Daily devotions.

What does that phrase conjure up in you? Joy? Guilt? Stress? Eye rolling? Out of ten devotional times, how many would you say are truly meaningful and life-changing in ways you can immediately appreciate? Two? Four? None?

I hear ya.

If you know my story, you know I used to spend two and a half hours a day with God in daily devotions. I know all the acronyms: P.U.S.H….(Pray Until Something Happens), Or A.C.T.S…. (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication)… maybe you’ve got a few of your own. The crystal clear message we’re given in most churches is that the single most important barometer of your spiritual health is how much time you spend with God, how regularly.

Bunkity-bunk-bunk.

There’s not a verse in scripture to support that idea. Or even that we ought to be doing our devotions every day. Or reading X amount of Bible a day. I mean, nada. Nothing like that. Even Jesus didn’t do his devotions every day. I’m serious, look for yourself!

Know why? Your spiritual growth and development is not up to you. You are not the general contractor of your spiritual renovation project. God is. He’s your shepherd. And if you walk with him, following his lead, you’ll always have what you need to grow. Period.

Know why your devotions feel flat most the time? Because you’re setting the agenda. You’re reading that devo book and expecting God to use only that to feed you. You’re not grasping that perhaps the Creator of the Universe and the Author of your faith just might have a larger agenda than your daily reading plan.

I use what I’ve come to call “the divine encounter approach” to devotions. I do ’em when God calls me to. The thing is, every meeting God calls is meaningful and life-changing. It’s true — read the stories of faith and find a place where God called the meeting and the person walks away feeling strangely unengaged. Doesn’t happen!

And when I answer his call to spend time with him, I don’t bring an agenda. I tune in to his. It might be scripture. Which passage, Lord? It might be fasting. How long, Lord? It might be prayer. For whom? And how should I pray, Lord? It might take ten minutes. Or two and a half hours, like this morning — where God dumped twelve sermon’s worth of sermon topics into my lap for the next three months.

If you need more help with this, read my book. You’ll see.