Every Wednesday, our church hosts a prayer meeting and Bible Study. During the Bible study portion, I usually throw out a question for discussion. This week the question had to do with our daily devotionals. Here is what we came up with as a group.
10 Ways to Get More Out of Your Daily Devotions
(1) Do Them – This should be a no brainer, but it is worth stating. If we want to get anything out of Scripture, we have to actually read it.
(2) Read Out Loud – Instead of reading the text silently, read it out loud. For this one, you may want to stick to your home, car, or office, instead of the local coffee shop.
(3) Association – Find a way to associate the text to an experience you have had in the past, or something you are going through right now.
(4) Use an Understandable Version – Let’s face it, some versions of the Bible – I am looking at you KJV – are difficult to understand. Old English is called Old English for a reason. Instead of trying to plod through a version from yesteryear, find a good modern translation you can actually understand. I recommend the ESV. It is literal, yet fluid enough to sit down and read.
(5) Pray for Understanding – Before you read, pray the Lord would open the text up to you.
(6) Pray the Text – After you read, pray through the text. Praying the text isn’t rocket science. Start with the first verse you read and pray whatever comes to mind. When you have milked that verse dry, move on to the next, and then the next, until you have prayed all the verses you read. If you want further ideas and reasons why praying the text is helpful, Donald Whitney has written an excellent book Praying the Bible, which I highly recommend.
(7) Meditate on the Text – If all you do is read a chapter, close your Bible, and go about your day, chances are you aren’t going to remember much of what you read, which means you probably aren’t going to apply much of what you have read to your life. In comes meditation. By meditation, I don’t mean sitting with your legs crossed, arms out, palms up, trying to clear your mind. I have in mind just the opposite. Instead of trying to clear your mind, you should fill your mind with the text. There are several ways to do that:
- Think through the key words in the text.
- Write out the text.
- Journal the text.
- Memorize a key verse(s).
- Visualize the text by drawing it (probably more for you artsy types).
- Think of how the text applies to your life, your family, or your community.
- Formulate the main idea of the text. Think about what the text is telling you is true, and then ask what you should do, think, or believe based on that truth.
- Ask yourself how the text points to Jesus.
(8) Listen to the Text – Listening to a professional reader read the text is a great way to help it come alive. Plus, different mediums help you discover things you may not have discovered in the past. There are a several apps that help with this; check your OS’s app store.
(9) Study the Text – Grab a commentary, study Bible, or devotional magazine, like Table Talk, and start diving deeper into the text.
(10) Study in a Group – Studying together is a great way to get more out of your daily devotions. I am in a study group that meets every Friday morning. It has been a blessing to me. As we have worked our way through several books of the Bible, I have discovered things about God’s Word that I would not have on my own. If you aren’t already, I highly encourage you to join a study group.
Question for Reflection
- What do you do to get more out of your daily devotions?