All of us come upon times when our time with the Lord is not as fresh as it could or should be. Below are tips I shared with my Sunday school class last week. They were a blessing to me to compile, and I hope they’re helpful to you. Perhaps you could pull just one or two of these to incorporate into your time with the Lord.
1. Rise early to avoid distractions.
There is no better opportunity in my day to give my undivided attention to God’s Word than early in the morning before my day gets underway.
Early will I seek thee.—Psalm 63:1
If you want to add freshness to your time with the Lord, try spending time in His Word before the distractions of the day pile on.
2. Reflect on the greatness of God’s invitation to know Him.
I love the heart-level response of David to God’s invitation to know Him:
When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.—Psalm 27:8
What an invitation is ours—that we can seek God’s face! Personally. Intimately. Daily. If you’re struggling to spend time with God, reflect for a few minutes on the gracious invitation you’ve been given.
3. Praise God—sing.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.—Psalm 11:4
I hope you have a hymnal. If not, make a list of songs about the Lord or to the Lord, and sing them to Him.
4. Ask God to make Himself real to you.
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.—Jeremiah 29:13
If you feel you’re in a rut where you are reading God’s Word out of duty, ask God to make His Word come alive to you. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a personal way.
5. Use a Bible reading schedule.
When the Israelites gathered manna in the wilderness, there was a structure to how they gathered.
And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.—Exodus 16:18
God’s Word is spiritual nourishment, and I believe we are wise to have a structure to how we consume it. Reading by a schedule allows me to systematically read all the Word of God—not just several favorite passages. It also adds a layer of accountability to my Bible reading that helps to keep me faithful through the “dry times.”
6. Journal your growth.
My devotional journals—going back to when I began as a young teenager—are a treasure to me because they record years of God’s faithfulness to reveal Himself to me through His Word.
We easily forget what God has done in our lives. We grow used to His workings. A journal helps us keep it fresh. And it gives us a tremendous reference point to reflect on when we grow stale.
7. Ask questions.
Ask questions about what you read in God’s Word. It will incite your curiosity and therefore heighten your discovery.
8. Apply truth.
Seeing what happens when we apply God’s truth gives us a hunger for more!
It’s all too easy to fool ourselves into a false sense of contentment in our Christian life because we hear God’s Word, but we never apply it.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.—James 1:22–25
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.—Matthew 5:6
I know of no sharper spiritual discipline than fasting to increase my hunger for God. When I sense my heart for God growing cold, setting aside a meal (or a few) to purposefully seek God’s face and ask Him to renew my hunger for Him often rekindles my heart. Fasting is like the poker’s sharp jab to a diminishing fire.
10. Stay right with God.
Sin hinders the work of God in our lives—even when we are going through all the right motions.
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.—James 4:8-10
Regularly ask God to search your heart, and be responsive to Him.
11. (Bonus) Share what you learn with someone else.
There’s nothing more encouraging than sharing something God taught you with someone else. Keep it fresh by sharing it!