I don’t mean to suggest for a second that morning devotionals are a bad thing. Not at all! If you have them and they work for you, great. Stick at it and may God bless you as you seek Him. I am trying to high-light three issues, however:
- The “Quiet-Time” model is not the only way for someone to practice their spirituality. Looking at the whole Church (historically and universally), it has been a minority practice and something of a recent innovation. Obviously, that doesn’t mean it is not a useful tool, but that’s all it is – and there’s a whole box of ‘em out there!
- Cure a bit of Quiet-Time guilt. The time for Evangelicals to be freed from the guilt of failing to live up to this supposed goal is well over-due! Guilt is not a motivator and all that happens is that people pray less and less and feel crapper and crapper.
- Suggest that maybe some alternative models might actually be better/more beneficial/more appropriate than a daily morning devotional.
I should really be in bed, so I’ll keep this short and have to come back to it. (I particularly wanna come back to talk about how devotionals can be detrimental to one’s walk with God.)
This may be really simplistic, but here goes… if the whole morning devotional thing is not working for people – for whatever reason – couldn’t we just spend half the time we spend trying to squeeze people into a one-size-fits-all spirituality and use that time to try and find ways of prayer that do work? I’m not saying, let people approach God however they want, so if they like Crystals, give ‘em crystals. But, if we can recognise that at the moment thousands of Christians are suffering and struggling in their faith, think of themselves as bad Christians and have given up on prayer all together, all because they can’t get on with our modern evangelical morning devotions, couldn’t we just give something else a try? Just for a bit? Is that really too much to ask?
The thing is – and this is what I wanna come back to – it’s not a case of choosing between get them to have a quiet-time or find them some other way to pray. In reality, it is most often a choice between find them some other way to pray or have them not pray at all.
I really am all for prayer. It’s precisely for that reason that I’m not so devoted to morning devotions.
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