What my devotion time looked like this morning
Warning: This post is meant to be descriptive NOT prescriptive. I’m not trying to tell the world that I’ve got this whole thing down or that you need to do what I do. But, I think that sometimes it helps to share what we are up to so that we each have examples we can follow or learn from.
Step One: Prayer
Ok, so step one of my devotion time is really like step 3 or 4 of my day. After waking up I usually stumble downstairs to make the coffee. Sometimes I wish I was one of those Christians that didn’t always talk about coffee (what is it with Christians and the coffee/coffeeshop culture?) but, I am who I am.
Then, on a good day I settle into my couch. Couches are good for devotions because A.) They have a back and a bottom that allow you to sit and B.) Sitting is a good intermediary step between the bed and standing/walking.
Then comes the prayer. Because my mind is usually fairly groggy at this point (and I even consider myself to be a morning person) I start with “The Valley of Vision” a book of Puritan prayers. At this hour in the morning (6:15ish) my mind doesn’t have too many words to think or say. I let the words in this book become my own. I use them as a jumping off point for further prayer later on. With this book, I find myself praying for things that naturally I would never think of. I’ve used different books, but this is the one I’m hooked on lately. You don’t have to be a Puritan (are there any of those?) to read it (I am definitely not!)
Step Two: The Word
Next comes my time in the Bible. Right now I’m reading a chapter in the Old Testament, and one in the New. Today it was Nehemiah 5 and the book of 3rd John. As I read I usually have a highlighter with me to mark the pages up as I read. Later, in Step Three, I will return to these highlighted passages to help focus my reflections. The highlighter I use is a super-fancy Bible highlighter I bought on Amazon. It doesn’t bleed through the pages, and is actually more like a crayon than a typical highlighter. I love it.
I also cannot recommend highly enough the use of a good study Bible. I’ve recommended a few like this one or this one. Even being the genius pastor/seminary graduate I am, I still find myself asking questions and gleaning insights from the notes. Everyone needs one.
Step Three: Reflection
After looking at my highlights again, I start to take notes in my favorite little notebook. I think it’s called a “Travelers Notebook” but, it’s basically a leather cover where I keep 4 notebooks. This thing has changed my organizational life for the better.
Anyway, one of the notebooks is my Bible/Prayer Journal. For a while I was just taking notes/writing quotes/scribbling prayers on blank pages in a Moleskine, but my mind craved more structure. If your brain works the same way, you can check out the pages I use on my Etsy shop. Basically, I have space to ask my questions that I want to look up, space to think about what God is calling me to do/change in life, space to confess, and a spot to reflect on the Good News I heard and the promises God made. I do also have a blank page for any other random things that come to mind or that I want to pray about.
Basically, I have space to ask my questions that I want to look up, space to think about what God is calling me to do/change in life, space to confess, and a spot to reflect on the Good News I heard and the promises God made. I do also have a blank page for any other random things that come to mind or that I want to pray about.
Step Four: Prayer
In the back of the aforementioned notebook I have a few pages where I keep my “Master Prayer List” – basically everything I want to pray for. Anytime someone asks me to pray for them, it goes in this book. I also have a “Prayer Schedule” page. For example, on Mondays I pray for the government and my leaders, Tuesday for the Church/my denomination/and my seminary, Wednesday I pray for the lost, etc.
I try to spend 10-15 minutes in prayer at this point. But, to be honest, even with the structure I’ve given myself I find my mind wandering. Note to self: Stop getting distracted and just do it.
Step Five: Planning the Day
At this point, for all intents and purposes my formal “Devotion” time is over. Now I move onto another notebook that helps me organize my weeks and days. Besides for scribbling down my to-do list, I also note what I’m grateful for, who I can serve this day, where I’ve seen God working, and what would make today great. If this would help you – check out my Etsy shop here.
That’s pretty much it. Again, this was not supposed to be a prescription on “How To Do Devotions” But, maybe (hopefully) someone will be encouraged.
If you’ve liked what you read and want to read more, check out our little book called, “Growing Up: In, with, and under Jesus” on Amazon