Devotions, quiet times – whatever name we use, we know that spending time with God is important. Knowing is one thing, though, and doing is another.  I know flossing and exercise are really important too.  But I struggle to do both with any kind of consistency.  As much as I hate to admit it, I struggle just as much to spend consistent time with God. But instead of giving up, I finally found a solution that fits my life.

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)

Years ago, I read an author who lived by the rule, “No Bible, no breakfast.” It was his way of prioritizing his devotional time.  Since skipping breakfast was no fun, he quickly adopted a morning routine that left plenty of time for Jesus.

There’s a lot of wisdom in having a quiet time first thing in the morning. Except that I am terrible at it.  I’m also terrible at praying right before bed. Recently, I realized that instead of beating myself up, I needed to create a habit that would work for me.  So I evaluated my daily routine and made my own rule:  No Bible, No TV.

After a long day of work, chores and taking care of a toddler, I usually flop on the couch with the remote.  Funny how I could always find time to watch a show, but I couldn’t find time to be with my Heavenly Father.  “Ah ha!,” I thought.  “There’s my window.”  I got out my phone and set a daily alarm for 7:45 PM. When the alarm goes off, I take some time to read and pray and I don’t flop on the couch until afterwards.

No Bible, no TV. It’s becoming a habit. It works for me. What will work for you?

Find your window. Are you a morning person?  A night owl?  Are you a shift worker or an exhausted parent who’s sleepy most of the time?  Try to pinpoint a time of day that will actually work for you.  Would your lunch hour work?  You might need to get creative.

Set up a cue. A cue is a connection your brain makes between two things.  It’s how habits are formed. Set up a cue for yourself that will help you develop a devotional habit.  “Whenever I rock my baby to sleep, I will pray.”  “I will read my Bible while I have my morning coffee.” If you’re someone who needs to move, you could listen to the Bible and pray during your walks or runs.

Start small. Don’t aim for hour-long sessions with Jesus just yet.  Start with 10-15 minutes.  You’ll be amazed at how much difference even 15 minutes every day will make.

Photo Credit: Magnus Lindvall