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“How do I start having devotions?” (Ask Dr. Stanley)

If you’ve struggled to make time for God each morning–or have never understood how to do it–don’t miss this advice from Dr. Charles Stanley. In Touch Ministries, 2012.

Amidst the demands of work, family, and other obligations, carving out time for personal devotions can often feel like a daunting task. Yet, the practice of devotions—dedicated time set aside for prayer, reflection, and study of Scripture—is a foundational aspect of nurturing a vibrant spiritual life. If you’re wondering how to start having devotions but aren’t sure where to begin, fear not. Here’s a beginner’s guide to help you embark on this transformative journey of spiritual growth and intimacy with God.

1. Set Aside Time

The first step in establishing a habit of devotions is to set aside dedicated time in your daily schedule. It doesn’t have to be a large block of time—start with just a few minutes each day and gradually increase as you become more comfortable. Whether it’s in the morning before the day begins, during a lunch break, or in the evening before bed, find a time that works best for you and commit to it consistently.

2. Create a Sacred Space

Create a sacred space in your home where you can retreat for your devotional time. It could be a cozy corner with a comfortable chair, a prayer altar adorned with meaningful symbols and objects, or simply a quiet room free from distractions. Designate this space as a sanctuary for prayer, reflection, and communion with God, and make it a place where you can feel at peace and centered.

3. Choose a Devotional Resource

There are countless devotional resources available to guide your time of devotion, ranging from printed books to online apps and websites. Choose a devotional resource that aligns with your interests, spiritual goals, and preferred format. Whether it’s a daily Scripture reading plan, a thematic devotional book, or a guided prayer journal, find a resource that resonates with you and helps facilitate your encounter with God.

4. Start with Prayer

Begin your devotional time with prayer, inviting the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide and illuminate your time of reflection. Offer a simple prayer of gratitude, surrender, and openness to God’s leading, acknowledging your need for His wisdom, strength, and guidance. Prayer sets the tone for your devotions and opens the door for deeper communion with God.

How to start having devotions

5. Engage with Scripture

Central to devotions is the study and reflection on God’s Word. Choose a passage of Scripture to read and meditate on, allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to you through the text. Reflect on its meaning, relevance to your life, and implications for your faith journey. Consider journaling your thoughts, insights, and prayers as you engage with Scripture, allowing for deeper reflection and personal application.

6. Reflect and Respond

Devotions are not just about passive reading but active engagement with God’s Word and presence. Take time to reflect on what you’ve read, asking yourself questions such as: What is God saying to me through this passage? How does it apply to my life? What action steps is God calling me to take? Allow the truths of Scripture to penetrate your heart and transform your thinking, attitudes, and behaviors.

7. Cultivate a Spirit of Worship

Devotions provide an opportunity for intimate communion with God, where you can express your love, adoration, and gratitude to Him. Incorporate elements of worship into your devotional time, such as singing hymns or worship songs, offering prayers of praise and thanksgiving, or simply sitting in silent awe of God’s presence. Let your devotions be a time of heartfelt worship and surrender to the One who deserves all honor and glory.

8. Be Consistent and Flexible

Consistency is key to developing a habit of devotions, but flexibility is also important. Life can be unpredictable, and there will be days when devotions may look different or have to be postponed. Be gentle with yourself and strive for consistency without becoming legalistic or rigid. Remember that the goal of devotions is not perfection but intimacy with God, and allow yourself the grace to adapt as needed.


Starting to have devotions is a journey—a journey of exploration, discovery, and deepening intimacy with God. By setting aside time, creating a sacred space, choosing a devotional resource, starting with prayer, engaging with Scripture, reflecting and responding, cultivating a spirit of worship, and being consistent yet flexible, you can embark on this transformative journey with confidence and purpose. May your devotional time be a source of spiritual nourishment, renewal, and empowerment as you draw near to the One who loves you unconditionally and desires to commune with you intimately.

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