In recent weeks I have been doing quite a bit of thinking and writing about personal devotions. A couple of days ago I came across an article I wrote back in 2009 titled “The Quiet Time Performance.” It seemed rather apropos and showed me that I’ve been thinking about these things, on an off, for quite some time now. Here is how I began that article:
Like all Christians, I love my quiet time. I am always thrilled at the prospect of sitting down for a few quiet moments before a busy day to spend some time alone with God—a few moments one-on-one with my Creator. I love to open the Bible and to carefully and systematically read the Word of God, allowing it to penetrate my heart. I love to sit and think deeply and meditatively about the Scriptures and to seek ways that I can apply God’s word to my heart. I love to pray to God, pouring out my heart in confession, praise, thanksgiving and petition. It is always the best and greatest part of my day. I couldn’t live without my quiet time.
But that’s not reality, is it?
I sometimes love my quiet time. I am sometimes thrilled at the prospect of sitting down to spend some time with God; too often, though, I dread it. I’d rather catch up on the news or spend some time writing or reading a good book or find out how badly the Blue Jays beat the A’s the day before. My quiet time is often invaded by little children, demanding my time and attention. Too often I hate to make my way through a difficult book of the Bible and dread spending another day reading through the prophecies of Isaiah. Thinking requires more time and effort than I am willing to give and it usually seems that a quick, cursory prayer is enough to make me feel that I’ve done my duty and asked God to bless my day and to forgive me for being a jerk with my kids the night before. I skim Scripture, breathe a prayer, and settle down to my breakfast.
That’s a little closer to reality, right?
If you, like me, have struggled to make your devotions something that is done with joy instead of something that you do only out of guilt-filled obligation, you may enjoy the article.