Every morning I begin my day with my quiet time. I rise about 5 am, start the coffee pot and get my stack of books from the shelf and spend about an hour reading, writing, and praying before I start my busy day. I am so grateful to my mom who modeled this practice for me daily as I grew up. However, I think some people are confused about what devotions include, so I’d like to share my practice so that it may be helpful.
I have a notebook where I write down the things I glean from my study each day. Often I begin my quiet time by jotting down the date and the pressing concerns of the day using phrases. Sometimes this takes the form of a prayer or a letter that begins “Dear Lord,” but sometimes I’m not that lucid and my thoughts are scattered.
I recently purchased the tiny diary One Line a Day. This unique journal only has enough space to jot down a sentence or two about the day’s events. Below it are spaces for the next four years of the same date, so as time goes on I can see where I’ve been and what I’ve been thinking each year. Lately, I’ve been jotting down the summary of the previous day before I begin my quiet time.
A staple of mine is a book that is literally falling apart. It has no cover and the last pages are falling out. I use them as book marks. It is a much-loved copy of Streams in the Desert that originally belonged to my dad. I think I inherited it when my parents moved to New York. This devotion always has a verse and some thoughts that give great encouragement. I read this every day. I keep my Bible by my side and often look up verses that are referenced in a selection.
I love books of prayer by Stormie Omartian. I just read through Lead me, Holy Spirit so I started reading through The Power of a Praying Woman again. I always underline important phrases that speak to the situation I am facing, and I date the book as I read through the prayer. I have even written my own prayers into the blank pages. I often would close a Bible study class with a copy of these prayers.
Another every day resource is the In Touch magazine produced by Charles Stanley’s ministry. Each monthly booklet has articles on a specific theme and then daily devotions. I always read the Bible verses, underline important thoughts in the lesson and try to apply the principles.
I have decided to attend a writer’s conference this summer, so I am reading a few devotionals for writers. Write His Answer is very helpful as it truly is a devotional directed at writers. She includes Bible references to study and some questions for deeper thought. It is a great encouragement. The other book is For the Write Reason by Marybeth Whalen. In this book, various writers associated with Proverbs 31 Ministries share their writing experiences and advice. Each article is followed by a devotional on the same topic written by Marybeth.
I picked up a free book while visiting my parent’s church on Mother’s Day. It Takes So Little to be Above Average by FLorence Littauer is a real gem. The book gives little snippets of how to improve oneself in all kinds of areas. I really enjoyed a selection about pruning that I read last week.
The amazing thing is the way the Holy Spirit speaks as I study the word and seek to apply what I learn. This morning, I was reading through the various books that I have mentioned, in no particular order. I wrote down “Seek First His Kingdom” as the main idea from a selection. As I continued to read, the words “Seek first the kingdom of God and all the other needful things shall be added unto thee” were part of a second selection. I wrote it down again. In the final selection, “Seek first the kingdom of God” was there again. So, all morning as I prepared for work, then in the car on the way to work I tried to meditate on this and examine myself to see where I need to put Christ first.
I am a little bit stressed right now with a busy work schedule; my husband has applied for a job with better hours, the kids are busy with activities, friends, and plans for the summer. I am trying to cast my cares on the Lord and look to him for direction instead of ordering him around to work things out the way I’d like.
Starting my day with God and His word is the only way I can manage my busy life. In the evening I read the One-year Bible right before I go to bed.
I highly recommend all these resources, and I hope that this gives you an idea of how anyone can begin to spend time with God.