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 have finally found a solution that suits me.

“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 not an option he liked, 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 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 before flopping on the couch.

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 is sleepy most of the time? Try to pinpoint a time of day that will actually work for you. 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 are someone who needs to move to concentrate, 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.

updated August 2019

Photo Credit: Magnus Lindvall