‘Surrounding Myself’ with Opportunities to Worship

There’s a small, triangular-shaped counter-top space in our home; its primary claim to fame is that it houses my wife’s coffee maker, but over the years it has also become a Staging Area for Stuff That Needs to Happen Now. This modest space is where we dump our key rings, so it’s become a spot where we place things that need to be dealt with; letters to be mailed, books to be given away, or whatever. If an Object of Particular Urgency is not placed obviously on that one tiny chunk of counter-top, it’s likely to be forgotten as one or more of us make the mad dash to the garage door.

Daily DevotionalsAfter a late-in-life conversion experience, one of the first things I noticed about walking with Jesus is how incredibly easy it is to forget all about Him. I’m reasonably certain that anyone who has been a Christian for more than a day or two knows exactly what I mean. The Apostle John warns us that “all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 John 2:16) Another way to say this is that even though we intend to follow hard after Jesus, we can literally go hours, days or even weeks without once thinking about Him and His call on our lives.

One of the primary ways I have learned to “force myself” to filter all of life through the lens of Scripture is by placing reminders in my way, on purpose. Just as I will often place a piece of mail “in my way,” next to my car keys, just to make sure I do not forget it, I have found it helpful to intentionally trip over the Word of God as I fumble my way through another 24 hours of life.

Some of these devotionals and resources are available online and can be delivered via email, “forcing you” to either slow down long enough to breathe in the Word, or not, depending on how your day is going. The list below is not exhaustive, it is instead merely a compilation of resources that my wife and I have found to be particularly helpful during different seasons of our lives. (For example, we are not currently “in a Scotty Smith season,” so to speak, but his book of devotions has been and doubtless will again be massively helpful.)

  • Everyday Prayers by Scotty Smith
    Reading Smith’s daily devotionals will take less than five minutes, but will give you much to consider: “Each day includes a Scripture reference and an inspirational original prayer, born from both moments of great faith and moments of crisis. Like a modern-day book of Psalms, Everyday Prayers is a year’s worth of growing in grace that readers will lean on year after year.”
  • Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon
    While it might take a few days to adjust to Spurgeon’s use of the English language, the effort will be very much worthwhile: “For over one hundred years, Christians have gotten up and gone to bed with Charles Spurgeon’s devotional Morning and Evening as a companion. With a reading to begin and end each day throughout the year, you will come to appreciate Spurgeon’s emphasis on the importance of abiding in Christ and meditating on God’s Word. His wisdom and counsel provide a timeless guide through the trials and triumphs of the year. The richness of his biblical understanding offers readers a look into the heart of one of England’s foremost pastors and enduring Christian authors.”
  • My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
    Another Brit, and another chance to appreciate a more elegant use of our shared language, but the words of Chambers always strike deep: “These brief Scripture-based readings – by turns comforting and challenging – will draw you into God’s presence and form you as a disciple of the Risen Lord. You’ll treasure their insight, still fresh and vital. And you’ll discover what it means to offer God your very best for His greatest purpose – to truly offer Him your utmost for His highest.”
  • The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
    Can God be with us during every moment of every day? Brother Lawrence seemed to think so. While this work is not laid out in an orderly fashion like Smith, Spurgeon or Chambers, it nonetheless is our go-to resource for reminding ourselves that God cares just as much for well-washed dishes and cheerfully-scrubbed floors as He does for facilitating a class or leading group prayers.
  • Daily Hope by Rick Warren
    Available online and via email, Rick Warren’s approach is pretty straightforward, positive…but also challenging. There have been many days when his email devotional has helped me “secure the anchors” of my faith or called me to repent of a bad attitude.
  • A Slice of Infinity by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries
    Available online and via email, RZIM posts are rich with insight for those who want “what they believe in their hearts to make sense in their heads.” I don’t always have time every day to read these, but whenever I do, my intellectual grasp on Truth is strengthened.
  • K-LOVE
    Don’t you roll your eyes at me! When our family first started listening to K-LOVE, we were all admittedly pretty skeptical: “Why do they keep playing the same songs over and over again?” Answer: “So you can memorize the lyrics.” Can things get a little too syrupy on K-LOVE? Oh yes, absolutely. Can a perfectly-timed replay of “Our God” by Chris Tomlin while cleaning the garage remind you of all the ways in which God has been faithful to you even as you lived as one of His enemies? Definitely. Can a Van Halen fan push past the “syrup” and overly-peppy announcers to go deeper in his faith? Yup.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (ESV)
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

2 Comments

  1. Judy Sheppard said:

    I have used most of these. Another that has spoken deeply to my heart is The Valley of Vision. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Warren Mayer said:

    Yes, Judy. Absolutely! We have also greatly benefitted from seasons spent reading Puritan prayers in The Valley of Vision. And again, there is the initial resistance that comes with the use of the English language, but also very much worth the effort. Thanks for the reminder!

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