Daily devotions is a phrase used to denote the discipline of Bible reading and prayer with which Christians start or end their day. Bible reading in daily devotions can take the form of a structured study using a devotional book or a simple reading of certain passages. Some people like to read through the Bible in a year. Prayer in daily devotions can include any or all of the different types of prayer—praise, confession, thanksgiving, petition, and intercession. Some people use prayer lists for their daily devotions. Others prefer to pray as they read the Word in an interactive manner, listening for God speaking to them through the Bible passages and responding in prayer. Whatever the format of daily devotions, the important thing is that our daily devotions, as the name implies, be truly devoted to God and occur daily.
It is important to spend time with God in daily devotions. Why? Paul explains: “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). The experience of having God’s light shine in our hearts comes in our times spent in the presence of God. Of course, this light comes only from knowing God through Christ. The marvelous treasure of the Holy Spirit is given to each Christian, and we need faith to believe and act upon that truth. In all reality, if we truly yearn to experience the light of our Lord, we will need to be with God every day.
Someone once said, “The gospel brings man to God; devotions keep him close to God.” The apostle James wrote, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8). As the children of God seek a closer relationship with God, they will find God is closer than ever. In their daily devotions, Christians seek to draw close to God’s heart, understand more about Him, obey His commands, and hold on to His promises. The impure and double-minded will have no such yearning in their hearts. In fact, they will seek to separate themselves from God as much as possible.
In daily devotions, we want to draw near to God. The expression “draw near” was originally associated with the priesthood in Israel. Under the regulations of the Old Covenant, the priests represented the people before God. However, prior to approaching God’s presence, the priest had to be washed physically and be ceremonially clean. This meant he had to bathe, wear the proper garments, and offer the proper sacrifices. His own heart had to be right with God. Then he could “draw near” to God on the people’s behalf. In time, the concept of “drawing near” was applied to anyone who approached God’s presence in worship and prayer.
The sincere believer knows that God wants His people to draw near to Him with true and pure hearts, and that’s what daily devotions are all about. “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22). This verse applies the language of the Old Testament ceremonial system to us today. Just as those ancient priests prepared themselves to be near God, we also should prepare ourselves spiritually to worship Him, whether in formal worship or in our personal devotional times.
After salvation, the spiritual growth begins. The believer will, like Enoch, naturally want to walk with God (Genesis 5:22). He will, like Asaph, desire to be near God (Psalm 73:28). He will, like the disciples, yearn to pray effectively (Luke 11:1). In short, the child of God will want to find time for daily devotions.
Prophet Nathan Emol