Struggling with devotional time
I am sure I am always learning but right now I am a big apologist that we should strive to enjoy our devotional time. This doesn’t mean that if we don’t feel like it we should skip it. But rather that if you are sitting there in front of your Bible in absolute boredom it isn’t much of a praise to God either.
It’s like going on a date just because you have to. Or rejoicing at your parent’s birthday in a forceful way. It is a bit contradictory, and perhaps to be honest it is the same as if you didn’t.
In the Bible, God’s relationship with us human beings is compared to many pictures of daily life. It is like God kneels close to us, finite and small, and tries to explain real simple how our relationship with him can be. Among them are the images of lovers (check Songs of Solomon for example), or parents and children (i.e. Isaiah 49:15).
We do not meet a loved one because we have to. We do because we love them. And even when the relationship has grown older or is going through less exciting times, you (should) make intentional time for it because he/she is important for you. It follows naturally that you two try to enjoy time with each other.
I believe so it should be with our devotional time. Enjoying it is part of delighting in the presence of each other. And we don’t always need to do the same. We just have to do something together. Besides enjoyment overflows with praise. And praising God is our purpose in life. Also, we are more likely to do things we enjoy.
All good reasons to strive to enjoy our devotional time?
How can I enjoy it?
The Bible is central. But that doesn’t mean we need to always read. We can incorporate the text in different practices that lead us to intake it into our beings. So a couple of days I decided to ask friends what they were doing to enjoy their devotional time when they were struggling with it. Here is the resulting list :
- listening to the bible being read;
- learning reflective ways of reading the bible, e.g. Lectio Divina;
- using music/songs as part of prayer, or even part of reflecting on scripture;
- Pick a Psalm and write a song for it
- using devotional apps or different websites (i.e. http://www.pray-as-you-go.org/70/ is a nice app were somebody else is reading scripture and give you some questions to think about.)
- learning to put prayer prompts throughout the day (e.g. Facebook feed, people around you, brushing teeth, listening to the news etc) (if you are unsure of what this means, read “practice of the presence of God, by brother Lawrence);
- having a prayer photo album;
- scripture memory passages that can help reflection during the day
- Reading a children’s Bible (i.e. Jesus storybook Bible)
- Praying using a portion of scripture as basis for what we say
- Painting a Bible verse while meditating on it
- Blogging as way of processing what you read
- Studying the Bible with a couple of close friends via whatsapp or any social media — http://ifesworld.org/en/blog/2016/06/top-tips-starting-whatsapp-bible-study-0
- Do something visual with the scripture — i.e. create a video animation of what you read
- Read aloud, even when you are alone (but also together)
- subscribe to visual meditations by artway.euhttp://www.artway.eu/artway.php?id=4&action=show&lang=en
- discover genres within the Bible and discover the beautiful stories and poems
- Enter a Bible diet of Gospels and Psalms
- ‘play with’ the Bible Project, e.g. Jonah:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLIabZc0O4c 9)
- Do short dramas of the Bible passages — do the Mark Drama together (or you write scripts for them out of Biblical stories or let them do so (very good for any stage of Inductive Bible Study)
What are your ways of having an intentional time with God? (a.k.a. devotional). Leave it on a comment below, so we learn more with each other.