Spending time with God is at the heart of the Christian life. Really and truly making space for God to speak and for you as well is paramount for us to grow and become the people God created us to be. But let me tell you from experience that this is more easily said than done. Here are a few things to consider as you launch into a devotional life.
1) Your best time.
Finding the best time in terms of time and attention is paramount. I see more people slip back because they chose poorly. Don’t fall into the trap that you have to get up at 4am and make it happen. If you are a morning person then go for it! But if you are not…don’t set yourself up for failure. A devotional time at 10pm or at 11am or anywhere in between works just fine. The key is to find a time that works for you and stick to it for a while.
For me, the morning works best. My energy and attention is optimum. I also have control over my time if I get up before the rest of the world! But this is me, you do you!
2) Your natural way of learning and communicating.
If you are a reader then make sure that is a big part of what you do. If you are an auditory learner then find a way to incorporate Scripture and praying out loud and not simply in your head. I use YouVersion (a bible app) often and it has the ability to read to me. I can do it in the car or on the treadmill and anywhere else I find myself with a few moments. If you are easily distracted (like me!) maybe your best bet is to write your prayers and stay focused that way. If you are a writer, maybe journaling will be what you do to connect to God.
Experimentation is not out of bounds! As a matter of fact it may be your best way forward. Trying, testing, admitting what works and then making adjustments. I can tell you that I’ve been doing this for decades and I am just now finding a time and way that works. So dont worry if it takes a while. I also find that my devotional life has changed over time. That is okay too. With any relationship, as we grow closer the way we communicate changes. It’s the same with God.
3) Don’t make things to complicated.
The other thing I have seen leading to failure is doing too much too soon. A devotional life is much like a muscle. Your first run won’t be a 10 miler. If that is the case we will find ourselves falling way short and giving up. Starting at a mile and building from there is a much better strategy. So it is with our devotional life. I’ve said before, 5 minutes is enough…will it be enough after a year? Probably not because you will find yourself desiring more time with God. But if you are beginning…5 minutes definitely works. Five minutes is enough to read a chapter of the Bible and say a prayer. Do that for a week and I am convinced 5 turns to 10 which turns to 15 and so on. Trust that God will grow your desire and your ability!
The most important thing is to start and be consistent. I know from experience that everything else takes care of itself.