Last week we interviewed Trey, Jason and Tyler on their daily devotions. Today we hear from Aaron, Rich and Adam!
What time of day do you have your devotions?
Aaron: Before I go to bed. I am not a morning person. Having them before I go to bed is a set time for me and helpful for consistency. The biggest issue is sometimes being tired before bed. However, since I'm not a morning person, doing them early in the morning would mean I'd be less aware compared to my most tired times at night.
Rich: Morning. I wake up, get some coffee and sometimes I exercise first to get myself fully awake because I'm not a big morning person in general.
Adam: Morning. I absolutely start the day that way because I know if I don’t, then it won’t happen. And it’s too important to miss. I actually go to Starbucks or get out of the house for my devotions. I need to pull away from any distractions. For me having a specific place helps me make the mental switch to focus. George Washington managed his schedule by taking his horse to different parts of his plantation to manage all his affairs. So I have different places that I go to get things done.
What do your devotions consist of?
Aaron: Chapter of the Old Testament and portion of the new. I try to read through the NT in one year and the OT in 2-3 years. Smaller portions are more digestible/memorable for me. And prayer.
Rich: Bible reading, prayer, journaling (which is basically just thinking through what I’m praying and seeking God for - I just write out my thoughts. It's a good way to record answers to prayer and prayer requests)
Adam: Reading and prayer.
Do you have any specific resources that you use regularly?
Aaron: I like D. A. Carson's two volume devotional books For the Love of God. I've been using them for years.
Rich: I use a Bible reading plan.
Adam: I use New Morning Mercies currently to bring a broad variety of Biblical ideas for my devotions. I’ll then read the accompanying scripture for support of the idea and test what the author is saying. I also have a prayer list I use, starting with worshiping God for who he is, then I pray for people and issues in my life and use the different roles that God has given me to categorize prayers. I start with 1. My standing as a child of God and related issues of faith, justification, guilt, power 2. My role as a husband (pray for my wife, our relationship, etc.) 3. My role as a Father 4. My role as a worker 5. Extended family member 6. My role as a Friend/Church member.
How long do your devotions typically last?
Aaron: 30 minutes
Rich: anywhere from 30-45 minutes
Adam: About 20-25 minutes. I spend about 10-15 min each morning reading. Then another 5-10 praying for my day.
Are there specific "helps" you have found in keeping you consistent?
Aaron: Having friends ask what I've been learning is helpful. Also, keeping a similar time and location helps too. My actual time may vary as I go to bed at different times give my schedule, but the category of "before bed" brings a consistency that is helpful.
Rich: Not really. I just… do them. Coffee helps.
Adam: I try and remember that the goal of my devotions is to get me thinking about God, myself and the world around me in a biblical way. I work hard to incorporate the main idea of what I’m reading into my thinking, believe it, pray to live by it and occasionally text my wife or a close friend the main idea to reinforce it. If I find myself unmotivated or unmoved by the idea, I’ll review it longer & pray that the Holy Spirit would make the truth of it valuable in my mind. If I continue to struggle believing it, I’ll reach out for help and ask a friend if they will pray for me to believe it and live by it.
How do you fight unbiblical thinking (guilt/condemnation or apathy/license) when you skip your devotions for the day?
Aaron: It centers around the purpose of my time with God and why I spend time with him in the first place. It is a time I desperately need in order to function as his child. I need to spend time with him in order to know and grow in love for him, to worship him. It's not something I do to earn his favor but rather it is life-giving. So, if I miss a day it's like I'm depriving myself of food for no good reason. I should never let guilt or condemnation motivate me and when those creep in, the solution is spending time in the Word to remind myself of the glorious all-loving, all-gracious King Jesus whose abundant grace gave us the Spirit to empower us to live for him out of love.
Rich: It just boils down to recognizing that my devotions are good for me.When I feel guilt I go to the Lord for forgiveness and I recognize that I don’t earn anything by having my devotions. It's important to press through those feelings and ask the Lord to help me. Not spending time with God can give a sense of distance from him and it's good to keep in mind that while the perception may be real, the distance is not.
Adam: The main issue I personally face when I start skipping multiple devotional times is moving into a mode of self-reliance and forgetting God. The longer I go, the more I think I don’t need God. And I’m intensely fearful of going too far down that road. That’s where in my life I’ve found myself in the most desperate situations... and I’ve forgotten about God. Praying through the various categories I listed earlier also helps me battle guilt because I’m constantly praying in the category of "child of God" and reminding myself of the benefits I have in the gospel.