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Monday, April 11, 2011


I grew up in a Christian home as a pastor's kid. One ever-present item found on our kitchen table—along with the salt shaker (back when folks used salt), oleo (back when cheaper was more important than healthy) and the daily devotional.

For our family, being Methodist, the devotional was The Upper Room. My father sat at the table every morning, coffee steaming, a bowl of milk and graham crackers munching, Bible open on one side, The Upper Room on the other. I’d tiptoe through the kitchen, making my breakfast, trying not to disturb him, wondering what was so compelling about that small book that made him read it every morning without fail.

Occasionally I flipped through the pages. It didn’t look like much. A scripture, a couple of paragraphs and a prayer. Yet, Dad spent so much time with it. Every day.

After I left home and settled into my own adult morning routine, devotionals were not a part of it. Daily devotionals were probably something only pastors did, I reasoned. I was a “Christian.” I understood the doctrines and believed them, but as for spending time each day with my Lord? Not so much. Especially not first thing in the morning. Even more not so much after young children came into my life and clamored for my morning grogginess.  

Over the years, however, spending those first moments with Jesus have become precious. And one of the best parts of my morning routine is my daily devotional.  Like my dad’s devotional, mine includes a short scripture, prayer and narrative. Usually not quite enough meat for the whole day, but enough to get me going and get me refocused on God.

It occurred to me this last week that the phrase “daily devotional” itself is something to meditate on. Here’s what I discovered.

It is DAILY. A devotional should not just be a now and then salute to the God of the universe. God is with us 24/7. We need to spend time with Him daily.

It is time we DEVOTE. A devotional, while generally short in length, should not be short in the attention we give it. Nor in the time we meditate on it. By starting the devotional in the early part of the day, it helps us align our thoughts to the sacred, giving us a snapshot of scripture to meditate on throughout the rest of the day.

It is an expression of DEVOTION. To our God. It need not take us hours, but if it involves our heart and our mind, it is a small sacrifice of our time and attention, and the first fruits of our morning to our Lord.

As I’m writing this post, I suddenly flashed on the movie, Grease, remembering Olivia Newton John singing alongside a blow-up swimming pool, wistfully admitting that she was hopelessly devoted to John Travolta. If I wake up singing that song tomorrow, I hope God will smile, knowing that by starting my day, each day, with a devotional, it realigns my thinking and affirms that I am hopeFULLY devoted to Him.

PRAYER:  Heavenly Father, we thank you for this day made new and for everything you have planned for us today. Help us to be attuned to your leading in all things and to work for your kingdom and for your glory. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Is a daily devotional part of your day? It may not be all you do or read to help you focus on God, but is it a part? What does it mean to you? What is your favorite devotional resource?

THIS POST is an anchor post on the topic of daily devotionals. It begins our “Meditation Mondays” series. Each Monday we will discuss specific devotional resources in publication. We’ll also talk with devotional authors about what they write and where they get their inspiration in order to inspire us. We'll even post a few devotionals here to share. And we’ll generally chat about all things devotional. 

Stay tuned.

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