HOW TO HAVE DAILY DEVOTIONAL TIME
I. Should you have a daily time studying Scripture and praying?
The example of those in Scripture is clear. King David said, “LORD, I have called daily upon You; I have stretched out my hands to You” (Psalm 88:9). Those at Berea “received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). Scripture also promises that God wants to daily load us with His benefits and blessings (Ps. 68:19). Without the study of God’s Word or consistent prayer we couldn't know these blessings nor would we appropriate them. Therefore, to truly grow in your Christian life you must learn how to have a daily quiet time with God.
II. A simple Bible study method
A. Discipline yourself to a certain time of the day to read and pray. (Example: early morning before work, at lunch time, or in the evening after others have gone to bed). Establishing the habit of a specific time of day helps you to be consistent. The Scripture encourages you to, "Exercise (train or discipline) yourself to godliness" (1 Timothy 4:7). If you want to grow into a godly person your daily time with God is essential.
B. Next, find a place where you will not be distracted by people or noise. This helps in concentration and receptiveness to the word. (In your room, in your car at lunch, at a coffee shop, at a park)
C. Begin by reading one chapter at a time from the New Testament. Don't jump from place to place, but read from the beginning of a book to the end. Begin with the Gospel of John and read all the way through the Bible.
D. As you read each chapter, pick out one or tow verses that interest you. Write these verses out on a piece of paper. Leave space on your paper for answering the following questions.
E. First, write one sentence describing in your own words, what you observe the verse is saying.
(Example: John 1:12, “Those who receive Jesus become His children.”)
F. With this same verse ask yourself, why is this passage important? Does it reveal something about the character of God? Does it reveal a responsibility you have? Is there a promise given? Is this a command? Is this an example you should follow? Do the same with any additional verses.
(Example: John 1:12, “This is promise being made, that if anyone believes they will become His children.)
G. Next, ask yourself how you can apply this truth to your life. This requires careful consideration. What action should you take? Do you need to confess a sin? Do you need to stop doing something? Should you start doing something differently? Ask forgiveness? How will you obey this command? Must you surrender your heart? Specifically, how will you carry out these changes in your actions or attitudes? Write these conclusions on your paper. (Example: John 1:12, “This verse reveals to me that if I have believed in Jesus then I have become His child and have entered into His family.”)
H. Pray now and ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit and to put into your heart what is necessary to completely obey His word. (Example: “God please help me to believe all that your Word promises.”)
I. Follow these steps for any additional verses.
J. For new believers, be sure to read through the New Testament several times before reading the Old Testament. This will better help you to understand the Old Testament.
III. Why do most people have a hard time praying regularly?
A. It takes real faith to speak regularly to an unseen God (Heb. 11:1, 27).
B. We get apathetic and lazy not seeing our need (Is. 43:22) (Luke 22:45).
C. We get independent and trust in ourselves, or in others (Is. 30:1-2).
D. A lack of discipline (1 Tim. 4:7).
IV. What are the benefits of regular prayer time?
A. In a regular prayer time is where you will be filled with the Holy Spirit, the joy of the Lord, and find communion with God (John 16:24) (Luke 11:13).
B. A regular prayer time will enable you to find release from the anxiety and worry of everyday life (Phil. 4:6-8).
C. Regular prayer will enable you to find victory over temptation (Luke 22:46).
D. Prayer will build you up in your faith (Jude 20).
E. Praying will make you strong in spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:10-18) (Mark 3:27).
F. Prayer helps others that you are interceding for (Phil. 1:19) (Rom. 15:30-32)
(2 Cor. 1:11).
G. Praying regularly will enable you to see "great and mighty things" (Jer. 33:3).
V. What should you pray about?
Jesus gave to His disciples a simple model for prayer. The most important issues are covered within this prayer. These are the basic elements of an effective prayer life (Matt. 6:9-13).
1. Acknowledge that God is your Father and ruler in heaven.
("Our Father in heaven")
2. Give praise to Him. ("Hallowed be Your Name")
3. Acknowledge that your desire is for His kingdom and will to be done in whatever you pray about. ("Your kingdom come, your will be done")
4. Pray about your specific needs. ("Our daily bread")
5. Ask for personal forgiveness concerning your sins. ("Forgive us")
6. Be sure you are granting forgiveness to others who have offended you. ("As we forgive")
7. Pray to be kept from temptation. ("Lead us not")
8. Acknowledge that you believe that God’s purpose will reign supreme. ("For Yours is the kingdom and power and glory forever")
VI. A simple method for your prayer time
A. Discipline yourself to a specific time of day that is devoted to prayer. This will help you to be consistent. (Example: before you start your day's work, before you study, or before you eat lunch.)
B. If you have a difficult time concentrating on what you are praying for, take these steps.
1. Find a place with the least amount of distraction.
2. Make a list of what and whom you want to pray for.
C. So you won’t forget your own need for change, make a list of every area you are failing in. This helps you to consistently ask God for His help in the areas where you are struggling (Prov. 28:13) (Ps. 32:5) (Ps. 90:8).
D. So you won’t forget what the Lord has done for you, make a list of answered prayers. This will help you to be continually thankful, even when things are not going well right then (Ps. 103:1-2).
"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."