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.