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10 Tips for Devotional Reading

Looking for ways to get the most out of your personal Bible study and prayer time? Check out these 10 tips taken from Erin’s book, Graffiti: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves.

1. Read a Proverb a day

There are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs and 31 days in most months. Starting on the first day of the month, read a chapter from Proverbs each day. Each one is packed full of insights for living a life that is pleasing to the Lord.

2. Journal

Write out your prayers in the form of letters to God. Then, search the Word for verses that provide wisdom, encouragement or answers to the situations you wrote about. Write those verses near your journal entries. You will be amazed as you read back at past journal entries how faithful the Lord is and how powerful the Word is when applied to your life.

3. Pick a spot

Find a quiet, comfortable place in your house where you can concentrate on being with the Lord. Maybe it’s a big comfy chair in your living room, or a quiet spot on your back deck. If your house is particularly hectic, the bathtub might prove to be your best escape. Set this space apart as sacred and use it regularly as a place to come into God’s presence.

4. Pick a time

Find the time when you are least rushed and most able to focus, and commit to spending that time with God each day. If you find it hard to think clearly in the morning, that probably isn’t the best time for you to get serious about prayer and Bible study. Instead of watching T.V. or surfing the net during the late night hours when you are most awake, set that time aside for reading your Bible. If you wake up feeling awake and alert, spend the first few minutes of your day in the Word. Try to spend time with God approximately the same time each day and make a commitment that you won’t go to bed until you’ve read your Bible.

5. Pick a partner

Ask a Christian friend to be your accountability partner in this area. Encourage her to ask you weekly if you have been faithfully spending time in prayer and Bible study. Do the same for her. Get together regularly at your favorite coffeehouse or restaurant to share about what you’re learning in the Word and what God is teaching you during your prayer time.

6. Celebrate God’s Creation

Pack up your Bible and journal and head outside. Find a lake, a flower-filled meadow, or a hiking trail and dig into passages about God’s role as the Creator. You will likely experience His presence and His Word in new and exciting ways when you surround yourself with the sights and sounds of his creation.

7. Commit it to memory

We learned our ABCs, our friend’s phone numbers, and the quadratic formula the same way: We repeated them over and over in our minds, through our speech and often in writing. Nothing is more important to learn than the Word of God. Work to memorize Scripture. You may find that when you repeat verses over and over, they take on new meaning as they begin to saturate your heart and mind.

8. Focus on the red letters

If you aren’t sure what to read during your quiet time, focus on the words of Jesus. Often His exact words will be highlighted in red in your Bible. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). His words are the source of truth and guidance. When you aren’t sure what to read, focus on what He has to say to you.

9. Dig deeper

Do a study on words or subjects in Scripture: What does the Bible say about the tongue (speech)? Baptism? Rules? Clothing? Heaven? God’s sovereignty? Holiness? Friendship? Prayer? Look for answers to these topics in the Word. I promise, the research will change you, and as you dig deeper, I bet that your appetite for Truth will increase.

10. Find great resources

There are tons of Bible studies available to help guide you and enhance your personal studies. Head off to your nearest Christian bookstore and spend some time digging through them. Look for studies that focus on topics you’re interested in, present information in a conversational style, and require you to spend sizeable amounts of time in the Word. Here are a few recommendations to get you started:

  • Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Claude V. King
  • A Call to Die by David Nasser
  • And of course…Lies Young Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh and the Lies Young Women Believe companion guide by Nancy, Dannah, and Erin!

How about you? What tips do you have for getting more out of God’s Word?

About Author

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Erin is passionate about pointing young women toward God's Truth. She is the author of several books and a frequent speaker and blogger to women of all ages. Erin lives on a small farm in the midwest with her husband and kids. When she's not writing, you can find her herding goats, chickens, and children.

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