As a Christian Apologist and Philosopher (if I may be so bold as to refer to myself in such a way) it is important to maintain an intimate relationship with my God. Often, it is easy to get lost in all the “If… then…”s the “therefore”s, and the premises of arguments about God and forget that God is the Living God, who wants to interact on a real, personal level with all His people. It is a trap that awaits those who talk about God in such abstract terms: forgetting that that same God is there and should be praised and loved.
Thus, it is important to maintain a devotional life. I encourage readers to set their own routines for exploration of God’s Word, prayer life, etc. It is important to utilize those periods of downtime–be they periods of an hour, two hours, or even ten or fifteen minutes–in order to expand knowledge of Word and Truth. I’ve outlined my own routine below (though I sometimes stray from it) in order to provide a potential base for study and some recommendations.
Daily (or as often as possible)
1. Read at least 1 chapter from the Bible: This may be done all in order (as I’m doing right now) or by a variety of other methods (such as following a “read the Bible in a year” type of thing).
2. Devotion: I use and very highly recommend the Treasury of Daily Prayer, which has readings from Scripture, church fathers, etc. along with liturgies for personal devotion.
3. Pray: This can be done independently or by using various books of prayer (I utilize the Lutheran Book of Prayer).
4. Hone Greek/Hebrew Skills: This one takes some prior study and knowledge, but I definitely recommend learning Biblical Greek and Hebrew in order to study the Word (a wonderful Hebrew Text is here, while a great introduction to Greek is here). Once one can utilize these languages, they can be used in daily meditation by taking a reader (such as this one) to practice this wonderful gift.
5. Other readings: Normally, I’m working through at least one “hard” book and one “light reading” book at a time. An example of a “hard” book could be God and Necessity while a “light reading” can be C.S. Lewis. Daily, I would say try to read as much as possible in whatever downtime one has. A fifteen minute period can mean 10-20 pages of reading for a “light reading” book, while I usually save “hard” books for times I have an hour or more. Utilize a notebook to take notes on the readings you do. Also, sometimes it’s good to read both a “hard” and “light” book from the same author, as this will reinforce the ideas (for example N.T. Wright–one could read The New Testament and the People of God [hard] and The Challenge of Jesus [light]).
Weekly (at least)
1. Church: Attending worship with fellow believers is extremely important for spiritual nurturing.
2. Extra reading: Take at least one day a week to sit and have some serious reading time from Scripture and books you are reading.
3. Exercise: Don’t forget to utilize the body God gave you. Take a 1-3+ mile run 1-3 times a week. While running, reflect on the gifts God has given. Pray, think about topics you’ve read from Scripture or other readings, recite verses.
4. Memory work: Try to memorize at least one verse a day. You may not retain them all in your memory, but once you start to do this, you will find you’ll be opened to an even more intimate understanding of Scripture.
Hopefully these ideas will serve to encourage others who are looking for devotional life. Do not neglect prayer and reading the Word; these are vitally important to the spiritual life of the Christian.
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