God created us for relationships, both with Him and with other people. For a relationship to work, we must spend time with the person with whom we want to be in relationship. When a man and a woman marry, they need to spend time with each other for that relationship to grow. When two people embark on a friendship, they need to spend time together in order to cultivate that friendship. Our most important relationship is with our Creator, with God. If spending time with a spouse or a friend is necessary for the relationship to flourish, how much more so is this true in our relationship with God? Yet, how often do we neglect to cultivate that most important of relationships by neglecting to spend time with God through personal devotions?
In order to grow as followers of Christ and to deepen our relationship with the God who created us, we need to set aside time each day for personal devotions, for that quiet time in the presence of God. We need to make time to sit with Him, to talk with Him, to listen for His voice. It doesn’t matter if that time is in the morning, in the afternoon, or in the evening. What matters is that we make that time a priority in our days, scheduling it on our calendars, if necessary, just as we would schedule appointments, time with friends and family, or dates with our spouses. God deserves nothing less than our full intentionality in making our time with Him the most important time of our day.
Jesus gave us the example to follow. In Mark 1:35, we read that Jesus woke in the early morning, before the sun had shown its face, and went off on His own to pray, to spend time with the Father. Jesus knew that He needed to spend that time in the presence of the Father. I would venture to say that, if Jesus needed that time, we need it even more. When we make time for our personal devotions, we are saying not only that God is a priority in our lives but also that we need that time to help us through each day of our lives. I can personally vouch for that! On days when I forget to spend time with God, the entire day can seem off. My mood and my attitude can even be affected. But when I make that time for personal devotions, I am strengthened throughout my day, my mood is better, and I have a more positive attitude.
Personal devotion time requires discipline. It requires intentionality. What that time looks like may vary from person to person. It may include time spent in worship (in fact, it should!). It may include time spent confessing any sin that has crept into our lives. It may include time lifting prayer requests to God. But one thing we should always include in our time with God is stillness, time spent waiting on His voice, listening to what He has to say to us. And when He speaks to us, it is a good practice to write in a journal what we hear from Him. No matter what form your personal devotions take, I guarantee you that, when you make it a priority, when you make it part of your life each day, you will treasure that time like no other.