I Don’t Have Time for Devotions!
I promise, this is practical. It’s not a sermon. It’s not a brow beating. If anyone knows how hard it is to be consistently in the Word, it’s me. I’ve struggled all my life to be consistent.
Too often we think we have to do things in a traditional way – but forget we have liberty. Not liberty to sin but liberty to obey God and His leading how we see fit and how He directs us.
What? We have freedom to listen to Him?
Let’s Get Creative
Years ago when we had a bunch of little ones at home it was easy to have family devotions and prayer time. It was a family event that I often reflect back on – and it always brings a smile. They were such cute little buggers back then! (Kids, what happened? VBG)
Maybe one day I’ll show you a video of them while in prayer circle if I can transfer it from VHS to digital.
Our house had a little spot down by the kids’ rooms where all of us fit very well when we sat on the floor in a circle – we called it our prayer circle. When they kids would get ready for bed – pjs, teeth brushing, etc. Mark and I would go sit down on the floor outside their rooms and their bathroom waiting for them to finish. This accomplished three things:
- We could supervise – there were not problems getting ready for bed because Mom and Dad saw everything.
- As each of the kids finished, they came out and formed a circle. We hugged, talked, wrestled, laughed, etc.
- Because fun stuff was going on, the kids hurried!
When everyone was done, we would talk Bible and then pray together, one at a time. Not only was it fun to listen to them, but it was also fun watching them peek, rock back and forth, giggle at some of the prayers, etc. It was also a good way as parents to find out what they were concerned about, what happened in their day, and to give a little extra attention.
Then when the last little one prayed we hugged and said, “I love you,” and shooed them off to bed.
One of us would sit by their doors until they were asleep to ward off any naughtiness. If they knew we were there, they behaved. Mark and I along with our oldest, April took turns. It was a pain, but much more painful when later we didn’t do that and they got out of bed for shenanigans!
Fast forward a few years…
When they were older and we moved to a different home, the tradition fell by the wayside and they became responsible for personal devotions. We made the rule, “No Bible, no breakfast.” We had gone into full-time ministry and it became harder for both of us to sit down with the all kids at a specific time of day.
At that time it also became harder for me to eek out alone time for my own personal devotions. Getting ready for the day, b’fast, lunches, get them out the door, drive to school, put in 9 or 10 hours, home, dinner, homework, correcting papers (I was their teacher), yearbook (I was the yearbook advisor), school stuff (school photograhper) church work (church photographer, publications, SS teacher, discipler) on and on. You get the idea. I got up at 6:00 AM and went to bed sometimes at 2:00 AM.
Isn’t that the way? You do more for God and it’s harder to get alone with Him?
Many months I tried to get up and have personal devotions in the morning, but something always happened to interrupt me. A kid was sick, or couldn’t find his socks or somebody was picking on somebody. Then I tried at night and I was just too tired to pay attention to what I was reading. Forget trying in the middle of the day. No way.
So my DH bought me an MP3 player because I found the Bible on MP3. I had grown up listening to Alexander Scourby and found an MP3 of him reading the KJV. I was in business! For years now I have listened to the Bible in the morning while I am getting ready.
The kids knew I had to have that 40 minutes to get ready in the morning and Mark was in charge running the show until I could take over. I had to multi task or I would never get it all done, so as I dressed, did my makeup and hair, and was able to listen to several chapters every morning.
I found a solution. Happy dance!
I had a little notebook handy to write down notes if something struck me. I also learned to L.O.V.E. the Old Testament, unlike before, because I heard it and imagined it as if it were happening right then. There is something about hearing the Word – the pictures just came. It became real and sank in – embedded into my brain like a video on a blog!
God Was Silent
There was a time while in one of our ministries that we fell on hard times. I had so many questions as to why things were going south but couldn’t seem to find an answer. I was in the Word. I was faithful. I was doing my best and keeping my heart open. Nothing.
It wasn’t until we left that situation that God started answering each one of my questions – perfectly, one at a time as if He had my list in His hands. It was a palm hitting forehead two years as He unraveled it all for me to understand. For some reason, while I was going through it He was silent on the matter. Apparently He was waiting until I was ready to take it all in. Fortunately I was still “listening.” I have each one of them written down on this blog on a separate page at the top of this site under “ministry.”
There was a time when the subject of personal devotions came up in a sermon and I challenged myself to not miss a single day for a year. That year turned into 4 – once you establish a habit, it’s so much easier to continue! I cannot say I never miss a day now, for I put that challenge behind me and eased off on myself a bit. Those were the days that I was very structured and harder on myself than I should have been because of all the pressure and stress I endured in that ministry.
But I still find the Bible intriguing and have kept it as my standard all these years. I could not be happy, confident or balanced if I didn’t have it. It is my foundation. I love listening to it while I get ready in the morning.
So I challenge you, Mom. Stop being so hard on yourself. Yes, we should be in the Word. But life is what happens when you have other plans. I get it. So, if you have a hard time staying in the Word – give the MP3 thing a try. It changed my life and I know it can yours.