Daily Devotions: Definitions and Suggestions

How would you define “doing your devotions?”

What is it, exactly?

Honestly, I am a preacher/pastor who has a difficult time doing my “daily devotions.” Frankly, I am even unsure the term “devotions” is actually appropriate. Something about it often strikes me as magical, prescriptive, or simply religious.

You see, I’m the type of person who sorta recoils from scripted religious stuff; I don’t even like responsive reading in church! Whenever a preacher says “Repeat after me…” in a sermon, I usually don’t. Therefore, when I go into a Christian book store like Lifeway and see shelves of “devotionals” and devotional aids – many written by the most popular authors of the day – I feel like I’m being pandered to, the object of some Nashvillian marketing team.

Whatever happened to the promise from Jesus that the Comforter would come and guide me into all truth (John 16:13)? What about the discernment of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14)? Do I need the products of publishing elites to draw me closer to the Lord? Do I really need to read the polished words of some slick conference speaker to better understand the Word of God? Of course not.

But there does need to be some regularity of personal conversation with my heavenly Father. There needs to be regular communication with Jesus. How else could one develop a personal relationship with Someone if they never spent some one-to-one time together?

But again, how does one do it without it becoming mechanical? How does one keep it from becoming routine? How does one do it without letting someone else do all the work? How does one do it without it becoming just one more thing to check off the list?

I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way to regularly spend time with God; yet, you may have some way that works best for you. Would you mind sharing it?



Filed under Bible Study, Christian Maturity, Prayer

10 responses to “Daily Devotions: Definitions and Suggestions

  1. I personally set my alarm quite early enough to have a longer breakfast with my Savior. I read the Word (it may take a long time to get through a book of the Bible) I try to let the Holy Spirit speak to my spirit. I pray as lead and try to find a “concept or just a thought for my work day that I can share with the guys at work that day (ya they think I have a couple of cogs loose but they listen and talk as well). When I get to work I do not go in until I have prayed for the guys, my boss, and the owner of the company so I will enter ready to work not so much for them but for the Lord. This is how I do my best and I am ready to do my best and maybe hear Gods still small voice in a loud work place. This works well for me.

  2. Well, I don’t like responsive readings much either.

    I tend to be quite regimented in my daily life. It’s rare that I deviate much from what I do every day. In fact, I try to pre plan my deviations, and unplanned ones tend to agitate me.

    On the good side, those disciplines allow me to be very productive with my time and I waste little of it. On the bad side, sometimes I get so wrapped in my daily itinerary I sometimes forget to stop and just listen to the Holy Spirit. Because I do read so many things, and write a lot of things: blog posts, Sunday School lessons, commenting and talking to people, and just general note taking my “devotions” tend to happen during the course of all that….if I am paying attention.

    • I believe that many times we bi-vocational guys get the bulk of criticism for cross-training devotions. But sometimes we don’t have the luxury of regularly-scheduled “quiet time” when what we read or study is unconnected to preparation for sermons.

      • That’s a great point brother Anthony. Sometimes multi tasking is necessary. Just gotta learn when to step back and listen.

        Cross training devotions…..what a great way of putting it!

      • And P.S. I don’t think people actually get how much time it takes you guys to prepare for preaching a Sermon. I spend several hours easy just getting ready for a Sunday School lesson where we have a lesson and even a commentary to use. People really ought to think about that, and that it’s three times a week.

  3. Hi Anthony,
    There was a time when my husband and I were very structured with our devotions. We read the Bible frequently, prayed close to one hour every day for a while. I think this provided many benefits for us that seem to have lasted over the years. We were new Christians during this time.

    Today, many years later, I do not have this structure. I often pray in the car while listening to a Christian radio station. I find some songs inspire me to give praise to God, pray to God about something, or just speak to God. My prayer is more spontaneous today. I would like to have more structure for some of my praying to God. At present my Bible reading is mostly being done online by audio on You Tube. I follow some teaching online that I read quite often.

  4. Following trendy devotional study guides like The Prayer of Jabez, The Purpose Driven Life, etc. were all nice at first, but they can’t replace personal, one-on-one time with God. I noticed with each, though I learned something new along the way, they also took away from time I would normally spend simply listening – my greatest challenge. As for responsive readings in corporate services, to each his own. Like reciting Matthew 6:9-13, I suppose sometimes it helps “prime the pump” but personally I find them uninspiring. Good post, Sir!

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