Dos and Don’ts for busy Christians looking for ways to jumpstart a daily devotional routine.
Finding dedicated daily time to grow or improve their relationship with God can be challenging for Christians with a hectic schedule. If you are having a hard time jumpstarting your devotional life, here are a few dos and don’ts to help.
How to start a daily devotional while you’re busy
Do talk to family and friends who have demonstrated the ability to have a consistent daily devotional life. Perhaps you can’t match their schedule. Still, hearing the process others used to develop their routine can be a springboard for ideas. Inquire about what worked best for them. You may even be able to avoid mistakes by hearing the experiences of others.
Do look for ways to waste less time. It is the best way to get dedicated time for God in your day. Try setting time limits on the time you spend watching television and the Internet. Designate times to start and stop answering phone calls and emails. By trimming wasteful activities, you can increase the time for this new habit.
Do embrace technology as a tool. Most Christian websites, including Crosswalk.com and ChristianityToday.com, allow you to sign up for daily devotional emails. Additionally, many churches and pastors offer podcasts you can subscribe to. Finally, like most busy people, check out the app store for your service provider if you have a smartphone. There are many devotional apps for the iPhone, Blackberry, and Droid phones. According to a February report from FoxNews.com, even President Barack Obama gets a daily devotional on his Blackberry every morning.
What not to do if you are adding a daily devotional to your hectic schedule
Don’t take on too much. One day you may be able to carve out an hour each day for prayer and meditation. But, right now, you want to focus on consistently building devotional time into your day. As many Christians struggle to make time for God, several books are available to assist believers with busy lives. They range from books with non-traditional approaches such as Awake My Soul: Practical Spirituality for Busy People by Timothy Jones to books specifically for women. It is about a Mary Heart in a Martha World. There’s a book for everyone. Could you find the best one for you and try it?
Don’t limit your devotion to moments when you are entirely alone. For example, the time you spend on your commute to work, in the break room at lunch, or even at the gym can be dedicated to God. In addition, it will give you more options in building a regular devotional appointment into your schedule. In Rick Warren’s bestselling book, The Purpose Driven Life, he writes, “Everything you do can be ‘spending time with God’ if he is invited to be a part of it and you stay aware of his presence.”
Do not surrender if you skip a day (or two.) According to The Search for Significance Devotional by Robert S. McGee, “Consistency is laudable and good, but don’t worry…The goal is to reflect on God’s truth so that it sinks deeply into our hearts and minds.” When you do get off track, figure out how and why. Then adjust your plan to get back on course. Look at the entire experience as your spiritual experiment. Success will require time and effort.
Most importantly, give yourself time to find the proper routine and resources to activate your devotional life. Your relationship with God is unique, and your devotional time with him will reflect that. Embrace the process of researching methods and trying different approaches. The reward of an enhanced relationship with God will be worth the effort.