When it comes to morning devotions, for many it is either a hit or a miss. It is either a blessing or it is a chore.
Let me briefly suggest three things to help you achieve better morning devotions.
1. Become An Early-Riser
[dropcap]I[/dropcap] have documented in another post the consistent Biblical example of rising early, from Abraham to Joshua to David to Mary, and on and on. There are also numerous historical examples of those who rose early to write, read, ponder, and plan their day.
Unfortunately, there is a social stigma today that has convinced our culture that we must dread early mornings. But do not buy the hype. Be wise and open to change.
In fact many of us, though we may not have realized it, are actually less productive in the late night hours. We find our minds wandering. We find ourselves getting sidetracked. If that is you, then just go to bed. Consider a change of schedule. Anticipate waking early with a fresh mind, a mind fresh to seek the Lord.
Another perk is for those with children. I don’t know about you, but my day is always a little tougher when I wake up to the sounds of already wound up children. If I rise early, I can prepare my heart and mind for seeking God in solitude, and am better able to subsequently love Him and my neighbor that day.
Brew a fresh cup of coffee before you get started to stir yourself up. If you do not drink coffee try an alternative (tea, smoothie, water, juice).
2. Your Bible Alone
This is key. I wrote a post a year or so ago about the importance of relying on the Holy Spirit alone in certain occasions while reading our Bible. I do not mean we should neglect ever seeking helps, commentaries, study bibles, etc., but I do not think these extra-biblical materials are profitable in a morning devotional setting. Again, see the above mentioned post for a great example of this found in George Mueller.
Morning devotions include not only Bible reading, but it is equally important to incorporate prayer during your reading. Let God’s word initiate prayer. This combination is real strength for the soul. By casting off extra helps, we are allowing solely the Holy Spirit to aid us, teach us, and convict us, and we are allowing Him to drive us to prayer.
There are other times where we should consult other materials in studying the word, but morning devotions should consist of you, your Bible, and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
3. Have A Plan
Bible reading plans can be a real drag sometimes, however, I find them necessary.
Why? Well, left to our own sleepiness that wanes sometimes every so slowly in the morning, and without a reading plan, we can fall prey to just arbitrarily flipping around in our Bibles, or just reading a small passage, leading to feel justified in doing our “morning duty.”
On the other hand, many yearly plans leave you ‘New Testament Deficient,’ reading it only a few months out of the year (Chronological), or have you flipping around so much that you easily lose track of what you read previously (M’Cheyne’s).
In addition, many drag it out to two years, creating too much space and time, and thus an inability to draw connections or to grasp the big picture.
In reading the Puritans as well as other great saints before us, I am convinced that we need to 1.) Read our Bibles a lot more and 2.) We need to be in both Testaments all the time.
That being said, here is the plan I currently use, delight in, and have no intention of stopping any time soon. Download it. Print it. Put it in Evernote. It is a 4 month plan, leading you to reading the Bible three times a year. In addition, you are in the OT and NT daily.
Give yourself an hour every morning and there will be sufficient time to finish the reading and to incorporate prayer. If not, there is a day off each week to catch up. Diligently seek to create better morning devotions as there will be a great reward in doing so.
So what suggestions do you have or what steps do you take to create better morning devotions? Let us know in the comments below.
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