By Troy Haagenson
I was sitting comfortably in a college classroom escaping the southern humidity when the professor spit out a zinger. “Many pastors are killing ministry!” A question immediately formed in my young mind. How could people that are called to minister destroy their own effectiveness? The teacher spared no words in describing the lack of personal devotional time within pastoral ministry. Ouch, that hit a nerve with me.
I can’t begin to count the number of months in my life when I really wanted devotional consistency, (you know what comes next) …only to let other priorities get in the way. This is a challenge not just among dedicated ministers, but church leaders, members, volunteers, and just about everyone who is trying to know Jesus better.
Many of us struggle deeply with maintaining spiritual practices. There are always things to do that seem to interrupt these important habits in our faith journey. If it’s not the shower, its breakfast, or the snooze button, or kids, or school work, or to-do lists, or screen time, or a new job; new girlfriend; new toy; new schedule… I remember a zealous speaker once saying, “You have to love God more than your pillow.” I needed to hear that. But I hated to hear that, because it was a truth I wasn’t living.
From the midst of our personal whirlwinds and excuses, we must ask ourselves, “What is my devotional neglect costing me?” In other words, what do we miss out on because of our inconsistent devotional life?
At the top of this list is a loss of divine connection. Can we develop healthy relationships with our friends or spouse if we are not spending time together? The same is true with God. If we are not talking to God frequently, we miss out on the personal growth and the relational dynamic of knowing him. God desires oneness with us, but that only happens through time spent in prayer.
A loss of opportunity also results from neglecting to pick up our Bibles consistently. If we are not reading the scriptures, we miss out on what could be taking place in our hearts and lives. Jesus said that the word of God, having been heard and received, brought forth much fruit. Without hearing God’s word on a regular basis, we are losing opportunities to develop a warmer affection for Him and making a difference in the world. If those are not great goals, then let the book get dusty as we keep missing out on what could have been amazing.
Few believers would disagree that the two core practices of reading the Bible and prayer change our lives and the world in significant ways. God wants each of us to experience that life of significance.
Since these devotional habits are so important, why don’t we ask each other about them more often? When was the last time you asked a peer how their devotional life was going. You may easily ask questions like: “Are you still hitting the gym; are you taking time to slow down; are you still seeing that girl?” But an inquiry about reading the Bible or prayer life is consistently left unasked.
The DevoteAbility team believes this has to change if we are to see revival in the church. We set out on an experiment to give you a tool to help break the cycle. The communal nature of our app and built-in accountability is where the power is felt. The DevoteAbility app asks the tough question for you. It creates awareness within your group without any one person asking the question, “Did you get your devotions in today?” The reporting platform does the asking for you and tracks the progress of the group and individual.
Simon Sinek once said, “Give someone responsibility and they will do their best. Make them accountable and they will do even better.”
We have absolute confidence that your life will become more deeply rewarding and revitalized from connecting to God through daily Bible reading and prayer. These practices change hearts and we applaud every effort you take to lead yourself and others in a stronger devotional life.
Let’s influence our friends, colleagues, and family into life-enhancing devotional consistency that leads to a stronger personal attachment to God and each other! Blessings on your journey and feel free to share your feedback with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you.