digging into devotions - a miniseries (Clara Lou Johns)

>> October 12, 2010

This is part of a mini-series featuring profiles of PWs about their devotional life and how they spend quality time with God. 

Clara Lou Johns
2 grown sons, both also pastors
This is my current devotional practice although I have tried many other methods throughout my life.  This plan has been most meaningful for me.

I prefer to have my devotional time in the morning, first thing, before I do anything else.  My mind is clear, refreshed and the house is quiet.  No phones ringing, nobody in the house is yet stirring, and it is peaceful.  Since the children are gone, I chose a comfortable chair in the guest room that has a floor lamp positioned next to it for good lightening.  I keep my devotional paraphrase Bible there and a devotional book that I have selected from our library.

I begin with a short prayer for the Lord to draw near and open my mind to His truth.  I want this to be a time of spiritual growth for me personally.  I have been reading the Bible through from Genesis to Revelation completing it in about 1 ½ years, then I start again.  I will usually read 2 chapters from the Bible and approximately 2 pages from a spiritual book.  

As I am reading, I am writing down things from both sources for which I want to praise God. I write down things that I want God to do for me in my personal spiritual growth, and another short list of things I need him to transform in my character.  I also write down the prayer requests that come to my mind while I am studying and things for which I am thankful.

By the time I finish my study I have a prayer list in front of me that includes:
  • Praising God, 
  • Petitioning God for specific requests, 
  • Asking for God to help my spiritual experience with Him, 
  • Areas of character weakness that I recognize only He can change, and 
  • Thanksgiving for things that He has done for me.  
Pastor & Clara Lou Johns
I usually list about 4 things in each area, except the Petitions.  That can have as many as are brought to my mind.  I then use this list to pray and talk out loud to God and turn it into a conversation with the Lord.
Starting my day like this keeps life in perspective.  I ask God to help me view life from His bigger perspective and then I give to Him the burdens I am carrying because He has said His burden is light, His yoke is easy.
Here's an EXAMPLE:  For years I had a tendency to worry about every problem that occurred with the people in the church. When I started asking God to remove this worry, fear and anxiety from my character, He did so day by day.  I know He took care of it because I have such a different response to these issues now, and the worry part is gone. Praise God, His word teaches us and His love reaches us through this personal time with Him.
Share what you do to get personal time with God in a comment below!

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