Time, tools and routine for devotions (part 2)…

In Part 1 of this series (read it HERE)…I shared ideas for Time and Tools in daily devotions. Today, we’ll talk about the Routine of personal devotions.

Here’s why I suggest a Routine. Like anything else worth having, a meaningful devotional life is not without distractions and challenges. Routine establishes guidelines and gives us something to work towards. Otherwise, we would have only a hit and miss experience at the most.


{Updated August 2016:  I’ve updated this post to reflect a few modifications to my Routine. Don’t be afraid to modify yours!}

Most days, this is the Routine to my own devotions. I say most days because there are moments when I change things up – either by necessity, personal choice or as led by God.

These ideas I share only as a model. If you have a routine that works, stick with it. If you need ideas, feel free to incorporate any of the following and develop what works for you.

1.  Turn on “Prayer & Devo” playlist –

I put together a playlist of worship music appropriate for quiet, devotional time. The songs I chose are significant because I’m easily distracted by music, especially my current favorites. I usually listen to one song on the playlist, which helps bring me into an attitude of worship. Then, I’ll turn the music down low, as I continue my routine.

2. Devotional reading for the day –

I begin with a short, daily devotional reading. This helps to jump-start my time (with coffee in hand, I might add). In Part 1 of this series, I mentioned I prefer a devotional designed for 365 days-a-year. Find a devotional you love and look forward to daily.

3. Read Bible references directly from the Bible –

This gives a deeper perspective, as opposed to only reading the scripture on the pages of the devotional.

Tip: Don’t skip the introductory comments right before each book in the Bible. Most translations have these. They give a basic understanding of context, theme, location, etc.

4. Journal & Meditate –

Jot down your thoughts and meditate on the day’s reading. If you don’t know what to write, try answering these questions – or come up with your own…

  • How does what I just read apply to my life today?
  • What do I feel God saying?
  • How might this help me through the situations I’m facing?

As for meditating, relax and take it in. To hear from God, we usually need only to get still, be quiet and listen.

5. Pray –

To pray is simply to talk with God. While it should be the highlight of our day, I think many of us struggle with settling down and entering in. My confession:  I get distracted. I start thinking of the stuff on my “to do” list. I look at the picture across the room and wonder why it’s hanging crooked (seriously).

Here is the Routine to my morning prayers…

To combat distractions, I developed a personal prayer strategy. (Again, this is a model. Develop your own strategy.)

The Lord’s Prayer

Most days, this is where I begin and I make it personal: “MY Father in heaven…Give ME this day…MY daily Bread…” so forth and so on. This seems to help bring me into focus.

Written Prayer

I have a written prayer in my journal – five pages I wrote by hand on January 1st. This has revolutionized my prayer time. You may wonder if this gets repetitious or mundane. No, and here’s why.

Is maintaining a devotion time difficult for you? Here are tips for time, tools and routine devotion and prayer times. #1 may surprise you.It turns out different every time I pray it.

I have six sections to my prayer. And I am forever writing little notes around and in the margins as I pray. Here are those sections…

  • Thanksgiving & Praise
  • Dying to Self
  • Order My Steps
  • Use Me for Your Glory
  • Family Needs & Blessing
  • Big Prayers

Each day, God speaks to me at different points in the prayer. Where I lingered, cried or heard from God today – tomorrow it will be different.

Spontaneous Prayer

Spontaneous prayer is uncomfortable at first. It happens automatically for me in the middle of my Written Prayer. This is often where we begin to pray our most heartfelt prayers; prayers that move the heart of God.

Praying the Word of God

Some days, I read God’s Word as a part of my praying. If this is new to you, try praying a chapter from Psalms or Proverbs.

And that’s my Routine:  1. Turn on “Prayer & Devo” Playlist  2. Devotional reading  3. Scripture reference from the Bible  4. Journal & Meditate  5. Pray. You can do this in thirty minutes or less, unless you pray excessively long prayers.

Because I love to read and study, I usually have a Bible study going or I’m studying a particular book of the Bible. For me, separating intensive study from personal devotions derives greater benefit from both.

Please hear this – intensive study is not a requirement to a fulfilling devotional life. Don’t overload yourself so that you are not benefiting from either.

One last thing:

Do you know someone who could benefit from this information? Please share it – email it – send it out on social media. Let’s help them along to finding a guilt-free devotional life.

Read Part 1 of this series HERE.

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2 thoughts on “Time, tools and routine for devotions (part 2)…

  1. Great info Karlene, It took me a while to create a routine that works for me. The 365 reading plans never worked for me. I would miss a day or two and feel like I had to make it up.- Now I read two chapters OT and Two NT (Started in Genesis and Matthew) – If I miss a day, I just pick up where I left off. I then do a separate journal entry for both the OT and NT, I will focus on one or two verses and write them out. I will then write out my medication on the verses then write out a prayer. Writing out my prayers has really transformed my prayer life. I usually try to get up a couple of hours early for my devotion time. However, not being a natural morning person I keep it disciplined but flexible with what is going on in life.

    • Jon, this is great stuff! I totally get what you say about the 365 reading plan, and let me clarify that I prefer (meaning I ONLY use) those that have a very brief daily reading. 🙂 Too wordy and my (and my coffee) are moving on. I have found thru the seasons of life, different methods and approaches either work or they don’t. Flexibility is the key!

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