The following is from an email I sent to some of my younger siblings in Christ whom I dearly love.
A powerful reminder to us who are in Christ:
“His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:3-8 HCSB)
Family I beg you, do not neglect the Word of God. I’m going to boldly say if your “quiet time” only consists of a devotional, you’re becoming religious rather than relational.
I’m not saying devotionals are evil, but I am saying they are very limiting and potentially dangerous for the believer who replaces the Word with a devotional.
Many devotionals give you a snippet of Scripture and a thought and/or prayer to consider. There’s three problems with this set-up:
1.) A snippet of Scripture is baby food.
This may be okay for a lunch break at work or school, but for your quality time with God?
2.) The author is interpreting Scripture for you, but what if their take is wrong, or rather shallow?
There may be much more layers to that passage (there usually are), but now you’re only getting a taste of the revelation they were shown by the Holy Spirit. But what if you prayed and studied the passages on your own, asking the Holy Spirit to teach you and speak to you? Don’t you think you might get more out of this time than the devotional?
3.) They are giving you a prayer to recite so now your prayer is a quick two sentences that isn’t being personally led by the Holy Spirit, or at least quenches the Spirit, because you say it and then move on with your day
Prayer is intimate. Prayer is insanely powerful. When we base our times in prayer on whatever our devotional tells us to pray, we are totally missing out, and God is missing us.
Imagine every time you spoke to your best friend, it was a two minute (if that) conversation. Basically, these devotional prayers are like the quick, unintentional, chit-chat conversations we have with people we don’t know very well.
When we go deeper in prayer, it’s like the long, intense conversations we have with our close friends that give us revelation and deeper insight into who both of us are, and there’s usually something accomplished in those longer, intentional conversations; whether it be a greater understanding about a personal issue, guidance as to what we should do, a greater love and compassion for each other, getting help with math homework, or a acquiring a new beta reader, something is accomplished in those deeper conversations, things are revealed.
This is what happens in intentional prayer where you make time for God and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words.
Jesus didn’t talk about the persistent widow who kept pestering the unjust judge for justice for no reason. The bible doesn’t mention Christ spending hours in prayer for no reason. It doesn’t say the “fervent” prayer of the righteous accomplishes much for no reason.
So, my beloved siblings in Christ, my challenge for you is to go deeper in your Bible time and prayer time. Draw near to God, and then He will draw near to you.
Love you guys! Praying for you.