Looking for quick daily Bible devotions or quiet time ideas and motivation when life is busy and hectic? You’ve come to the right place!
Ever since I became a Christian in 2002, a daily Bible devotion (also known as a quiet time) has been very important to me in my spiritual journey.
I’ve benefitted immensely from a ritual of Bible study, reflection and prayer. I’ve read from cover to cover in different translations, filled countless journals with notes and prayers, and spent many coffee dates with friends in deep discussion over what we had been studying.
And then I had kids.
Even though as a stay-at-home parent I had a lot of flexibility, I struggled to get a moment to even think, let alone ponder the nature of existence or say more than a two-second prayer of desperation.
As I write this, I’m now a mom of five. Two of my children are very small, so I still struggle to find the space for daily Bible devotions that I so desperately desire. And if I’m perfectly honest, I’ve had many occasions when I resented my kids for this.
But I’ve also learned so, so much. Like how to adjust my expectations and discover new ways to have daily Bible devotions with God during chaotic seasons with littles underfoot.
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Why Daily Bible Devotions Are Important (Or Are They?)
The terms “quiet time” and “devotions” are what many Christians use to describe their time to emotionally and spiritually connect with God each day, usually involving the Bible. Many of them would tell you it’s important because it’s how you build a strong relationship with him.
While I generally agree with the sentiment that daily Bible devotions build closeness with God, I want to nonetheless challenge the idea that they’re necessary.
That’s right. I’ll let my opinion be known: You do NOT NEED to practice daily Bible devotions in order to have a close relationship with God.
Have you picked up the exploded pieces of your head off the floor yet? Okay, good. Now let’s think for a moment.
For most of Christianity’s history, owning a printed Bible in your own language has been a luxury and a privilege. So has literacy at all. If having daily Bible devotions is necessary, what have countless Christians over the centuries done when they couldn’t read or even get access to the Scriptures?
Were they doomed to a life of spiritual mediocrity? I think not.
While there have been traditional structures like monasteries where individuals were devoted to spiritual disciplines like fasting, prayer and scripture writing and reading, most Christians have relied on other means to have a personal “connection” with God. Namely, they’ve been a lot more reliant on the community and the family unit.
Don’t believe me? What do you think is happening here in Acts 2:42–47?
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
This idea that the individual should have a daily quiet time is very Western, very Protestant, and frankly very American evangelical.
Now hang with me, because I am not throwing personal devotions under the bus altogether. As I said above, they’ve been a huge part of my own spiritual life for the better part of two decades.
I point all of this out as a matter of perspective. I know so many people who feel shame or guilt for struggling with the daily practice. Yes, there is value in it, and yes, Jesus knew the Scriptures inside and out and snuck away to pray by himself. His practices are worthy of imitation.
But a daily quiet time is not something God mandates anywhere. He is in relationship with us because he loves us, not because we meet some unspoken rules.
I think a healthy way to look at quiet times is by framing them within the context of spiritual disciplines. These are spiritual habits—and there are many forms of them. Think of them like working out your spiritual muscles. You get out of them what you put into them.
If you’re in a season of life where it’s a struggle to have daily quiet times, try not to beat yourself up. Look at the big picture, do what you can, and create a spiritual discipline plan that works uniquely for you.
How Long Should Your Daily Bible Devotions Be?
I used to think that for devotions to have any value, they should be somewhere in the 30 minutes to an hour range, and they should happen in the morning. (Oh my gosh, did I just write that?)
Hopefully by now it’s clear that quiet times do not have to follow any formula. It’s not like you have an input of spiritual practices in the morning, and then somehow you are more Christ-like for the rest of the day.
(While few people would word it quite like that, I hear a lot of people in Christian circles suggest that this is how it works. If they have a good quiet time, they’re a good person that day, and if they don’t have a good quiet time, they are not a good person that day.)
Having said that, if you want to practice a spiritual discipline, it’s good to have some realistic expectations about the amount of time it will take to have success with it.
For example, if you want to memorize a Psalm, what do you need to do to make that happen? How quickly do you want to master it? Setting that kind of goal will help you determine whether you require five minutes a day or an hour a day.
I suggest spending some time reflecting on some realistic goals for yourself, and then answering questions like “how long” and “how often.” The Create the Space Quiet Time Planner and Journal can help you with just that.
How Do You Structure Quiet Time with God?
The possibilities are endless when it comes to how to structure a quiet time! In fact, it can be a little overwhelming.
Related: Quiet Time Bucket List
First ask yourself, how do you want to spend time with God? This is a different question than how should you spend time with God, which I hope you avoid.
What helps you grow in your faith? If it’s prayer, what kind of prayer? If it’s Bible study, how do you like to approach it?
If you need ideas, you can check out this printable list of spiritual disciplines in my free resource collection.
You’ll also want to consider how much time you can realistically devote to daily Bible devotions (see the section above). If all you have time for in the morning is saying a quick prayer of thanks, then do that! But if you have longer stretches of time, you might build a routine that is motivating and refreshing for you.
Right now, I try to do two things every weekday: spend time in study of God’s Word, and spend time in prayer, either through journaling, reading through prompts or meditating on Scripture. Usually I do the study first and the prayer second (but sometimes they’re both squeezed in whenever I can.)
On the weekends I mix it up a bit; I might have more time and opportunity for deeper reading, community worship or going on a prayer walk. And sometimes weekends are so busy that I don’t have much time to do personal quiet times at all! (Yep, it’s true.)
But that’s just me. As it’s often cool to say now, you do you.
20 Daily Bible Devotions Ideas When You Don’t Have Much Free Time
I’ve got tons of resources to help you with your faith and quiet times, but here are some ideas for when life is busy and distracting.
- Say or write one thing you’re thankful to God for every day.
- Do 5-minute devotionals as a family as part of your daily routine.
- Pray in the shower.
- Read your Bible when the kids are occupied—like napping or watching cartoons (yup).
- Don’t feel like you must get it all done at once. Have different times throughout the day when you “check in” with God.
- Plan marathon quiet time sessions on the weekends or when someone else can watch the kids.
- Write the Word: journal out a book of the Bible or chosen passages. I recommend these journals!
- Recite a memorized prayer (like the Lord’s Prayer).
- Queue up some theology podcasts on your phone. I like Bema and The Bible Project.
- Keep a prayer journal with a running list or with quick prompts, like Teach Me to Pray.
- Set a timer to pray at different times of day.
- Queue up a playlist of your favorite worship music.
- Pray in the car.
- Keep your Bible, devotionals, journals, etc. in easy-to-access places so you can grab them whenever you have a few moments.
- Pray over your kids when they don’t need your full attention.
- Listen to the Bible on audio. Bible apps do this, and there are also some available on YouTube.
- Have a prayer partner whom you connect with over phone or through text.
- Create a quiet time spot where you can relax and be inspired, with limited distraction.
- Pray with your kids and/or spouse before you go to bed.
- Keep a Bible, journal, or other spiritual resource on your nightstand, so you’ll go to that before bed or first thing in the morning. And don’t keep your phone by your bed!
Hopefully you have a few ideas that will help you create space for spiritual disciplines no matter what stage of life your in.
What are some quick daily Bible devotions ideas you have?