4 Ways to Improve Your Prayer, Fasting, and Devotional Life in 2017 - Part 2
Yesterday I gave us two important things to keep in mind when fasting. Today I will give us two more practical ways that we can improve our prayer and devotional time in 2017. We all desire to be consistent in our prayer and devotional time. But if you are like me, you've noticed that staying consistent in these disciplines is a struggle. Here are a couple of things I've learned that have helped me develop consistency and discipline:
3. We Must Schedule Our Prayer and Bible Reading Times
Life is busy. Whether its family devotions or our personal devotional time, we have to schedule it into our day if it’s going to happen. Anything worth doing is worth scheduling. Sometimes we feel the more spiritual thing is to be spontaneous in devotions. But how long will that go before we are not doing anything at all? If we want to grow in our walk with God, then we are going to need to be consistently seeking Him. Then as we do grow in our walk with God, often the Lord will expand our horizons and increase our influence. Then it becomes even more important that we are seeking God and His Presence! Our devotional life needs to grow proportionately with our relationship with God and His favor, blessings, and calling on our lives. I'm convinced that we will never walk in His Presence, favor, and power without a devotional life...but we won't keep His Presence, favor, and power without even a greater devotional life.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."
4. We Must Have a Plan for Bible Reading
I absolutely love the Bible, but it has never worked for me to not have a reading plan. If our only plan is to open the Bible and start reading wherever, most of us will find that our Bible reading soon fades. I use the Bible App by LifeChurch.tv available for all Apple and Android users. I love it! It is loaded with different translations and many great options for devotionals and Bible reading plans. It allows us to highlight verses and make notes on verses as the Holy Spirit speaks to us. This year I will read the New Testament multiple times over and over. What do you feel God wants you to focus on this year? Maybe its Psalms and Proverbs, maybe it’s the Gospels or the Epistles. Ask God for direction and roll with it! Some prefer to read their hard copy of the Bible. Great! The same is true. Come up with a direction and stay with it.
Finally, I want to share some thoughts that the Lord gave to my youngest son Luke the other night at our corporate prayer time. My reason for sharing them is that I found them thought provoking. Here's what he wrote:
"What is your definition of salvation? How much do you trust God? How much does He trust you? Does He love you? Yes!!
What have you found in Him? Who do you say that I am, He asks? So who do you say He is? As I said before, do you trust Him? We don't want to be like Jonah who did not trust that God will pick us up when we fall. Jonah was a man who prayed lots. One day through prayer he was given a calling to preach to the people of Nineveh. He did not trust God, the One who created the whole world. At the end he did, but we should trust God right away."
Marc P. Eidahl