she was speaking a foreign language. I was sixteen years old. I had been a Christian for many years, had memorized tons of Scripture, and had read my Bible on a daily basis. Despite these “Christian credentials,” my personal devotions felt nothing like this sweet lady’s description of her own time.
Since then, I’ve gone through seasons of having awesome personal devotional times and seasons when my time with the Lord felt like wandering in the desert. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always wanted to have an incredibly impactful devotional time. I love God. I’m so grateful for Jesus. I’m thankful for God’s Word. But despite having these desires, meaningful personal devotions have often been a struggle for me. Can you relate?
Maybe you (like me) desire to dig into God’s Word, meditate on Scripture, and pray powerful prayers. But (again, like me) you’re just not sure how to make it happen.
Five Tools You Need in Your Belt
I’ve learned that with a few simple tools in my belt I can make my personal devotion time one of meaning, connection, and revival. These tools have been transformational! They aren’t perfect, and they may not work for everyone, but they’ve helped me tremendously. Here are five tools to get the most out of your time with the Lord.
1. You have to open your Bible.
It’s hard to have a deep and meaningful devotional time if you don’t include God’s Word in the process.
Hebrews 4:12 describes God’s Word this way: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Wow! The Bible is a powerful book. If you want to hear from God, run to His Word! Blogs about God’s Word aren’t a good replacement. (Not even this one!) Neither is a quick glimpse of a pretty passage on Pinterest. Grab your Bible. Open it, and dig in!
2. Prepare your heart.
I noticed that my personal devotion time is often started in a frenzy. I wake up, open my Bible, try to keep my mind focused, read a chapter or two, close the Bible, and forget everything I just read. Sound familiar?
I noticed a big difference in my ability to focus when I started preparing my heart and calming myself at the start of my devotional time. I like to prepare my heart by listening to a hymn or singing a praise song. I find that doing this helps me to get my mind focused on God and quiets my frenzied heart.
3. Pick a book of the Bible, and finish it.
I’ve found that flipping open to a certain passage and just reading whatever my eyes land on doesn’t set me up for success in growing in knowledge and wisdom. I highly recommend picking a specific book of the Bible and taking your time to read through that book.
James, John, Ephesians, 1 and 2 Peter are all great places to start. I typically put a bookmark in the book I’m reading and move it back as I read through the chapters. It’s a simple tool that keeps me from reading randomly.
4. Grab a study guide.
Bible study guides can be very, very helpful in provoking thought and forcing you to dig deeper. I’ve been hugely blessed by Bible study guides that have taken my meager understanding of Scripture to a deeper level.
I highly recommend John MacArthur’s Bible study book guides. The guides take you through entire books of the Bible, include his commentary, and ask probing questions to help you understand the Bible passages in a deeper way.
5. Bring your journal and a pen.
Having a journal by my side during my personal devotional time has been a game-changer for me. I love to pause my Bible reading and write down verses that stand out, record prayers that come to mind, write out praises, and just journal my heart and thoughts as they relate to what I’m reading.
Written by Bethany Baird