With four children (one of whom insists on waking up before the sun every single day!), it’s really hard (nearly impossible, actually) to find a solid hour to sit down each morning and have Quiet Time where I can read my Bible and pray. For a long time (years!) I carried a lot of guilt about this. I felt like consecrated mothers can easily make room in their schedule to spend an hour with God every morning. Consecrated mothers don’t wake up too tired to read their Bibles. I believed the lie that if my devotional life didn’t look exactly like it had before I had children, then it was somehow pointless and unhelpful. I struggled for several years, and finally I found a simple solution that works so well for me! It involves turning my Homemaker’s Friend Day Planner into a Bible Study tool! The Homemaker’s Friend is one of the sponsors of this blog which means I am paid to review the planner and offer you coupon codes and giveaways and such. Today I want you to have a sneak peek into how this planner can be used to revolutionize your devotional life if you’re struggling the way I struggled when my babies were all little.
I lowered the bar. Simplified. My biggest frustration was not being able to live up to my own expectations. So I lowered my expectations to something I could manage. When I did that, suddenly my Bible Study time was no longer riddled with guilt and it become so much more enjoyable!
I’ve tried several approaches over the years. (Including the Completely-Give-Up approach, which I don’t recommend at all.) Today’s post is a collection of some of my favorite ways of making Bible Study more enjoyable.
1. Find A Good Reading Plan
Having a good Bible Reading Plan is like having a map. It tells me where I’m going and how I’m going to get there. My all-time favorite reading plan is The Bible Reading Program For Shirkers And Slackers. It’s a self-paced program that has me reading from a different part of the Bible each day (Poetry, Old Testament History, Prophets, New Testament History or Epistles). Changing things up by reading from a different section of the Bible every day is good for me. I struggle if I have to spend three months in a row reading from the books of Leviticus or Numbers. With this schedule I don’t spend more than 1 day at a time reading the “hard parts.” Yet, when I wake up in the morning I know exactly what I’m going to read, because it’s all mapped out for me. You can read this hugely entertaining article to learn more about the Bible Reading Program for Shirkers or Slackers or you can access the reading program here.
Occasionally I like to read through the Bible Chronologically. BlueLetterBible.org has a Chronological Reading Program that allows you to read through the Bible in the order that the events actually happened! There’s a bit of skipping around, but I like how reading chronologically allows me to see all the books of the Bible as one complete story and puts events of the Bible in their historical context.
2. Write Down Answers to Prayer!
Throughout the Bible God told the Israelites to make a record of the things He did for them. They would build an altar out of stones so that future generations would ask about that pile of rocks and the people would be reminded to share the stories of God’s mercy and intervention from generation to generation. God knew that the human race can forget His provision and default to doubt remarkably quickly. So when God answers a prayer, write it down!
The monthly calendar in my Homemaker’s Friend Day Planner is the perfect place to jot down answered prayer requests and things I’m grateful for! I love using these pages to record answers to prayer because then I can see at a glance how God has been working in my life! Here’s a peek at this month’s calendar. You can see it’s nothing fancy. I just use different colored gel pens to jot down answers to prayer that I want to remember. Sometimes my children like to add stickers, or I’ll just put a sticker on to make the page look pretty. There’s are just basic dollar store stickers. Nothing fancy here. But it’s an attractive celebration of how God has been working in my life!
3. The S.O.A.K. Bible Study Method
It’s so easy to read a passage of scripture, close my Bible and promptly forget what I just read (especially if I’m sleep-deprived from getting up at night with a baby and then up again early in the morning with young children). For years, I have been using the S.O.A.K. Bible Study method. I was introduced to this method through WomenLivingWell.org and I love it because it’s so simple, but it forces me to think about what I read and apply it to my own life. The weekly pages in the Homemaker’s Friend Day Planner lend themselves perfectly to this method of Bible Study! There is just enough room each day to write a sentence or two for each letter.
- “S” stands for “Scripture.” I write down 1 verse that jumped out at me.
- “O” stands for “Observation.” I write down 1 thing that I noticed in the passage.
- “A” stands for “Application.” I write down 1 way that what I just read applies to my life. After all, if my life doesn’t change as a result of reading God’s Word, then I’m missing the point.
- “K” stands for “Kneeling in Prayer.” Usually, I’m praying about whatever I wrote down in the “Application” section.
4. Organize Your Prayer Life!
As you can see in the picture above, I use the space at the top of the Weekly Layout to record some of the main things I am praying for this week. There is a “contacts” section in the day planner. Here I record the contact information for people who I am praying for. This makes it easy to give them a call or drop them a note to say “I’m praying for you! I haven’t forgotten! How are things going?”
5. Have You Seen These Facebook Groups?
Please notice that my handwriting isn’t fancy and there are no beautiful drawings anywhere. Drawing is NOT my talent! There are Facebook groups just full of gorgeous Bible-inspired artwork. I lurk in those groups and admire the stunning talent of the people there. Their artwork certainly inspires me! But the reality is that I don’t enjoy interacting with my Bible in that way. If you are interested I highly recommend these groups:
- Bible Journaling is a facebook group run by my friend Darlene Schact of TimeWarpWife.com She is such an encourager and her artwork is endearing! Darlene has built a great community here!
- Journaling Bible Community was my introduction to Bible Journaling. The artwork shared there is amazing! It’s a huge group, so there are a lot of different artistic styles represented. The group is run by Shanna Noel from IllustratedFaith.com
Bible Journaling for Non-Artists!
If you don’t feel artistic enough to participate in one of those groups (Darlene and Shanna would tell you that you’re welcome anyway!), I have created a Facebook Group called Bible Journaling For Non Artists. This is a group where you can draw, not draw, doodle, write, WHATEVER. The point is to spend time in God’s Word and let it change you. Come Join Me!
6. Read Your Devotional in the Afternoon
The pressure to have a perfectly scheduled hour of Quiet Time was a discouragement to me. Lots of Bible Scholars say that beginning your devotional time with a small devotional book is a great way to bring your mind and heart to the place they need to be to commune with God. That’s great advice if you can manage it, but a devotional is merely a tool. It’s not a replacement for reading the actual Word of God. If I start my Quiet Time by reading a devotional it’s almost guaranteed that a child will wake up and I will be interrupted before I ever open my Bible. So I don’t read a devotional in the morning anymore. I don’t even expect that of myself. I just dive straight into prayer and Bible reading.
The task and project pages in the back of my Homemaker’s Friend Day Planner are a perfect spot for jotting down notes from what I am reading in my devotional. Right now I am reading Sparkling Gems From The Greek by Rick Renner (affiliate link), which I am really enjoying! Each day’s reading teaches a new Greek Word and shows how it is used in the Bible. I have learned so much and each day I just turn to the back of my Homemaker’s Friend Planner and jot down the word of the day in English and in Greek and a few simple notes about what those words mean.
Other Devotionals I have enjoyed are (these are all affiliate links):
- One Year Book of Christian History
- One Year Book of Hymns
- Glimpses of God’s Love (or any other nature devotional by James A. Tucker)
It doesn’t take long to read a page or two in a devotional. I’ve found that saving my devotional for the afternoon helps me weave Christ into my entire day!
7. Start Now!
Don’t let your perfectionism make you wait until January 1st to develop a new habit! It’s fun to feel like we get a new start on January 1st, but really that’s just a random day that is based on the Roman Calendar (who, by the way, were pagan and not known for their high Christian ideals). God has shown you this post today, so start today! There is nothing magical about January 1st. If you miss a day, so what. Jump right back in the next day! This is a journey where we are allowing God to change our souls. We don’t come to Him already perfect. We come to Him as we are and allow Him to change us.
How Homemaker’s Friend is Helping Orphans!
Homemaker’s Friend (the day planner I’ve been featuring in this post) is actually meant to be a day planner to help busy Mamas organize all the things we need to juggle (appointments, shopping, household projects, etc)! It works great as a day planner and it works great as my devotional planner! In this world where people are paying $50 and up for a nice planner, I like this one because it is inexpensive (only $13.99) and I’m not afraid to write in it or mess it up by actually using it! But to make it an even sweeter deal, between now and November 30, when you order using the coupon code GODF100 you will save $1.00 AND for each planner sold they will donate $1.00 to the children we are hosting. We will use that money to buy them items they need to take back to the orphange…. things like a good, warm winter jacket, shoes, personal hygiene items and a fun toy.
Here is a video I made last year showing the inside of the 2015 Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner. The 2016 planner is identical, except the pages are a light green! It’s so, so pretty!
Click here or on the banner below to get your Homemaker’s Friend! Don’t forget to use the code GODF100 to get the discount and to send a portion of the proceeds to our host children!
And don’t forget to join our Facebook Group Bible Journaling for Non Artists, no matter what Bible Journaling approach you use, or if you just want a community and inspiration for getting started!