As Father’s Day approaches, I’m reflecting on the legacy I have received from my father—some of the principles he taught and modeled that have shaped my life.
As a little girl, I learned about one of the most essential ingredients in nurturing a relationship with God, as I became aware that my father began each day with a practice that he called “devotions.”
A businessman with many demands on his time and active in ministry of many kinds, my father was not one to spend time frivolously. Yet somehow, in the midst of an extremely active and busy household and with incessant demands of travel and meetings, there was one constant in his life—he never got started into the business of the day without first having spent an hour or more alone with the Lord, in the Word and on his knees in prayer.
I don’t recall ever actually being with him during those times—though I did frequently see him reading his Bible—but we all knew that this time was more important to him than any other activity of his day.
When he was a new believer in his mid-twenties, someone challenged my dad to begin giving the first part of every day to the Lord in the Word and in prayer. From that day until the day he went to heaven twenty-eight years later, he never missed one single day of this devotional practice.
Nothing was more important to him than cultivating his relationship with the Lord, and he believed strongly that nothing was more essential to maintaining that relationship than a daily time alone with the Lord in the Word and prayer.
Daily devotions was not something my parents forced on us, but the influence of my dad’s example and training in this area was profound. Although he has been with the Lord since 1979, the image of a dad on his knees before the Lord is indelibly etched on my mind and in my heart.
I know many people feel they just can’t find time to set apart for a daily devotional time with the Lord. The fact is, we have time for Facebook and TV and movies and socializing with friends. If we are too busy to get to know the God of the universe who created, redeemed, and owns us, then we are too busy—something else has got to go.
In every season of life, no matter how old or how young you are, there will be something that will conspire to keep you from having a daily devotional life. I wrestle with this almost every day.
I get in my quiet time chair and all of a sudden I’m thinking of fifty other things I’ve got to do. I get a new burden for housecleaning! It’s incredible what things come to my mind. I’m convinced the enemy knows that if he can get me distracted and derailed there, he’s going to throw my day and my life off-kilter.
Over the years, I have spoken on this subject of a daily devotional life scores of times. In each case, 80-95% of the people in the audience (including Christian leaders, Bible study teachers, pastors’ wives, etc.,) have acknowledged that they do not currently have a consistent devotional life. What about you?
It’s not too late to start. Start today. Start tomorrow morning. Set your alarm a little earlier. Ask the Lord to waken you when He wants you to meet with Him, but make a determination in your heart that you will begin to order your life around the priority of God’s Word. Make your number one goal to get to know God, to seek Him, to develop a relationship with Him, and to grow spiritually. I am convinced that you and I cannot become the women He created us to be, apart from consistent, daily intake of God’s Word into our lives.
You may already have a consistent quiet time habit, you may have had it in the past, or this may be new for you. Regardless of where you are on this, I want to give you a simple 30-day challenge: Would you resolve that every day for the next thirty days, you will spend some time alone with the Lord each day, in the Word and prayer?
If you are willing to take this 30-day challenge, let me know that in the comment section below. On Friday, May 20, we’ll randomly pick five of you to receive a copy of my book A Place of Quiet Rest: Cultivating Intimacy With God Through a Daily Devotional Life. This is the first book I ever wrote, and I believe the most important. You’ll find lots of practical help for beginning or enhancing this practice of spending time with God each day.
PS: If you take the 30-day challenge and miss a day—don’t give up! Start again the next day. You may find it a battle, as I often do, but I can assure you this is a battle worth fighting!