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I’m excited to tell you about a new mini-series here at Hive Resources called “Devotions Drilled Down.”
This series has been bubbling in my heart for a while. And after several people have asked me about how I manage my quiet time, I thought I’d give you a sneak peak at my personal devotions.
But because there is no standard way to have a quiet time, I also thought I’d let you see how some of the godliest gals I know drill down in their devotions too. Many of these ladies are bloggers, so chances are you know them and have had the joy of having their words speak to your heart. Now, you’ll get to hear how The Word speaks to their hearts!
Today, I’ll share with you what works for me. This year, I set a goal to become more intentional in my quiet time.
Here was my plan:
I set a goal to read through the Psalms. I wanted to really dig into this book and explore its history, theological depth, and how to apply it to my life.
I made a plan to dig into one psalm every few days. This gave me some wiggle room if I missed a day. I wanted to be intentional, but didn’t want to feel like a failure if devotions didn’t happen every day at the same time.
I gathered some solid resources. Along with my Bible, I added a few good commentaries on the Psalms to my library. But I noticed that the more I read and the more I scoured footnotes, the more titles I began to add to my Amazon wish list!
So, here’s how I put my plan to action and drilled down on my devotions this year:
STEP 1: I get up to a quiet house. Currently, I get up before anyone else. I’m not rigid about the time, but that’s usually about 5:30 am (unless we’ve had a hectic week and then I bump things to 6 am).
STEP 2: I brew the beans. For me, this is crucial. Gotta get the Word and coffee together. To save time, I set up my coffee maker the night before.
STEP 3: I read a psalm first from the Scriptures. I read from the New King James Version.
STEP 4: I take notes. Typically, I’ll read the passage once and then take notes while I’m reading it a second time. I LOVE using the Evernote app on my iphone for note taking. I used to fill up journals with notes but I discovered that I was amassing large volumes of notebooks! Plus, it was really difficult to keep them organized.
The Evernote app has changed the way I do ‘note-taking’ and has forced me to boil down thoughts because I’m typing notes on my phone. I want to keep the Scriptures primary in this step – not the notes! But there’s another reason I use Evernote – it makes it easy to transfer my notes to my laptop (which is synced) so I can write all those Psalms blog posts for you!
STEP 5: I pray through the psalm. This might not work as well for narrative portions of Scripture or for the Pauline epistles, but the personal tone of the Psalms (most of which are written in first-person!) lend themselves to application through prayer. The universal plights and situations experienced by the Psalmist easily echo within my heart – its pain, joy, suffering, disappointment, or struggles with trust and fear. And hearing how the Psalmist resolutely trusts in his King leaves me with great confidence and peace for the day.
Those five steps make up my devotion times. If I’m lucky – and the kids sleep in – I will pick up one of my commentaries and compare notes. But typically I use all those solid resources I gathered for later in the day, as I prep for blog posts for you.
This process isn’t perfect, and I think at times I battle spending more time on my notes than on listening to the Word, but I’m still working out the kinks.
But, when I made my plan this Winter, I also knew that I needed some accountability to keep my plan going. So, I joined up with Hello Mornings and found some like-minded women who needed a little motivation to keep their devotion time central.
How does Hello Mornings work? You sign up and join a group (depending on whether you like to use Facebook or Twitter or morning/evening devotion times). Each morning you share with your group what you’ve learned or even just a simple Bible verse. I joined a twitter group based on my time zone, and we share prayer requests and get updates on how their progress is going.
When I signed up, I received two free prayer calendars with daily verses to pray over my husband and my children. I have used these almost every day to close my devotions. God has slowly worked in my heart – to direct me, soften me, and convict me – using those simple verses.
Hello Mornings been a huge blessing – and a big motivator – knowing that if I don’t get up in the morning my group will miss me! Sign ups for their Summer Challenge is now underway (click here to register).
Those are my five steps for drilling down my devotions. What’s your plan for spending time listening and worshiping our King? Share your ideas in the comments!
And be sure to check back this week as I share some tips and ideas from other bloggers on how they do their quiet times! You’ll get to hear from new moms and veteran grandmothers!