Some practical advice on devotions
After trying several different models, I have come to structure my devotional times after the Morning Prayer service set out in the Anglican Church’s Book of Common Prayer. I spent several years in the Episcopal church as a lay leader and a staff member in a church. Over those years, I came to appreciate the great wisdom that runs through the Book of Common Prayer, the guide for prayer and church services used in the Anglican Church (the Episcopal Church is the Anglican Church in America).
First, a word on structure. It is worth having a structure in our devotions, even if we don’t follow it slavishly. Having a structure helps us ensure that we will follow through on all the basic activities of a devotional time. In other words, we are less likely to skip important elements.
Here’s the basic structure of a prayer time as laid out in the Book of Common Prayer. I have come to use this basic structure pretty much every day. It has all the “meat and potatoes” – the necessary nutrients – of a devotional life, and it has added a lot of stability to my devotional life. When life is crazy, having stability in my devotional life really helps keep me on an even keel.
- Getting oriented (a verse and/or prayer that focuses me on what I am sitting down to do)
- Humbling myself in God’s presence
- Praising God
- Hearing God’s Word
- Praying for myself and others
- Thanking God and moving into the day’s activities
I will elaborate on all these elements in coming posts. I hope it is helpful!