Find a time and place to meet with God. Schedule a time and place and treat them as an appointment with the most important person in your life. Keep to your time and place. It might be morning, afternoon, or evening. Whatever. Pick a time that works for you and be devoted to seeking God with uninterrupted focus. If you have to put it in your calendar, do it. A consistent time and place will help you develop consistency in your pursuit of God.
Have a plan. What are you going to do? Your time should include at least Bible reading and prayer. There are a number of Bible reading plans to choose from. Find one that fits for you.
There are many to choose from if you google 'bible reading plans.' Here are five you can consider:
The M'Cheyne Reading System. Robert Murray M'Cheyne was a minister in the Church of Scotland from 1835-1843. He died at the age of 29 but left an amazing legacy. M'Cheyne's plan is for the energetic reader. He takes you through the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice in one year. Each day you read two passages from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament, and one either from the Psalms or the gospels. You can access this plan at http://www.esv.org/.
ESV Study Bible Reading Plan. The English Standard Version Study Bible, in my opinion, is the best study Bible available today. The articles and notes are exceptional. There is a Bible reading plan at the back of the Bible that you can also access at http://www.esv.org/. This plan is described as "readings every day from the Psalms and Wisdom Literature, Pentateuch and History of Israel, Chronciles and Prophets, and Gospels and Epistles."
Discipleship Journal Plan. This plan allows you to read the Bible in four separate places each day from a different section of the Scriptures. And better yet, each month only includes 25 readings which gives you 5 days to catch up when you fall behind. Go to www.navpress.com/dj to find this plan.
Ransom Fellowship Plan. This has been called the plan for "shirkers and slackers!" With this plan you read at your own speed. Daily readings are not tied to a date. For example, you can pick up on Thursday where you left off on Monday. Access this plan at www.thegoapelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/ and see his December 30 entry Bible Reading Plans for Shirkers and Slackers.
Chronological Plan. If you would like to read through the Bible chronologically, then this is the plan for you. Go to www.backtothebible.org/index.php/Bible-Reading-Guides.html.
Begin your time with prayer and confession. Confess your sins of thought, word, and deeds; things done and left undone. Ask God to speak to you. Pray for an open mind and heart. If you don't have a desire to read and/or seek God, pray that you would have a desire to desire God.
Write down your thoughts. Journaling helps us process what we are reading and learning. Get a moleskin or a cheap notebook and begin experimenting with how this can work for you. Try it for six weeks and see what happens. Follow this plan:
- scripture: list the passage/s you are going to read
- observation: write down your observations about your reading
- application: how can you appy what you read? be as practical as you can
- prayer: write down specific things you are going to pray for and pray
Make this a community endeavor. Find someone that you can do this with. Learn to share with others what God is teaching you. Consider doing one of the above plans with your spouse, a close friend, your roommate, or a small group.
Don't give up. I have missed meals in the past but I have yet to give up eating. I make sure I get my next meal. You are going to miss days or even mulitple days. It's okay. Don't guilt yourself. Start again, and again, and again.
Peace to you on the way,