Humans are creatures of habit, and a routine will help you develop the habit of spending intentional time with Father God. If you don't have a devotional practice, consider starting one.
Perhaps you could think of your devotional practice as a date. There's no better way to spend time with your Father in Heaven than on a date. You can have the most extraordinary time with Him! He loves you unconditionally and wants you to live your best life. Using the dating concept as a framework, here are tips to help your devotional practice.
1. Pick a time and put it on your calendar
Consider meeting with Father God at the same time every day. A regular time will help make your devotional practice consistent. The length of time is not as important as the quality of the time. Every date doesn't have to be a five-course meal. A coffee date can be great too. Perhaps you don't need to do more than five minutes at first; even that little bit can be beneficial when done consistently. If it's your practice for other events, set the alarm on your phone or watch to remind yourself when to start each day's devotional time. This way, you won't forget or let other things get in the way.
And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.
- Matthew 14:23
2. Pick a place
Consider the kitchen table, the home office, a reading nook, or any location that prepares your spirit, mind, and body to commune with the Lord. If possible, choose a spot where other things will not distract you. The Bible tells us that Jesus often went to a mountain to pray. It was because he wanted alone time with God. While the peak may have had great views, a key benefit was that it provided the quiet needed for bonding. Jesus wanted to commune with his Father in heaven, so he sought an environment to facilitate relationship building.
3. Get excited and prepare
Anticipate the time you will spend with Father God and think about the things you want to learn and what you want to share with Him. Just as you would pick an outfit and accessories, gather the tools needed for a comfortable and successful date. Items to consider include:
a journal or notebook
a pen or pencil
Make sure you have everything you need before starting your date with Father God.
4. Create an itinerary
Create an outline for how you will spend the time. Remember to heed the guidance of the Holy Spirit at all times. Choose a simple format that works best for you — such as Bible reading, scripture reading followed by prayer, or just prayer alone. It doesn't matter what form of devotion you choose; merely ensure it feels comfortable for you so that it readily becomes part of your daily routine. Don't worry about how long your date should be or whether it's too short or too long — do what feels right for now and adjust as needed once you get into a rhythm.
5. Enjoy the date
As you begin your date, remember to ask Father God to fill you with His Holy Spirit so that He can speak to you. Pray and meditate on what God wants to show you through this experience. Follow His guidance as He leads you to read from scripture or other devotional texts that will help guide your conversation with Him during this time. Use this time to ask Father God how He wants you to spend your day. Ask Him what His plans are for you.
6. Don't eat and run
Linger and sit in silence for at least a moment to hear what Father God has to say to you. The devotional experience is not something you do to check off a box on your spiritual checklist. It should be an intimate encounter with Father God. Therefore sit still long enough to listen for His voice! Then perhaps take time to make notes in your journal. Journaling will allow you to record what Father God tells you so you can take action and celebrate answered prayers.
7. Follow up
Follow up and check in with Father God throughout the day. Tell Him what a wonderful time you had during your date and that you look forward to your next gathering. No matter how busy or distracted you may be, there are always moments throughout the day when you can take time and honor your Heavenly Father by talking to Him or listening to what He has to say.
Devotional practice is an investment in your spiritual life. We often put off improving our relationship with Father God for later. Stop delaying something that can make such an impact on your life. Start today!