A number of years ago, I was on the phone, discussing the inner workings of my faith. It was part of an entrance interview for a discipleship program.
“How many hours a day do you spend reading your Bible and praying?” the man asked.
Hours!? I thought. Feeling rather ashamed, I answered, “Maybe 30 minutes.”
There was a pause. “Oh, well, that needs some work.” He went on to explain that I should be spending at least two hours a day in Bible reading, study and prayer. Wasn’t God worth my time, he prodded. Shouldn’t I be eager to spend two hours of every day worshiping God?
I felt guilty, ashamed, and unimpressive. Grant you, I am well aware that my spiritual walk needed work. It still does!
I tried. I tried for a couple of months to read as much Bible as I could before my eyes crossed, and pray until my knees went numb. On the best days, I would spend an hour, tops. It started to become burdensome to me. When he would check in, I would be met with the same disappointment, “Well, we still have work to do.”
Then, one day, it dawned on me. Who says I have to spend two hours doing this? Yes, I love God, but two hours?! It’s not that He isn’t worth it. The fact remains that I don’t spend two hours straight doing anything (with the exception of driving).
We stick a lot of rules on our faith some times. Experts will tell you to get up early in the morning, but what if you aren’t a morning person? Others will say to read before bed (meditating day and night), but what if you are the person who collapses into bed exhausted?
We slap time restrictions, timelines, chapter limits and word counts on our relationship with God, and all it does is frustrate us. When we get frustrated, we give up. When we give up, we fall. The solution is not to just ‘get stronger.’ The solution is to pick a plan that works for you.
- Look at your typical daily schedule. Figure out the best time to spend some time strengthening your faith. You guessed it, set your alarm, and start small. Maybe it is a couple chapters of the Bible and five minutes of prayer. Perhaps you are a little more experienced so you read five chapters and spend 20 minutes in prayer. Pick a plan that works for you.
- Start reading that book you picked out yesterday. If reading isn’t your thing, then just read until you reach something that sticks out. Write it down so you can think about it for a while.
For me: I do my devotions in the morning, because I am a morning person. I write down one thought from what I have read so I can think about it throughout the day.