Have you ever longed for your devotions with God to create a deeper intimacy with Him? Does your heart cry for times of beautiful worship with God throughout the day?
If so, I pray that in today’s post, you’ll find encouragement for your quiet time and devotions with God. Here are a few details of my journey and how my devotional time actually turned into beautiful worship as a way of life.
My Early Quiet Times or Devotions with God
We call moments alone with God by names such as devotional or quiet times, or spiritual habits and disciplines. As a child and teenager, I probably considered my devotions with God as more of a discipline. Each week, I’d faithfully check off my ‘Bible reading box” as I read a chapter a day in God’s Word.
After I married, while my husband attended seminary, I worked for a Christmas businessman. He introduced me to writers like Andrew Murray and A. W. Tozer by reading out loud from their classic devotionals. That whetted my appetite for making devotions with God more than just a discipline. Attending worship services and small groups fed me on Sunday and provided community. But I longed to worship God alone in a deeper way throughout the week.
Where and How Do You Find Time for Personal Devotions with God?
Finding time for personal devotions with God can be a challenge. During my years as a young working wife, I would come home exhausted. During that season I kept a small booklet of mini-devotions in my purse. I took opportunities through the day to read one or two, shooting a prayer toward heaven for strength and thanking God for His goodness. It didn’t seem like much, but it was better than no time with God at all.
When my children were small, I was a stay-at-home mom. During that season, I was grateful to grab even five minutes alone reading a few Bible verses or a brief devotional along with a short prayer. One day when I darted into the bathroom for some quiet moments, I heard a shrill, high voice singing outside my door.
“I’m having my qui-et time. I’m having MY QUI-ET TIME!”
My preschool daughter was having her quiet time, but I was not.
But our personal devotions with God are not necessarily always quiet. I still remember the story of sixteenth-century Bro. Lawrence, who called himself “the lord of all pots and pans.” He thought God had lofty purposes for His life, and He would spend large portions of his day worshiping, praying, and spending devotional time with God.
Instead, his duties planted him in the middle of a noisy kitchen washing pots and pans, while others called out to him constantly for various tasks. Yet that’s exactly where His “devotions with God” grew into an intimate relationship—and beautiful worship as a way of life—with God.
And Bro. Lawrence was not the only one who experienced that situation. The first martyred Christian, Stephen (Acts 7), grew intimately acquainted with the “God of Kitchen Duty.” You might enjoy reading about him in my book 40 Days in God’s Presence.
Our Personal Devotions with God Can Change Through the Seasons of Life
Through the years, God used both good times and challenging times to increase my thirst for Him. Once our kids started school, a quiet house greeted me since I was able to work at home. I “stole” a few chunks of time each day, in between the mounds of laundry and pressing ministry and family needs of that season. My time with God began to grow deeper and sweeter.
Sometimes that meant arising earlier than my household or prayer walking with Jesus. Reading God’s Word, using devotionals, and spending moments with Him in prayer fueled my desire for more. That’s when my devotions with God began to grow from habit to sweet worship.
Even when I would work outside my home for short periods of time, the longing for deep intimacy and connection with God continued. Because my husband was in the ministry, I often had to be creative about finding time for devotions with God. I never wanted church activity to substitute or eliminate a deeper need for intimacy with Him and for personal time alone with God.
Unconfessed sin in our lives can break our fellowship with God temporarily, and we’ve all experienced those times, haven’t we? When those “unpleasant” times would try to steal my joy, I could feel the distance and the change in my devotions with God. But my patient, heavenly Father would always nudge me back, sometimes painfully, while assuring me of His grace and love. His faithfulness and love are unchangeable.
Devotions with God Is All About Relationship
Even as I began to write full-time at home years ago, challenges still arose. Seasons and circumstances can affect us spiritually, emotionally, and physically—things we can’t always control. Illness, stress, life. But God knows that. And His love is more powerful than any circumstances or feelings that threaten to upset the balance of our lives or our devotion to Him.
God doesn’t set the timer on our devotional life. He knows our hearts better than we do. Although this post talks more about our “structured” time with God, we express our devotion to Him in so many ways: through our service to Him, with our spiritual gifts and talents, and as we give to others because of our love for Him.
Through the years I learned it’s not how much time we spend alone with God that matters. Because devotions with God is all about our relationship with Jesus, never a legalistic activity. And just as Jesus arose early to spend time with His heavenly Father, our need and our love for Him motivate us to make time to grow that relationship too.
What I Use for Structured Times of Devotions with God
I’ll write more about how to turn your devotions with God into beautiful praise and worship times in Part 2 next week, but here’s what I often use for structured devotions with God in this season of my life.
When I’m writing devotionals, as I have done for two or three decades, I may not read as many “lighter” devotional books. However, these are great for quick encouragement and inspiration—or when time won’t permit more time and study.
But to me, devotionals should always drive us to God’s Word for more–study, encouragement, and inspiration. That’s why I mostly enjoy reading—and writing—deeper devotionals.
That’s Why I Wrote a Deeper Devotional
That’s especially true in my newest devotional book just released, Day-votions® with Your Faithful Father: 90 Days with the One Who Wants to Meet All Your Needs.
I researched and included 450 Bible verses in this book, written out in almost twenty different translations or paraphrases, complete with two-way intimate prayers with our faithful heavenly Father, Bible study questions, and even journal pages. I spent over a year and a half writing it. In that book, I addressed 90 pressing needs—and 90 ways God longs to meet them—including our need for greater intimacy with Him.
Based on God’s attributes and activity in our lives and on His powerful Word, this book—and writing it—not only fed my passion to know God more; it became a worship experience for me as I discovered even more about my faithful Father’s heart and great faithfulness. My desire for that book is that it will also give readers a greater thirst to read, study, and meditate on God’s powerful truths in His Word.
Our faithful Father often uses our most difficult needs to draw us into a deeper, more beautiful relationship with Him. I could tell you time after time when He has done that for me or my family. One of the benefits of devotions with God is that when we stop, listen, and talk to Him in quiet devotion and study, we discover His faithfulness in a powerful way. And don’t we need His reminders often in this chaotic world? Don’t we all long for peace, joy, comfort, and a greater trust in Him?
What My Devotions with God Looks Like in This Season of Life
Most mornings before I start writing, I read a chapter or two in the Bible, reading through the Bible in different translations (takes me about three years to accomplish). I mark pages, record notes, and often journal my prayers. Sometimes I park on a few verses and ask the Lord to personalize them for me within the context of the Scripture and to help me apply His words to my life.
When I was trained in discipleship as a young woman, I learned to read/study the Bible for content, not mileage. I still read other classic devotionals by Oswald Chambers, Richard Foster, and Ann Spangler occasionally.
Devotions that focus on the names and attributes of God/Jesus draw me close to God, because that has been a passion of mine to write about ever since I first started writing over 40 years ago. I often “snack” on other new Christian living books and shorter devotionals as well.
Finding time for devotions with God is not always easy, but it’s vital. It sets the tone and balance for our day, and strengthens us mentally, spiritually, and even physically.
Seasons bring both change and challenge. If we ask God for His creative help and keep seeking Him to make our devotion with Him a beautiful time of worship and even a way of life, He will be faithful to meet that need and desire. And the more we seek Him, the more our relationship with Him and our love for Him (and others) will grow.
Do You Understand Your Faithful Father’s Heart?
*If you missed them, you might also enjoy these posts: When the Future Seems Uncertain, Where Is Your Security,” “When You Need Someone to Talk To,” and “When Burdens Are Too Heavy, What Can You Do?”
Next Week: How to Turn Devotions with God into Beautiful Worship Times – Part 2
It’s Your Turn
Would you like to know more about your faithful Father’s heart and how He wants to spend time with you daily? What is your biggest challenge in finding meaningful times for devotions with God? I enjoy hearing from readers. You can always write me through my contact page. Just fill out the basic name and address info, and then it will come to me. Your name or info is not shared with anyone.
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