When it comes to devotions—a time set aside (often each day) to spend time with the Lord—many of us cringe. Yeahhhh, haven’t done that for a good two or three weeks now. The thing is, when it comes to getting in the Word and talking with God, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the dilemma that is sticking with your devotions.
Essentially, meditating on God’s Word and praying are disciplines—spiritual disciplines that take a lot of practice and intentionality. When it comes right down to it, no one is requiring you to do your devotions or meet some sort of quota for how much time you chock up talking to Jesus. That’s really not the point, but it’s a place where a lot of people like to land. Instead of looking at devotions as an item to check off your list or a requirement to make sure you’re good with God, look at it like an opportunity for a few things: engaging in a relationship, understand who Christ is and what He’s about, and allowing yourself to be shaped into His image. The advantage of daily devotions is that our forgetful human hearts and minds can truly be encouraged by daily interaction with God.
When we strip off the legalism that surrounds devotions, it takes a lot of the pressure off. That being said, it still takes self-discipline to do a lot of things: read a book, eat healthy food, exercise. If you’re determined to stick with it and grow closer to the Lord by spending time with Him, here are some ideas to get the ball rolling.
1. Post-it notes
They help with a lot of things, don’t they? If it’s a practical solution that will help you remember, than take advantage of it. Write yourself a reminder and stick the note on your bathroom mirror or on your fridge. It might seem like an overly simplified tip, but hey…if it works??
Other variations of this include setting an alarm or reminder on your cell phone. Just make sure it doesn’t go off at an inopportune time—like in the middle of class!
2. Ask someone to hold you accountable
Obviously it’s not someone else’s responsibility to make sure you do your devotions. But if you’re looking to get in a new habit, your community can be a big help to you. Ask a friend or a mentor if they’ll text you a reminder at a certain time or tell you how their devos went for the day.
Sometimes it helps knowing you don’t have to go it alone, and there’s someone out there rooting for you.
3. Try following a study plan
This doesn’t work for everyone, but if you’re someone who enjoys order and systems, following a Bible study plan might work really well for you. There are chronological plans out there, time-sensitive plans, and theme or subject-based plans.
Speaking of cell phones—use your cell phone for devotions! There are tons of apps out there nowadays where you can read the Bible, download devotionals, record prayer requests, and more. Instead of scrolling through Instagram while you’re waiting for gas to fill your tank, swipe through your devotional and get to know your Father a bit better.
If you’re not jazzed about devotions on the go, then make sure the materials you need are nearby. If bed is where you like to read and write, then make sure your Bible, notebook, and devotional book are in reaching distance. If you like to read on the couch, then plop them on the side table. The key is to figure out what works best for you, so don’t be afraid to experiment a little bit.
5. Ask for help
Pray and ask that the Lord would inspire you to stick with this discipline. He hears our prayers…even ones that seem a bit overly meta. May an increased intimacy with our Father be the fuel in your fire when the going gets tough, and may you press on even if you feel discouraged or like you’re facing setbacks. Sometimes when we don’t want to get in the Word, that’s exactly where we need to be.