Since most of us may have a little extra time today, let's make sure to take advantage of this time and devote ourselves to the Lord - our only true source of comfort and rest. I thought I'd take this time to share with you the way I generally use my devotion time. It's taken several years to develop these patterns, and I'm confident the Lord will continue to shape them further.
If you follow this plan it should take somewhere between 30 minutes to 1 hour, but you can shorten it if you need to. You'll need a Bible, something to write on (I've used moleskines for years), and a pen.
When I was in seminary, I took a class taught by Donald Whitney, who has written a classic book on Spiritual Disciplines. In this class he taught us to read the PSALMS OF THE DAY. The Psalms of the day are 5 Psalms based upon the date. Today is the 27th, so we'll read Psalm 27, and then 4 more psalms, each time adding 30.
The Psalms of the day are Psalm 27, 57, 87, 117, & 147.
In addition to this, let's read 1 Peter 1 and prepare our hearts for the sermon series we're about to start on 1 Peter on February 8.
As you read the Psalms and 1 Peter 1, choose a paragraph or stanza to camp out on. Read this paragraph 4-5 times. As you come to new or important truths, pause and praise God for showing you these things.
Then list out everything this paragraph tells you about God, everything it tells you about yourself (or humanity in general), and every command, promise, or law. After you do this, try to sum up the paragraph in one short sentence and ask yourself the question: "How would my life be different if this truth was explosively alive in my innermost being?" Write out your findings.
Use the ACTS method of prayer.
Adore - What can you adore God for from this passage?
Confess - What does this passage lead you to confess?
Thanksgiving - Thank God for how Jesus fulfills, completes, or forgives in the text.
Supplication - Pray for those things that you should keep a list of (even if it's just a mental list).
End your prayer time with a prayer from the Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers that we regularly read from on Sundays. Here's one of my favorites: (read & pray slowly)
O God of Grace,
Thou has imputed my sin to my substitute,
and has imputed his righteousness to my soul,
clothing me with a bridegroom's robe,
decking me with jewels of holiness.
But in my Christian walk I am still in rags;
my best prayers are stained with sin;
my penitential tears are so much impurity;
my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin;
my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.
I need to repent of my repentance;
I need my tears to be washed;
I have no robe to bring to cover my sins,
no loom to weave my own righteousness;
I am always standing clothed in filthy garments,
and by grace am always receiving change of raiment,
for thou dost always justify the ungodly;
I am always going into the far country,
and always returning home as a prodigal,
always saying, Father, forgive me,
and though art always bringing forth the best robe.
Every morning let me wear it,
every evening return in it,
go out to the day's work in it,
be married in it,
be wound in death in it,
stand before the great white throng in it,
enter heaven in it shining as the sun.
Grant me never to lose sight of
the exceeding sinfulness of sin,
the exceeding righteousness of salvation,
the exceeding glory of Christ,
the exceeding beauty of holiness,
the exceeding wonder of grace.