|Angelus, Jean.François Millet 1859|
Part of the BIG changes that came to my life when God opened my eyes to the Doctrines of Grace, is a disciplined spiritual life. Before that I was always in a roller coaster of prayer and Bible reading, never constant, always feeling guilty about it; The truth is that I tried to maintain a life of prayer based on my emotions and not on the Word which is impossible to do. The Lord had dealt graciously with me; He has opened my eyes to see and my ears to hear and my prayer life as well as my Bible reading time have grown, little by little but steady… “not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” (Phil. 3:12)
I would like to share here what has been helpful to me (please, note that I am not saying this the way YOU should do it, but this is the way it has worked for ME) to battle against my flesh which sometimes seems so weary and tired, and distracted.
First I started to wake up earlier every morning. Every. Day. Every. Day. Yes, it is not always easy but the Lord has helped me with that. I found that if I didn’t set a time at the beginning of my day to start right with God, I would not be able to do it later during the day.
Second, I learned that in order to be awake and not be distracted by all the thoughts and to-do lists that seem to attack my mind whenever I start my devotions, I needed to be FULLY engaged in my time with God; so I started to bring a pen and journal, along with my Bible and some prayer books, to my devotional time.
My devotions look a little bit like this; I read the bible, take notes, pray over that Scripture, I jot down my thoughts again. I take time to review my memory Bible verses, (I have a system with post-it tags to know which ones I should review and which one I am learning right now); again I pray over those verses. Many times I use prayers guides such as Valerie’s prayer guide, or prayer books like The Valley of Vision or A Diary of Private Prayer. How do I use these books? Well, I read a paragraph, or even a line, and then I stop to make it mine, adding my own words to that prayer, which I also like to write down, on the margins or on my journal.
My favorite prayer book is A Method for Prayer. Freedom in the Face of God, by Matthew Henry. O how I love this prayer guide! It has different sections to it, and again I have little post-its to help me find each section and I move them as I walk through the guide. Again, I stop, ponder about it, add my own words, and then I write down a prayer.
All these have been a great help to me, I am not distracted, I pray longer, and I really meditate on God’s Word. I find it refreshing to come daily to the Lord’s table and eat His Words which are sweeter than honey and keep them in my heart.
For this, I am grateful today.
Lord, I thank you, for helping me build a disciplined prayer life; thank you for bringing me to your Word, for opening my eyes to see and my ears to hear you. Thank you, because you have called me to sit at your feet and drink from the Living Water that satisfies my soul.
How do you spend time with God?Would you share with us, so that we may be encouraged to persevere?
God’s Sovereignty in the Gospel of Luke
On Prayer and C. H Spurgeon
The Secret of the Believer’s Boldness (A guest post by Christina Langela)
Lord, Teach us to Pray (A guest post by Diane @ Theology for Girls)
A House of Prayer
>I love how you use your quiet time, with a journal and other books to help you along in the Bible. My quiet time is usually in the middle of the day, a break from hustle and bustle. I sometimes sneak in a reading before everyone wakes up. Then my quiet time is Spurgeon's Morning and Evening and the NIV One Year Bible (though sometimes all I have time for is the New Testament and Psalm and Proverbs reading). I also sometimes grab Edges of His Ways by Amy Carmichael which has been a favorite of mine since college. My husband reads from the Bible every morning after breakfast and expounds on the verses, then we pray together. I pray alone throughout the day, but I also find time (usually in my quiet time) to linger in prayer. I've found that my perspective is better when I spend time praying deliberately.It's funny how I used to live life without so much time in the Word and yet life seemed more easy, but since reading and praying intentionally everyday throughout the day, life has seemed more difficult. But I simply find I need the time like I need air to breathe.
>ps. I also read from Voices of the Past – either in the morning along with my other reading or else at night before bed.
>Love your routine Becky! You're very disciplined! Having no children at home now, I enjoy the luxury of having my devotional time when I wake up naturally. First: COFFEE! A must for the foggy brain.Second: I read the Bible passage I'm studying, think and meditate on it, cross reference, etc. Then I usually read one or two commentaries on the passage. If I get real fired up with a question I'll head to our library and start pulling the big guns off the shelf.Third: Prayer: Starting with praise, adoration, and Thanksgiving, confession, and personal petition. Then for my requests for others. I have a prayer journal – It's divided into catagories:Family, Those in my life who need salvation, My pastor and church, our ministries and for my Christian friends that aren't local (like you Becky 🙂 Sometimes I will pray first and then study – Having said that, I confess that I struggle with consistency largely due to our ever changing work schedule with our business. I'm least consistent when Robert is either not working or is working at home in the studio. I become tempted to goof around with him and go to Starbucks or something.
>I read the word and a devotional in the morning. If I'm running errands or doing a mindless task, I listen to MP3 sermons to make better use of the time. My serious reading (other than the Bible) is saved for the evening, but sometimes it keeps me up too late. Prayer gets intermixed in the above times.
>How nice of you to share this. I have a similar method using prayer books and memory verses and Bible chapters that I read and journal about, BUT I don't do it early in the morning. 🙂 I usually wait until mid-afternoon because my mind is more attentive then and the opportunity is greater for me to linger.
>Prayer is such a big part of my relationship with the Lord. Thank you for this post and for the book suggestions.
>Dear Ma, I think that listening to sermons and to the Word of God is a great idea, specially when you have little ones around and finding a time to read is a difficult task. Kay, thank you for joining the conversation. Yes, God's grace is what we desperately need even in our prayer life…Blessings to you!
>Caroline, I wish I could hear your voice! But I am grateful I can read your words! What I do at nights is read one Psalm and then one of the books on my night stand. I love to have my devotions in the morning because, I love to start my day with God, and at night I think I would probably fall to sleep…Much love to you and your mama.¡Te extrañamos en la clase de español!
>Thanks for those suggestions, Becky! Realizing the grace of God is so liberating, isn't it? Beautiful post. Thank you.
>I really enjoy listening to sermons and bible teachings on audio. I wear my mp3 player all day and switch it on when doing mundane household chores. (I get more done that way, too;))We do family devotions at night and I pray while going to sleep. I also like to fellowship and share ideas on Christian forums. My prayer life could use more discipline, though, for sure. Thank you for sharing your technique.
>That is such a great way to spend time with God!My nature is that I'm a night owl, and I do all my best thinking when it's dark and all is quiet. So at night before I go to sleep, I pray and read (right now I'm going through Proverbs) and I sometimes write poetry or just little "letters" to God. And lastly, I just talk to him. I find just telling God about my fears and thanksgiving is just so vital to me.Thank you so much for your beautiful post!!