top of page
  • Writer's pictureJay Lowder

One for the Road!

Updated: Apr 22

Making Your Devotions Portable



Ah, “Just have one for the road!” That kind of advice, terrible for one who might drive home drunk, is excellent advice for your quiet time! What one thing will you take with you into your day? That is part of the point of your morning devotional time. You want to dedicate the day to the Lord, to seek His strength and wisdom, to live a different kind of supernatural day because of it. Time alone with God is for fellowship with him, enjoying the sweetness of communing with our Almighty Father. As Charles Spurgeon explained, “Heart-fellowship with God is enjoyed through a love of that word, which is God’s way of communing with the soul by his Holy Spirit.” 1 But in addition to joyful communion with God, he intends for you to experience a process of being reshaped into the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29). You can remember them as two “C’s:” Communion leading to Conformity!


Pack Up the Portable Disciplines!

Many Christians would list Bible reading and prayer as the “essential.” They form the nonnegotiables each day. God speaks to us through the Scriptures, and we speak his words and our requests back to him in prayer. You only profit in your time with God as much as you devote yourself to prayer and to the word (Acts 6:4). But do not forget two other “core” disciplines that make your devotional dedications marvelously portable. Those locomotion disciplines are meditation and memorization.

 

One for the Road through Meditation

By meditation, you must take an important middle step between Bible reading and prayer, as you “think personally, practically, seriously, and earnestly on how the truth of God’s Word should look in life.” 2 Having read what God says, he wants you to stop and contemplate how those truths apply specifically to you. You may already be meditating on what you read, whether you know it or not. The evidence will be that you are full of joy and continually growing spiritually.


In contrast, poor Bible readers and poor “prayers” neither stop to chew on what God has said nor connect their prayers to what they just learned. How dreadful, for example, to read the passion of Isaiah 53, the poignant predictions of Jesus the Suffering Servant, and merely close your Bible! Even worse, imagine just checking the box of your Bible reading plan for Isaiah 53, then launching into a long list of “give-me requests” to God!  In contrast, meditation, as the middle step, will help you respond back to God about what you read and lead you forward into responsive praying. Further, since you have encountered God’s word deeper, you will keep it with you longer.

 

Armed for Encountering Anger!

Having made specific applications to your life, you can then pray for God to make those applications come to life in you. Remember to keep praying from your morning prayers throughout the day, alternatively celebrating (in a quick prayer of praise) and confessing (in a quick prayer of repentance) as you see how you are or not living out the very words you prayed.  


For example, if you have a hot temper and you read in your morning selection James 1:19 ESV, " Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger,” then meditation is reflecting on how you do not slow down your anger or control your angry words. You vent your anger to the dismay of those around you and the damage of the targets of your tantrums. Your prayer for the road is that God, who does the impossible (Luke 1:37), will do in you what is humanly impossible in your strength, that is, calm your heart and tame your tongue (James 3:8).


Meditate on a Verse that Hits the Spot

When you find just the perfect verse from your devotional reading, pause to act on it. You will likely find verses that speak to you each time you read the Bible. You might have a happy thought of praise to God for something He has done. Or you might speak adoration to Him about His wonderful creation. I love Psalm 104:24 NASB because of my biology degree: “Lord, how many are Your works! In wisdom, You have made them all; The earth is full of Your possessions.” Musing on that verse arms me to go out the door, ready to praise God for all I see around, above, and below me. Further, it reminds me that as his possession, he has the right to call the shots, not me.

 

Memorization Enables All-day Meditation

In order to fully obey a verse, you need to make it even more mobile through memorization. Write it down or type it out to refer to throughout your day. To remember a verse (memorization) for the purpose of continuing to think about it (meditation) amplifies your quiet morning devotional verse and doubles its power in your life. You are continuing to speak to yourself and perhaps others about it. The Holy Spirit will make your memorized verses bubble to the surface of your thoughts throughout your normal days. Further, they will be a sword in your hand when you battle through crazy days.


If you prefer to be more programmatic, instead of taking a verse from each day’s devotional time, you can slowly memorize a chapter of a book or a book itself. Or take longer to maximize memorization of a particularly relevant verse for your life. For example, if you need that verse from James 1:19 to guard against rash words and a quick temper, commit it to memory. Take that verse and memorize it better than you could by plucking out a verse each day. It might take several days or weeks before you can master word-for-word perfection, but long before you can speak it aloud (a better use for your lips than angry verbal lashes at others!), you will remember it, and the Holy Spirit will use it.


Now you have prepared yourself to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:18) because, by meditation, you have taken a verse with you, one for the road. Your journey, verse-by-carried-verse, will reach toward the prayer goal of Christian martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “On the basis of the words of Scripture, we pray that God may throw light on our day, preserve us from sin, and enable us to grow in holiness and that we may be faithful in our work and have the strength to do it. 3 Then, you will be “filled with the Spirit” instead of drunk (Ephesians 5:18) as you “take one for the road” of life each day. 4





Here is a helpful, related article:

"Five Tips for Bible Memory " by David Mathis


[1]C.H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David: Psalms 111-150, vol. 3. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2021), 139.

[2]David W. Saxton, God’s Battle Plan for the Mind: The Puritan Practice of Biblical Meditation (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2015), 2.

[3]Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together and Prayerbook of the Bible, ed. Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Albrecht Schönherr, and Geffrey B. Kelly, trans. Daniel W. Bloesch and James H. Burtness, vol. 5, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1996), 89.

[4]“The contrast is not between the wine and the Spirit but between the two resulting behaviors. This is expressed by the two verbs: being drunk with wine, which leads to ruination, and being filled by the Spirit, which leads to joy in fellowship and obedience to the commands of the Lord. Harold W. Hoehner, “Ephesians” in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary Philippians, Colossians, 1&2 Thessalonians, Philemon (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2008), 108.

 


 

1 Comment


Kevin  Cassidy
Kevin Cassidy
Feb 15

excellent article brother

Like
bottom of page