How do I incorporate regular time with God/devotional/Bible reading/prayer time/etc. into my busy days?
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I wish I could help you find daily time with God by giving you three easy steps. It would make a great book, wouldn't it? Three Easy Steps to Spiritual Growth for Today's Busy Woman. I have a confessionn to make - there is no formula for spirtual growth.
I'll be honest, the reason I can't give you a nice formula to follow is because I don't fully have it figured out, either. While I am now in a season where I usually do spend daily time doing one or another of the above-listed things, I know that this is just that - a season. Figuring out how to make time for spiritual growth is different for each of us. What works for me may not work for you. What worked well during one season of life may not be feasible for another season.
The secret to growing in relationship with the Lord isn't so much what you do or how you do it as it is the intent of your heart.
If you desire a deeper relationship with Him, and you are continually trying to find ways to make that happen, you will find Him close to you.
If, on the other hand, you say that you desire a deeper relationship with Him, but you are continually making excuses not to try new ways to make that happen, you will feel distance.
So, if the desire of your heart is to know God more, here are some things you can try. If something doesn't work for you, whether due to personality or your season of life, that's okay. Just try something else.
1. Start your day with God.
When you wake up, before you roll yourself out of bed, take a moment to focus your heart on God. Ask Him to go with you wherever you are throughout your day; ask for His guidance and intervention; ask that you feel His presence; and ask that your thoughts and actions that day be pleasing to Him. If you're a morning shower-er, that's also a great time for prayer.
You'll find that the focus of your day is different when you begin this way.
2. Spend your whole day with God.
At each juncture of your day, each pause, each interruption, each transition, take a moment to talk to God. Tell Him how something made you feel. Ask for His help. Thank Him for the beauty you see. Praise Him for the things that go smoothly.
We tend to compartmentalize our lives, keeping work and God in different drawers. Bringing God to work with you (whether it be in the marketplace or at home) will change your perspective.
3. Spend your stolen moments with God.
In each week, we can be presented with countless moments of time-killing. Waiting rooms, in the bathroom, standing in line, "watching" our kids' activities... Instead of reading a magazine or playing on your phone, read a small snippet of Scripture. Ask God to show you how that verse (or passage) can make a difference in your life.
While we often say we're too busy for Bible reading or prayer time, the fact is that we all have time in our days for Facebook or Twitter, reading a novel, playing Angry Birds, catching up on the latest Brangelina gossip. Instead of thinking, "I have to make time for God," try thinking, "I need to choose to use some of my leisure time for God."
What about the spiritual disciplines?
* Bible reading
* intercessory prayer
* Scripture memorization
* private worship
* corporate worship
* Bible studies
* community outreach
Each one of these spiritual disciplines is a vital part of our walk with God. But our relationship with Him is not conditional upon these disciplines.
Let me say it again, because it is so important...
Spiritual disciplines are a vital part of our walk with God, but our relationship with Him is not conditional upon them.
The moment we begin to view those disciplines as a checklist, we betray the true character of God.
God doesn't say "I'll love you when/if/because." No, He loves us with an everlasting love.
He doesn't promise to answer us only if we do this, that, and the other thing. No, He says that if we call to Him He will answer us.
God knows you. He knows your heart. He knows your schedule. And every bit of time you dedicate to knowing Him better puts a smile on His face.
Give Him your heart, ask Him to work in your schedule, and seek Him at the start of your day, throughout your day, and in the stolen moments of your day... I promise you, you will grow and your relationship with God will become more intimate.
In time and in season, the other disciplines will follow.