Do you follow a particular devotional and/or Bible reading plan for the year? I find it very important to spend time with the Lord daily. For years I have read the Bible through each year, but during the later stages of my husband’s illness I wasn’t able to maintain a consistent schedule, then after he died, I couldn’t focus consistently. So for the past two years, I have not completed my Bible reading plan.
This year, I’ve decided to read the New Testament in a year. That will give me more time each day to meditate on what I read as I will be reading shorter passages. Also, if I miss a day for some reason, it will be easier for me to catch up. I’m almost two weeks into the plan, and I’m really enjoying it. If you haven’t read the Bible regularly, this is a good way to get started.
Bible Gateway has a varied selection of Bible reading plans. You can choose among several Bible versions and a number of plans. Some cover the complete Bible in one year; some are for shorter terms; some are selected books in a specific time period. You can select a plan that goes from beginning to end, one that includes readings from both the Old and New Testament each day, and one that is read in chronological order. That is a favorite of mine—for example, it’s enlightening to read the Psalms along with historical passages to see what was happening when particular Psalms were written. If you’re new to following a Bible reading plan, you might want to pick a shorter plan, such as 40 days of readings for personal growth. Whichever plan you choose, you can read the daily passages on the Bible Gateway site or subscribe via email. If you haven’t developed the discipline to read the Bible every day, the email readings can serve as a reminder and make it convenient to stick to your plan.
Along with reading the Bible, I use the Cradle of Prayer and the online Book of Common Prayer for daily devotions. The Cradle of Prayer has recordings of daily Morning and Evening Prayer services read by a priest with a cantor singing the canticles. As I listen to the recordings, I follow along with the service in the online Prayer Book and join in the Psalm, prayers, and responses of the people. Participating in a prayer service is the perfect way to begin and/or end the day.
You may like a devotional that includes Scripture, prayer, and a short message. There are many devotionals available—some with a theme for the year, some for men or women or teens, some for people in particular situations. Browse through your favorite Christian bookstore or search Amazon.comto find one that meets your needs.
Although I admit some bias since my associate Jan and I edited the book, I have a favorite devotional. Message in a Word 2: Inspired Succinct Sermons Uniquely Expressed contains 52 devotions, one for each week of the year. Each devotion is based on a single word that is expressed as an acrostic. For example, God is Glory On Display; worship is Worthiness Or Reverence Shown Habitually In Practices. A reflections page, including Scripture references, questions to ponder, and prayer, follows the short message from author Margaret Blincoe. You are encouraged to meditate on the devotion daily for a week.
Do you follow a specific Bible reading plan and/or devotional? Share your thoughts in comments below.
May God bless you in the coming year as you spend time with Him and in His Word.