How we prepare for time with Jesus can affect the quality of that time. Our pre-prayer preparation matters, in both posturing our hearts and preparing a place and plan. In this article, I share about the practical side of organizing our daily devotional time.
These tips require us to plan ahead. Don’t wait until a few minutes before your quiet time, but ready everything beforehand.
1. Choose the time and place.
Where is the best place for you to get alone with God?
Choose a spot where you will be as undistracted as possible. In some circumstances, I know of folks who chose their vehicle as their prayer place!
When is the best time?
Pick a time when you are most alert and quiet is available if possible. This may change season to season. When the time and place stops working for you, take time to reassess and adjust as necessary.
2. Prepare needed items.
Have your Bible and journal ready in your prayer spot, along with writing utensils and highlighters. Prepare these items the evening before–for instance–if you spend time with God in the morning.
Also, set your alarm to give ample time to wake up and prepare your coffee or tea ahead of time. At the least, it’s best to have water within reach, and maybe tissues too!
Extra Tips for Digital Journal Prep
If your journal is digital, have the writing “page” ready beforehand. I use Evernote. Each month has its own note within a notebook for the current year. Month notes contain daily entries with their date for journaling thoughts, Scripture, prophetic words and prayers.
3. Know what to do with distractions.
How will you handle with distractions?
Distractions often surface during our devotional time: tasks to accomplish, phone calls to make, concerns we have, ideas to process, etc. I recommend a 3×5″ memo pad (or an app to store tasks/notes if your journaling is digital). Have that note pad ready alongside your Bible and journal.
Read this article about dealing with distractions.
4. Have a plan.
Having a plan will ensure you spend more time actually connecting with God. Otherwise, we may succumb to distractions or only graze several surface ideas instead of deepening our friendship with God.
I recommend choosing a Bible reading plan. This is especially helpful for those times when we just go blank as we sit down to be with the Lord. Don’t be legalistic about this if God is leading you elsewhere on a particular day.
A plan could be as simple as working the New Testament or Psalms, choosing a Christ-centered devotional, a Bible study or similar. Regardless, don’t just read through. Engage your heart and mind by praying, speaking and singing the Word so it can go deep in you and your heart connects with Christ’s.
“Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts.” Colossians 3:16 (AMPC)
Prepare ahead and your time with the Lord will be more focused and rewarding. Instead of trying to organize things last minute or staying distracted, you can settle quickly into quality time conversing with God.