A View from the Pew: Resources for Daily Devotions

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If you are doing your best to start 2019 with a renewed focus on your spiritual disciplines, then I would encourage you to consider what resources you use to facilitate a meaningful daily time with God.

I made a few changes to my practice this year and thought the process might be helpful to other lay people seeking a more consistent daily devotional practice.

For the past few years, I have been reading the Bible in the morning without any supplemental material. I decided during Advent 2018 to return to a helpful devotional guide my friend, Rick, gave me back in 2004 called “A Guide to Prayer for All God’s People” published by Upper Room.

This guide is a comprehensive daily program beginning with Advent and ending with Christ the King Sunday. It also comes with monthly prayer retreat models. The format combines texts from the Lectionary with devotional writings and prayers. I have enjoyed re-incorporating journaling along with the guide to add a mechanism for response that helps that day’s devotion really sink in.

In the past I have used a number of other resources. Here are just a few to consider if you’re looking to get started with a devotional guide or add some variety to your daily disciplines:

Reflections by NextSunday Resources. I picked up my first copy of “Reflections” more than 10 years ago to help prepare for writing a series of devotions for this popular and very accessible resource. I liked that it had a variety of voices represented, and the writers really exercised creativity in reflecting on the texts, which follow the narrative Lectionary. You can purchase a hard copy broken into trimesters or download the e-book version here.

“d365” by Passport. Touted as a resource for youth, I used Passport’s free d365 online daily devotion for several years. I liked the portable format, which is also available as an app, and I liked the way the different writers approached the texts. The addition of music enhanced the experience for me, but for those who prefer a quiet version, you can mute the sound. The web version is available here or you can download the app from your mobile service provider.

“Daily Devotional” by Upper Room. Another online resource but one with a subscription is “Daily Devotional” by Upper Room. You can enjoy a free 30-day trial here. It includes a Scripture reading, a thought of the day, a prayer focus, and a link to more content on the topic. There is also a comment function if you like to see what others have to say on a passage.

Texts for your pastor’s sermon series. There have been occasions when my pastor has taught sermon series and offered the texts in advance. I found it meaningful to read and re-read those texts during the week leading up to Sunday worship. Not only did I glean more from the sermon, but it also helped me relate to texts I previously found inaccessible or more spiritual than practical.

Weekly Bible study texts and background material. Similar to the sermon texts, most Sunday school curricula include a daily Bible reading or a focal passage for the week. Whether I’ve been a teacher or a learner, reviewing the Biblical texts during the week helped the content work its way into my heart with greater effectiveness than just sitting in a class for an hour on Sunday. Bible study preparation isn’t just for the teacher.

No matter what direction you choose, I pray you will have a close and abiding walk with God in 2019. And feel free to leave a comment on what you have found most helpful.

Lance Wallace_for_webLance Wallace is a Baptist layperson and member of Parkway Baptist Church in Johns Creek, GA, does media relations and issues management at his day job, and blogs at newsouthessays.com.

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