|Written by Patrick Morley|
|Monday, July 11 2011 00:00|
49. Private Devotions
Whenever a man tells me that he doesn't feel very close to God, the first thing I say is, "Tell me about your devotional life." Often the problem is just there.
Teach your men how to have private devotions or a "quiet time." Tell them, "A quiet time is a routine period, usually at the beginning or end of the day, in which five, fifteen, thirty minutes, an hour or more are set aside to read and study God's Word, pray, and possibly perform other spiritual disciplines."
Actually, the Bible calls for continual prayer and Bible meditation. "Pray continually" (1 Thessalonians 5:17). "Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests" (Ephesians 6:18). "His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night" (Psalm 1:2). The quiet time, then, is an accommodation to an overly busy culture. Nevertheless, it can greatly enhance anyone's walk with God. In fact, without it, it is questionable if a man can really have an ongoing relationship with Christ.
How much time should you devote to daily quiet time? Tell men, "If you don't already have a quiet time, why not consider giving five minutes a day to read one chapter of the New Testament? Read one chapter a day five days a week and you will complete the 260 chapters of the New Testament in one year. Then say a prayer like the Lord's Prayer, or you could use the ACTS acrostic (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication). Consider setting a maximum time limit for devotional life, rather than a minimum. This will keep down the guilt. Later, if you want to increase the time you spend, fine.
But they should start with a realistic goal. Explain: "The best length of time is the one you will actually do. Don't bite off more than you will chew."
How often should your men have a quiet time? Have them aim for five days a week, allowing for early-morning meetings, glitches, etc. Tell them: "You wouldn't expect to eat once or twice a week and be healthy. Neither can you feed your spirit
One benefit of daily devotions for your men is that they will develop the sense of an ongoing spiritual pilgrimage, not something that he accomplishes once for all. The impatience of wanting to "be there" is turned to a holy patience by coming daily to the table in search of a piece of bread.
For More: Go to www.pastoringmen.com and click on "49. Private Devotions" to read the article "How to Have a Consistent Quiet Time."
Yours for changed lives,
Patrick Morley, PhD
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