God reveals everything we need to know about Himself in the Bible. Therefore, reading the Bible brings a deeper knowledge of God and how your life fits into His plan. These “devotionals” often involve reading a Bible passage and reflecting on it.
For example, Our Daily Bread (odb.org) publishes several online and printed studies that take a short passage of Scripture and unpack its theme.
There are many ways to do devotionals however here are some tips to go deeper. Remember, your aim is to know God in a richer way.
If devotionals are about knowing God, that means relationships are at the heart of this process. Starting a devotional by talking to God (a.k.a. prayer) is a great way to open this time, to help you focus and to communicate with God. It could be as simple as asking God to, “reveal yourself to me through this Bible passage, please.”
Pray a Psalm
The Psalms are already prayers and perfect to pray through. The beauty of the Psalms is that they speak to us: God’s Word speaking into our lives. They also speak for us: they express the same emotions and cries we have. One good tip is to highlight the different parts of a psalm in different colours. Each section could be a different part of your prayer.
For example, one section of the Psalm becomes the prayer of praise, another a prayer of repentance, and another one of request. As an example, pray through Psalm 2 that starts with divine judgement on those mocking God (verses 1-5). It then becomes a prayer of praise as God speaks and shows His rule through Jesus (verses 6-9). It then gives us instructions to serve and honour Jesus (verses 10-12).
Another great tip is to speak these prayers out loud. This helps bring out the impact of these songs as you hear them read aloud.
While we are talking about the Psalms as a great devotional tool to pray through and study, why not add music to enrich your devotionals?
The Psalms were songs Jesus sung. Some modern bands, such as Geelong group Sons of Korah, put music to these songs that allow you to not only read them but also sing them. Connecting Psalms to music is a great tip to go deeper in your understanding of Jesus. Check out https://sonsofkorah.com/
My final tip builds off the need for prayer in your devotionals: keeping a prayer diary. To go to a deeper level in your devotionals why not get a notebook or online program that allows you to list people and topics to pray for as well as make notes on these?
There are many prayer apps, such as https://www.prayermate.net/app, that connect with your phone contacts and allow you to personalize specific prayer points. Some can even link in with mission organizations. Of course, using a notebook also works well especially if you read a paper Bible book and can keep them together. These tips are simply trying to take you deeper by organizing your devotional prayers in a structured way.
God is a God of relationships. The fact He speaks through the Bible proves this. The fact He sent Jesus into this world secures this relationship. This is a great encouragement for us to search after a deeper relationship with Him through regular devotionals of Bible reading and prayer.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover1.html