First, I couldn’t agree more with Elliot when she said “having a quiet time with the Lord every day is absolutely essential if you expect to grow spiritually.” But so many of us have excuse after excuse as to why we don’t have time to sit and do devotions. A lot of reasons are very valid – but overall, if you really want to spend time with the Lord, you can make time. And this may take actual planning… plan the time and make sure you stick with it. :)
As for just reading the Bible, here are some great ideas of how to make this time a bit deeper and also to really help you focus and glean from it, rather than doing a mere quick read and move on.
Pray: Pray, first, for the Holy Spirit’s teaching.
Questions: After you’ve done your reading, ask yourself some questions about it.
What does this passage teach me about…
- Jesus Christ
- The Holy Spirit
- Sins to confess or avoid
- Commands to obey
- What Christian love is
Keep a notebook and write down some of your answers that you’ve found to the above questions, or anything else you learned.
If you really enjoy journaling, here are a few more ideas of things to focus on in your notebook:
Application: Note ways in which you intend to apply what you’ve learned to your life.
Key Verse: Jot down a key verse (or verses) that you may want to memorize.
Quotations: Quotes from your spiritual reading other than the Bible; also, perhaps prayers from the words of hymns that you want to make your own.
Prayer Requests: Write down some of your special prayer requests with the date. Record the answer when it comes.
Thanksgiving: Reasons for thanksgiving.
I really believe that doing these things make for a much deeper and intimate quiet time with the Lord, and I hope if there is anyone struggling in this area, they’ll give these ideas a try!
Also, for anyone who also enjoys reading another book along with their Bible in their devotional time, here are a few that I absolutely love and highly recommend:
- Lord, I Give You This Day by Kay Arthur
- Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon
- The Valley of Vision by Arthur Bennett
- My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers
- A 30-Day Walk With God in the Psalms by Nancy Leigh DeMoss