How to do a basic devotional
Updated: Nov 27, 2018
We all know we need to read our Bible, but many don't know where to start or what to do. Questions start to arise such as; Is just straight reading the Bible enough? Is there a specific amount of time I should read for? What if I'm not very good at reading?
Bible reading is not suppose to be difficult, but it is a discipline and with all disciplines it is not always easy in the beginning. However, there are some things that can help you begin.
One of the biggest complaints or fears I hear when people are trying to begin reading the Bible, is not being able to understand it. Thankfully, God gives us so many promises in His word that we don't have to worry about this.
An example of a promise He gives us can be found in John 14:26. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, who the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” In this verse God promises us,
He will send His Spirit
He will teach you
He will help you remember what He spoke
What a blessing! We can use bible verses such as this and turn them into prayers to pray before we begin our reading. Our prayers don't need to be fancy using ‘thee,’ ‘thy,’ etc. They just need to come from the heart. Turning a bible verse into a prayer is easy. Highlight keywords in the verse like I have above and put these into your own words in a prayer. An example of a prayer from John 14:26 could be, “Lord I thank you, that you care about me enough to help me to comprehend the things of God . You have said that you will send your Holy Spirit to teach me and I believe your word. Lord I need your spirit to teach me things that I can't understand in my own strength. I thank you also that you will help me remember the things that you speak to me." Another example you could use is Psalm 119:130, “The entrance of your words gives light; it gives understanding unto the simple.” Just like the previous example, by highlighting keywords you can turn the bible verse into a prayer to help you before you study. An example prayer could go something like, "Lord I pray that you would bring your light into my life as I read your words. Give me understanding of your word, break it down for me so that it is simple enough for me to understand and simple enough that I can relay it to others. I thank you Lord that I don't need to be a scholar to know your words, as you give understanding to all who read your word."
There are many other examples you could use. To name a few,
1 John 2:27
Once you understand that God wants to help you understand and He is just waiting for you to engage with your heart, you are ready to begin.
But you have begun before and it goes well for a day, week, month or so... but then it drops off again. Bible study is a discipline. It takes more than just knowing you need to read the bible to be successful, you have to have a plan. Plan a time to read daily and follow a reading plan. You don't need to commit to hours. When you are just starting out plan an amount of time that you know is realistic for you to set apart each day. Don't just open your bible and lucky dip read - God isn't into luck or gambling. Yes He can speak to you through a verse you just happened to open to, but this should not be a daily practice. There are many bible reading plans available online from reading the bible from Genesis to Revelations to reading the bible chronologically. What is important is that you have a plan and read through the bible. (Click Here for some printable plans).
Three weeks is what it takes to form a habit and three days to break one, because of this we need to ensure that we discipline ourselves and get back on track quickly if we miss a day.
Knowing why you want to read the bible can help you to stay on track. Reading because you want to know God more is going to keep you on track more than if your reason was because you know you should. Think about why you want to read the bible and write a list of reasons. Reading over this list regularly can help keep you motivated and directed.
So I say all this to get to the 'basics' and it is basics of daily devotionals. A daily devotional is time devoted to reading God's word each day. In each devotional time you read a portion of the bible and record what you receive from it.
There are many ways to do daily devotions, but one way I find helpful is to:
Pray for guidance. (Like I mentioned earlier).
Read the passages in your plan looking for a verse that stands out (comprehension questions can help)
Write about why the passage stands out to you OR
Write a prayer from the verse OR
Look up keywords in the concordance to get a greater understanding of the verse OR
Write the verse in your own words OR
Write down what you can do to put the verse in action in your life
You may want to do steps 1-7 each devotional time or select two or three steps. However, I do highly suggest that you write down what you receive from your devotions somewhere. The important thing in each devotion is that you engage your heart with God.
We now have a page where you can read your bible right here on the website Click here to go to it. As well as an online bible we have a devotionals forum. In this forum people can share what they are reading and what they are learning from their bible reading. We would love to hear what God is speaking to you in your devotions. To get to our forum click here.
Encourage others by sharing some of the things God is showing you on our forum. Even if you don't read your devotion online, pop back online to share so we can all be blessed.
Do you do something different for your devotional time? If so comment below. There is no "set" way to do a devotion, so by sharing you could help others who prefer your method.