Q. I just have a basic, simple question. How do I add daily devotions to my prayer life? Is there a difference between having daily devotions and studying the Bible? Is this something God asks of us?
In my opinion there isn't much difference from having daily devotions or studying the Bible other than to include prayer and perhaps hymns during devotionals. But, there are others who think studying the Bible is an intellectual exercise while devotions are an emotional experience. However, I'm often blessed when I study the Bible as much as when reading through the Bible.
Study vs. Emotive Experiences
Typically, Christians read through the Bible without study notes during devotions, and study the Bible with the aid of commentaries, dictionaries, and concordances during study time.
Devotionals should be a part of church life and a part of personal worship. Acts 2:42 gives an example of corporate worship (devotions with others):
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (ESV).
Here is an example of how to begin personal devotions:
Start with prayer. Be sure to include the acronym ACTS in your prayers:
Adoration - Praising God
Confession - Asking forgiveness for specific sins
Thanksgiving - Thanking God for your blessings
Supplication - petitioning God for needs
But, don't become mired down in endless words when you pray. Remember, Jesus said, "And when you are praying, do not use meanlingless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them - for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him" (Matthew 6:7-8, NASB).
Daily Reading /b]
Read the Bible according to your daily reading schedule. For this purpose you can use One-Year bibles (available in bookstores), or make your own schedule. Here are suggestions for creating your own schedule:
1. Read 3 chapters per day plus one Psalm or one chapter in Proverbs. This will take you through the Bible in one year.
2. Read one chapter from the New Testament, one chapter from the Old Testament, plus one Psalm or one chapter in Proverbs daily. Use ribbons or bookmarks to keep your place. This will also take you through the Bible in one year.
3. Or read one chapter per day plus one Psalm or chapter in Proverbs. This will take you through the Bible in three years.
4. You might also consider reading a little from the N.T., a little from the O.T. plus your Psalm and one chapter in Proverbs daily. Since there are 31 Proverbs, match the number to the date (Proverbs 16 on May 16th, for example).
5. Don't forget to add tapes or CDs for daily reading. Our favorites are the dramatized editions available in the NKJV, KJV, NLT, and NIV versions. The dramatized editions are different than the listener's bibles and add several voices and music while acting-out the passages. These will breathe new life into your daily devotions! Try it.
Slow Down - You Move Too Fast
Don't become obsessed with getting through lots of material. Your goal should be to learn about and know God. Christians have an eternity to do this. So what's our hurry? Consider Matthew 24:35:
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away (NASB).
Finally, add hymns and spiritual music to your life according to Ephesians 5:19,
Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord (NASB).
Christian music is available through radio stations, satellite television, or from CDs and tapes. It is a huge and successful industry here in the United States. Watch your children become transformed and joyous when they hear good, lively Christian music. It will change your moods, too.
Now go and enjoy your life with God…