You could take a power nap.
You could scoot over to Starbucks to get coffee.
You could even get one more load of laundry started, or maybe do the breakfast dishes.
You could check your email, or watch a couple of YouTube videos . . . but it wouldn’t be the best 20 minutes of your day.
I’ve wrestled with the concept of devotional time . . . a lot.
My natural state is busy, always moving. It’s counter-intuitive for me to sit still for too long.
Over the years, I’ve carved out time to read my Bible and pray, albeit irregularly, late at night before bed, in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep, and well, just before Bible study.
I’ve used the excuse that I don’t have time, that I have babies/toddlers, that I have too much work to do, that XYZ needs cleaning, that dinner needs to be made, that the classroom needs me to volunteer–you get the idea.
. . . the list goes on and on.
I’m sure you’ve probably got your own strategy and maybe have it all figured out, but for the rest of us, we still need help with carving out quiet prayer time. I know I do.
This past fall, I has said ‘yes’ to help lead worship at my church’s regular Thursday morning Bible study. I’d already met with the leader, worked out the details, scheduled the dates for special music, and even registered online.
Then, all of a sudden, I felt God tell me “no.”
Don’t get me wrong, Bible study is a wonderful, beautiful thing. Studying God’s Word, visiting with women, teaching time, prayer, even snacks and coffee–all good and beneficial activities.
But this past summer, I decided that I couldn’t leave my quite time with God up to the whims and wishes of my calendar any longer. I needed regularity.
Just like going to the gym or running regularly to stay in shape, I needed a plan.
I found month-by-month daily a daily lectionary reading schedule online, printed it out, and set out to reclaim the best 20 minutes of my day.
At first, it was hard to discipline myself; I was thinking of all the other things I had to do that day.
Then, day by day, I began to notice how God was quieting my spirit with His presence during our daily time together.
Slowly, steadily, it became a practice, a discipline.
I felt Jesus with me, as if sitting in the chair nearby with his coffee mug, cheering me on as the Bible came alive during this short burst of time.
The BEST 20 minutes.
The VERY BEST 20 minutes.
Part of me knew that if I added one more thing – even Bible study for two and a half hours per week – it would take away from my new-found connection with the Lord.
I now craved the quiet, the stillness, the pause in my day where I took time out from everything to pursue my Jesus.
While I’ve heard some Christian leaders be militant about this time – like waking up at 5 am every day is the only option – my goal in writing about this topic is not to guilt trip anyone or seem as though I’ve got it all together, or have figured IT out. We are all struggling in one way or another.
I wrestled with making daily Bible reading a priority.
I’ve done countless Bible studies as well as other types of strategies, but for me, I need a little bit, every day. Snack-sized increments, 20 minute bites.
Whether you take time early in the morning, at lunchtime, just before bed, or any other time that fits into your schedule, I urge you to seize the best 20 minutes of your day.
You won’t be disappointed.