By Mark Altrogge:
There is nothing more important than spending regular time with the Lord.
In John 15, Jesus said:
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (4, 5)
I have to have my devotions first thing in the day or I get too distracted. Find a time that works best for you and try to establish a consistent habit. Give this little system (or some variation of it) a try and you will find you can easily spend 45 minutes with the Lord. If this seems like too much start with one small part but try to do it every day. For example, try to read the Bible five minutes a day. It may not seem like much, but if you do it consistently you will really benefit from it. Ok, here’s an easy way to spend 45 minutes a day with the Lord:
5 minutes – Scripture memorization
20 minutes – Read or listen to 3 chapters of the Bible
5 minutes – Write things you’re thankful for
15 minutes – Pray
Ok, let’s elaborate:
5 minutes – Scripture memorization. There are many ways to reach memorize scripture. You can listen to scripture set to music (e.g. Hide the Word). Or write down a Scripture on one side of a 3 x 5 card and the reference on the back. A good way to memorize is to focus first on key phrases rather than every word. For example, Ephesians 3:20-21 says:
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Here are the six key phrases:
far more abundantly
ask or think,
power at work
glory in the church
throughout all generations
Focus on key phrases first. As you do, the other words will fall into place. Spend 5 minutes at the beginning of your devotions reviewing a scripture or two. If you do this every day, it won’t be long before you will have a lot of scriptures memorized.
20 minutes: Read (or listen to) 3 chapters of the Bible. At 3 chapters a day, you read almost the whole Bible in a year (there are 1189 chapters in the Bible. If you divide this by 365 it comes out to 3.26 chapters a day). There are a couple of chapters of names of ancestors and allotments of land to Israel’s tribes which you could skip if you want to listen to the whole Bible in a year.
5 minutes: Write things you’re thankful for. I use a moleskin journal and a nice fountain pen and write a single page of things I’m thankful for. I write it out in prayer form, e.g., Lord Jesus, thank you for another day. Thank you for the gift of sleep, and for your protection during the night, etc.
15 minutes: Pray. Often I use prayers I’ve written out in various categories, e.g. my family, God’s kingdom come, our nation, the persecuted church, etc. I may pray for one or two categories a day. Though I don’t restrict myself to using my written prayers, I’ve found that by referring to them it helps keep me on track. I hope to elaborate more on this in a future blog post.
There you go. Devise your own plan and try to make it a habit. Again, start small if 45 minutes seems too long. Spend 1 minute on a Scripture, read 5 minutes, etc. The key is to try to be consistent. Nothing satisfies or yields more joy than spending time with Jesus.
I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.
The original post is here.