To all the Jesus believers out there, does spending daily, intentional time with God seem daunting or intimidating?
Where do I start? How long does it need to be? Do I have to wake up early? What if I forget? Or, what if it’s a really busy day?
I’ve wrestled with all of these questions, and more.
As a kid and teenager, I loved to read. It was a rare day indeed when I wasn’t in the middle of a book or finishing a book or starting a new one. But reading the BIBLE? That was hard.
It felt like a chore, to be honest. I thought I had to read my Bible to make God happy and prove I was a good Christian. I’d go through seasons when I read it most days and other seasons when it took a backseat to everything else in my life. The latter made me feel so guilty!
Unfortunately, I missed the point back then.
While I did know in my head that reading the Bible would help me grow in my relationship with God, there’s a big difference between knowing and believing.
At some level, daily time with God still felt like too many rules. Checking off a box. Doing it to avoid feeling like a failure. Doing it to satisfy God.
The truth is, daily Bible reading and time with God is not a to-do list item. It’s not about being a good or bad Christian. It’s not even about making God happy or sad—even though spending time with us does make God happy.
Daily time with God is about learning more about Him and growing with Him. It’s meant to be a privilege and a joy—not drudgery. Not an inconvenience. Not something we have to do.
If it feels like the latter to you, I first challenge you to pray. Keep it simple. Ask God to help you with the desire to spend time in His word.
How I became consistent with my daily devotional
Friend, I struggled for 30+ years to find consistency in my daily relationship with God. And, I’m still not perfect. But, I’m at a place where I look forward to it and know I need it, so it’s rare that I ever miss a day in the Word.
Throughout the years, I tried multiple methods—none of which were wrong! I’ve read through the entire Bible… used various devotionals found in bookstores and online… joined Bible study groups… simply opened the Bible to a random page. Each worked… for a while.
Then I’d have to find a new devotional book. Or another group. Or, it felt too random. Or, too structured. Of course, all of those feelings were mine, not God’s. I was overthinking it. Again, none of the above options are wrong and I still utilize them at times.
However, it wasn’t till I stumbled upon First15 that my daily time with God became (almost) 100% consistent. (And this is 100% NOT sponsored. I doubt they even do sponsorships!)
Here’s what I love about First15:
- It’s a daily devotional that’s conveniently available. I don’t have to go out and buy another book or figure out what to read today.
- I can read or listen—via email, the First15 app, or in podcast form.
- It includes daily scripture within the devotional, prayer prompts, AND a suggested entire chapter of the Bible to read, which I always do along with the devotional text.
- Each week has a theme or focus. This helps me retain what I read better throughout the week, while also regularly touching on new areas I need to grow in.
There was a time in my life when I believed I’d never be one of those Christians who had a consistent devotional time with God. Now, I not only have that consistency, but I have it because I want it and I know I need it. Not to check off my Christian to-do list or do it because God needs me to. It’s a daily part of my life that I actually crave.
I now understand it’s not something I have to do because I’m a Christian; it’s something I want to do because I know just how much I need God in my life every single day.
Tips to get started with daily time in the Bible
Maybe First15 isn’t for you. The beauty is, there isn’t only one right way. God just wants you to come to Him and give Him your time, however you do it! Some of the options I mentioned above—reading through the Bible in a year, using devotional books, joining a Bible study group—may be exactly what you need right now to get started.
If being more consistent with God is something you crave, yet it feels unattainable, I’ve got some tips for you.
If committing to time every day feels scary, tell God. Ask Him to help you focus on today… one day at a time. I promise, He is patient!
Maybe start with one or two verses a day, and pray over them. Or, pick a book of the Bible and start reading till you feel like stopping… and then pick up where you left off the next day. If you feel like you’re committing to too much at the beginning, it’s less likely you’ll stick with it. I say that from experience.
Not sure which book to start with? Psalms and Proverbs are excellent choices. So are Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John (aka. The Gospels) in the New Testament.
Overall, do what you can do one day at a time. God doesn’t demand perfection. He only wants your willingness.
Any time of day
For a long time, I thought I had to wake up early to spend time with God. It seemed like the “best” Christians read their Bibles at 5 or 6am, which sounded horrible to me. I’m a night owl, through and through. At times, I tried to wake up early, but more often than not, I failed—which only discouraged me.
Ironically, I do now spend time with God every morning, but I don’t wake up early. Instead, I listen to the audio version of First15 and then the audio version of the Bible (via the YouVersion Bible App). Why audio? Some mornings, I listen while I’m walking or slow jogging. Other mornings, I’ll listen while I’m getting ready for the day. I can do those activities mindlessly, so my focus is on God. It also gives me time to pray.
But, occasionally my time with God ends up happening before I go to bed—usually when my day starts extra early or I’m extra rushed and know I won’t listen well enough.
All that to say, there’s no pressure to do it in the morning, or even at the same time every day. And, the beautiful thing about a relationship with God is that He’s available ANY time. You can literally pray to Him throughout the day, which is what I do in addition to my morning devotional.
Incorporate other forms of worship
Maybe you love to write or journal. Adding that to your daily time with God could help you build that consistency and desire. But, if journaling isn’t your thing, that’s okay. I’ve personally tried journaling with my daily devotionals and it always feels like a to-do list item—which is exactly what I don’t ever want this to feel like again!
Maybe worship music connects you with God. Listen to a song before or after your time in the Word. Sing along and pray the lyrics, even. While music isn’t a replacement for reading the Bible, it can certainly enhance your time spent with God.
Approach this with humility
Did you know? Humility in the Biblical sense is knowing our need of God. Acknowledging that need is the basis for desiring that daily time with God.
I don’t always do this well, but it seems that the longer I go with a consistent daily devotional, the more I see my desperate need to start my day with God. The more I seek His direction for that day. And, the more I feel convicted to change the areas of my life I need to change.
I need God daily. It’s not the other way around.
If you’ve been struggling to have daily time with God, I hope this helps you feel like you’re not alone and gives you some practical ways to start.
If you do have consistent, daily time in the Word, please comment with your own tips or devotionals or anything that’s helped you along the way.
3 thoughts on “How to Spend Time With God Daily Because You Want to—Not Because You Have to”
Thank you so much for this post Jayme! Your words were perfectly written and exactly what I needed.
Gwyn, I’m smiling because God is so good to us! He put this post on my heart to write this weekend, and I sat down and the words poured out. I never know who a post might resonate with, but I pray they do. I’m happy this one helped you 🤍 God knew I needed to write it for you!
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