Summer can be one of the best times to develop habits. Whether you are working an internship, a full-time job, or a part-time job, your schedule probably looks a bit different than during the school year. How can you best capitalize on a potentially less-busy schedule? Are there books you’ve been wanting to read? Consider reading some Christian books for college students. Do you hope to work out more during the summer, or save up money for a new car or other big purchase? Adopt a fitness routine or spend time learning budget tips to help you save.
Goal setting is a great way to stay productive and develop habits that will last throughout the next school year. Particularly, developing great personal devotion routines in the summer can help you as you struggle to find time during your busy school schedule in the fall.
What are some of the things you always do in the morning? Do you lay in bed for a while as you check your phone for updates? Or do you always have a sit-down breakfast before you head off to work? Understand your routine and find ways to insert your devotional time during activities you already do each day.
Setting aside time to spend in God’s word is critical to growth and relationship with Him. If finding that intentional time has been tough, we have some advice on where to start and how to develop lasting habits.
Try out these 7 steps toward great personal devotions.
1. Start with 10 minutes.
It’s easy to say you don’t have time for devotions on a given day—a busy schedule is totally normal during your college years and summers. However, challenging yourself to find even 10 minutes of quiet time with the Lord during the day can radically grow your relationship with Him. Use your 10 minutes to dig into a prayer journal or study the best Bible for college students. Wondering what the best Bible for college students is? Consider using the NIV, ESV, or NASB, which are all considered to be academically credible translations.
Whether you typically write out your schedule in a planner, on a calendar on your phone, or you simply remember your plans for each day, try to pencil in your 10 minutes of time, and slowly grow that time over the course of a few weeks.
2. Ask for accountability.
One of the best ways to challenge yourself and grow through personal devotions is to ask someone close to you for accountability. Throughout your devotional journey, there will be times that you are excited to study the Bible or spend time in prayer, and your time with the Lord will be really sweet. However, there will be other times that you’re in a rut, you’re going through something tough, or you’re feeling apathetic towards your study time. In those times, it’s helpful and even necessary to have someone come alongside you and encourage you towards your devotions.
When you ask someone to keep you accountable, be sure to provide practical ways they can help you achieve your goals and grow in your relationship with the Lord. For example, ask your accountability partner to ask you once a week how your devotional time has been or if they will study with you every other week to help you stay on track.
3. Study something you’re interested in.
Do you like the poetry of the Psalms? The conversational nature of Paul’s letters? Try looking for a chapter of the Bible you’ve never dug into before, but that you’re motivated to read. If you’re not sure where to start, choose a passage from the old testament and a passage from the new testament to read each day until you find a book that you would like to study at a deeper level.
3. Ask God to meet you in your devotional time.
Before you begin your consistent devotional time, pray and ask God to prepare your heart for what He would have for in your time with Him. Even if you only have a few minutes to spend on a given day, it can be deeply impactful to have an open-heart attitude towards the passage you’re studying, or anything you’re praying about.
5. Eliminate distractions.
One of the toughest parts about developing focused devotional time is eliminating distractions. While the digital age has given us access to incredible resources for Bible study, it can be really tempting to answer texts, check social media, or look at notifications that pop up during our time with the Lord. Consider planning ahead for your devotional time by printing off anything you need, having a physical Bible handy, and taking notes in a journal. Set your phone aside and sit in a place with few other distractions to help your time with the Lord stay focused and intentional.
6. Use books to guide your study—especially if you’re not sure where to start.
There are countless resources available to help you get the most out of your devotional time, and to guide your studies as well. If you’ve never looked for the best Bible for college students, or the best Christian books for college students, we have a couple suggestions of things to look for.
- Study Bible: a study Bible like the NIV, ESV, or NASB, will help guide your studies by giving extensive footnotes and context about the passages you’re reading.
- College devotional Bible: a college-specific Bible will help give insights on ways you can apply your reading to your life as a college student.
- Commentary Bible: many Bibles are available with notes by well-known Christian authors, such as C.S. Lewis, Joyce Meyer, and others. These Bibles can be helpful as you seek to combine Scripture with insights from Christian commentators.
- Bible/Journal Combination: Many Bibles are available with built-in spaces for you to write and journal. Use this type of Bible to easily track passages you’ve connect with or places where the Lord has used Scripture to speak to you.
- Books for Christian encouragement: Christian authors like Bob Goff, Lysa TerKeurst, Jefferson Bethke, and more have many books available to supplement your Bible study, and encourage you in your walk with Christ.
7. Mix up the format of your study time.
Whether you’re someone who loves routine, or someone who can’t stand to do the same thing every day, consider mixing up how you spend your devotional time. Your time with the Lord can take all kinds of forms, such as studying the Bible, listening to worship music (or singing worship music), spending time in prayer, reading a commentary or other Christian books for college students, creating art, and many other ways as well.
Need some worship music for your devotional time?
Download a free copy of Hearts on Fire, a worship album created by North Central students and alumni.