Ok, to conclude this theme I will give a few practical applications that work for me!
- I guess the most obvious is to set apart time to read the Bible and pray. These are daily devotions. I’m a Lark so am best in the morning where I’m full of life and get up and go [generally]! Some folk are Nightingales and are best in late afternoon to evening, still others are Owls and are at their best late at night. I’m zonked by 9pm and so I get to bed early and rise early. You’ll have to find what suits you best.
- Next is the material to use? Depending on time I’ll start with the Word For Today as I think Bob Gass is always current and on the ball. The only downside is he generally doesn’t give you the HOW, only the WHAT! So you generally have to apply it yourself! I also have a Gideon’s New Testament and Psalms. It has a great Daily readings section which I go through. It’s for a period of 2 years, but I make it a 1 year project by doing more verses/chapters per sitting. It also has some great helps in it. I try to read a Proverb a day but can’t always fit this in. You’ll note there are 31 proverbs! That’s 1 a day, an extra one per day in a 30 day month and whatever falls in February and a leap year!? Sometimes I’ll go for a Bible character or theme or book in the Old or New Testament? You’ll have to find what suits your time schedule.
- Sometimes I use an acrostic to help me as I am easily distracted. A popular one is A.C.T.S. Adoration Confession Thanksgiving Supplication. So I’ll spend time Adoring the Lord through a Psalm, a worship song or write my own psalm or song and speak it to the Lord. Then I’ll make Confession or positive affirmations. Then Thank the Lord for all he’s done, doing and going to do. Then make Supplications, requests and prayers. Another one I do which is a bit quicker is one of my own, T.A.P. it’s sort of my tapping in to God first thing in the morning, or plugging in and switching on to God! So I start by Thanking God for all He’s done and doing, then I Adore Him, Acknowledge my failings and Accept Him afresh in my life through His spirit. Then I lay all my Prayers before Him.
- I believe structure is important. Some say I’ll just flow with the Spirit. There’s a place for that, but in Ezekiel’s valley of dry bones we see something interesting and what I call God’s MO! He first had his servant prophesy to the bones which came together, then the flesh was prophesied to which came upon the joined bones, then the Spirit was released in to the bodies! Notice how the Lord works. He sets up the skeletal structure or the framework, then He puts some meat on it, then the Spirit is breathed in to the whole finished product. This is how I prepare my preaching notes. Skeleton. [OUTLINE] flesh [I BEEF OUT THE HEADINGS] When that’s complete I lay it before the Lord and ask Him to breathe life [SPIRIT] in to the finished article. This is how I do my devotions. I need structure, I need to write things down, then I need the breath of God. I think many would benefit with some kind of structure it keeps you focused and moving in an undistracted direction! Imagine a human body without a skeleton frame to hang on. It would be a slithering mess on the floor, or a skeleton without flesh, scary Mary. And the Spirit needs a vehicle and God’s choice is flesh and bone. So, go give it a try, put a bit of structure to your devotion. It won’t cost you except half an hour or so, and who knows it may put you on a track of restoration and revival in your faith. God’s blessings. John