a guest post (3rd of 5) by Lauren Jones Marquez
Steps to deepen our intimacy with God:
- PLAN? Check.
- TIME OF DAY? Check.
- PLACE? Check.
So… NOW WHAT?
I am sitting here in my comfy chair. I have my Bible, journal, and pen beside me. Now what? What do I actually “do” during my time alone with God each day?
There are so many different methods and helpful reading strategies. There are lots of great resources for this that can be found in books and devotional guides and on the internet. I think different learning styles and personalities benefit in different ways from different methods. I will share what I enjoy doing in this time currently.
I enjoy beginning this time by being still with God and quieting my mind. If I read a praise Psalm at the beginning of this time then my mind tends to focus more on God – and the wonder and majesty of Him – rather than on my own life circumstances and situations. The bigness of God seems to eclipse – in a great way! – the smallness of my life.
Right now, I am really enjoying reading through a Book of the Bible at a time. I like to skip around through different Books after completing one. At other times, I have read the One Year Bible where there is a passage from the OT, NT, Psalms, and Proverbs each day. I have never read through it in a year – it takes me much longer… :-)
I like to read less quantity and more slowly than the reading portion set aside each day in the One Year Bible. I usually read about a chapter or so a day. Some people read much larger portions at a time.
There is a system I tried for a while where I read one chapter each day out of the various sections of the Bible (Prophetic Books, Wisdom Literature, Gospels, etc.). I know some people really appreciate this system, too. There are so many great ways to read the Bible. The main point is – read the Bible! :-)
Recently, I have been reading the Letters in the New Testament. I like the Letters because there is so much practical application. Today I began to read the Gospel of John. I want to get to know Jesus better through learning more about His life and ministry directly.
When I read the Old Testament, I like to use a Bible with a commentary. There is a lot I don’t know about the culture and sacrificial system of the Old Testament. It helps me to read a bit of commentary when I want to understand something better. This is helpful with the New Testament as well. I try not to read more commentary than Scripture, though. That is just my personal choice. I want to use my devotional time primarily reading God’s words.
I learn by writing as I read. I write down the verses or words that stand out to me. I like to write down practical applications as well. I also write down my prayers. My journal isn’t fancy. I am intimidated by fancy journals because I think these require profound thoughts. I know this is not true but this is the reason that my journals are the spiral notebooks that students buy for school.
After reading and writing, I like to sit still and reflect on the content I have just been studying. I pray about this as well – simply talking to (and listening to) God about it. This is a time that I am, in a sense, being still with God – although I am also communicating with God.
This is what I like to do for devotional time in the morning. :-) –LLJM
*This post is the third installment of a series of five guest posts on the topic of “Deepening Intimacy with God” by Lauren Jones Marquez. Here are the links to Lauren’s other four posts in this series: