As a woman of faith, I have tried many different ways to engage in daily devotionals. I have purchased a lot of devotional books. I have utilized the YouVersion Bible App. I have had daily devotional emails sent my way as a reminder. I have learned a lot from books, apps, and emails. I also have experienced their limitations.
There are as many ways to worship the Lord as there may be stars in the sky, and I do not want to limit how you approach your devotions or tell you that there is one distinct way to go about it. However, I have come to believe as followers of Christ, there are several must-have components of good devotional practice. What you must have can only be found in and supported by the Word that comes from the Bible.
As followers of Christ, we need to approach the throne of God with reverence. A person cannot be reverent without intention. Reverence, by definition, implies showing respect. Respect can only be shown when we give full attention to the object of our respect. The intentional follower of Christ should come to the feet of Jesus and surrender both heart and mind to be filled with the Word, remembering that the Word is alive. Proverbs 3:5-6, one of my favorite verses, says,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (NIV).
When we surrender both heart and mind in reverence and worship of our Lord, we bring the fullness of our being to be filled with the Spirit, to be changed by the power of Christ in us. Truly amazing.
- The Word
For those who may not recognize why I capitalize Word, it is intentional. The Word is alive and refers to someone specific; therefore, it is a proper noun. John 1:1 states,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (NIV).
The “Word was God”. Wow! Amazing, right! Christ’s sacrifice created the conduit by which we are able to be in a relationship with God, our Creator. God, the vinedresser, tends the vine, Jesus, and the branches or believers (John 15). The Word provides us with direct access to the character of God. As such, we need the Word in order to truly show devotion and be in worship with God.
I used to think I was great at praying, simply because I asked God a lot of stuff all day long. “Lord, why does my lunch break go so fast?” “Lord, please help me get through this meeting again.” And, so on. Then I read that prayer is a form of worship, whereby the Christian “adores, confesses, praises, and supplicates” God in prayer (Marshall et al., 1996, p. 947). Um, yep, hadn’t really been doing all that. It is not to say that having a conversation with God as you go through your day is not a form of prayer or relationship with God. But, again, when we are unintentional about our prayers, particularly during devotionals, we can expect a lackluster result. Not by any means on God’s part, but rather on our own. Prayer rests on God’s divine character and our willingness to recognize his sovereignty in our relationship with him (Marshall et al., 1996). When we approach prayer this way, it is much more likely that we won’t just hear the echo of our own voice, but rather, hear God’s response. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says,
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (NIV).
Just think, God, our Creator, a divine and all-knowing being wants to be in a relationship with us, his creation. Wow. A little reverence and intention on our part don’t seem like too much to ask!
I engage in daily devotionals. Every day is a little different for me, and I like it that way. I may pick a book of the Bible, a verse from an app, or a devotional book. What doesn’t change is my intention, engaging the Word and turning my eyes toward Him with prayers from the heart.
I would love to hear how you engage in your daily devotionals! Please share in the comments.
Contributed by Liz Hunt
Marshall, H., Marshall, A.R., Packer, J.I., & Wiseman, D.J. (Eds.) (1996). New Bible Dictionary. 3rd Ed. Nottingham, England: InterVarsity Press.