Thursday, August 08, 2019

How I Have Stayed Committed to My Devotional Life

(One of my praying places in Monroe)

One of my former seminary students wrote me and said: "You may not remember me, but I took your spiritual formation class and fell off the wagon in my daily prayer and meditation. Are there any words of wisdom on how you have been able to maintain your daily commitment?"

I responded:

Here's how I think I've been able to maintain my commitment.

Forty years ago I was feeling tired and burned out in ministry. A friend gave me a copy of Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline. Through this book the Holy Spirit moved me to carve out time to get alone with God and talk with Him and listen. 

I began to take alone-times with God. As I did this, to my  delight, God began revealing himself to me. This made me want to meet with God more.

A desire, like a fire, was kindled in my heart. I chose to tend it, to keep it burning.

I began to see God changing my heart. Most of this was slow growth. I experienced Christ growing in me. I began keeping a journal as a record of all God was doing with me (which now totals about 4000 pages of journal entries).

God's ministry through me began to look and feel different. I liked what I saw happening, and wanted more. 

As the months and years passed by, a "holy habit" was formed in me. A living, neural pathway was created by God, through which the waters of grace and love and power were flowing. I didn't stop meeting with God, To this day. I meet with God regularly because God meets with me.

Supposedly there was a sign on the Alaskan highway where the pavement turned to dirt. It read: "Choose your rut carefully. You’ll be in it for the next hundred miles." This is the rut I have chosen. I live in this groove, swim in this neural highway, which is the river that flows from the throne of God.

Choose this day whom you will serve. (Joshua 24:15) And the next day. And the next...

My three books are:

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Encounters with the Holy Spirit (co-edited with Janice Trigg)

I'm currently writing:

Transformation: How God Changes the Human Heart

Then, the Lord willing, 

Technology and Spiritual Formation

Linda and I then intend to write our book on Relationships.