Applying Devotion

The gospel demands our complete, unceasing devotion. Notice the “all’s” in the Great Commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). So, our devotion to God cannot be confined to a single event or action, it must encompass all of life.

Yet, over centuries of church history, followers of Jesus have expressed their love for God through a set-aside time of reading the Bible and praying to God, often called a “devotion.” This set-aside time of Word and prayer is meant to spur on further devotion to God throughout the whole day.

It is important to know the purpose of this devotional time. The gospel tells us that we are set free in Jesus Christ from earning our righteousness before God. Therefore, we obey God because we have been accepted by him, not in order to earn his acceptance. So in our devotional time, we approach God and run after him because he has already rescued us in Jesus Christ. Paul writes, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Philippians 3:12). Paul longed to pursue God, to get a grip on him, because God had an eternal grip on him in Christ Jesus.

The goal of daily devotions is to get a grip on God. We do not have daily devotions to check off a box or to feel religious. We have daily devotions to love God and experience more of his love. This was the motivation of George Mueller, a nineteenth century German pastor, who said, “I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord.”

With the goal of daily devotions in mind, you can use the G.R.I.P. acronym as a guide for your devotions.


Begin your devotion by going to God in a short time of prayer. The goal for this portion is to go directly to God and declare your desire, which is to get a grip on him. We want to declare to God (and to ourselves) that we are reading the Bible and praying, not to earn something or check a box, but to draw near to our Father who has drawn near to us.

Simply say a short, one-sentence prayer to God before you start reading the Bible. You can pray Psalm 119:18: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” This isn’t a mindless chant or ritual meant to invoke the presence of God. Instead, it is a way to remind your heart that God is already near to you and longs to meet with you. Ask God to speak to you during your time with him, remind you of his love, and conform you into his image.

  • Begin the habit of saying a short prayer to begin your time with God in order to reorient your heart to him. You can pray something like Psalm 119:18: “Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”


Once you have prayed to God and declared your desire, begin reading the Bible. The goal for this portion is slow, attentive, and broad reading. Use a daily reading calendar and simply read through the passages with a prayerful heart.

In order to work systematically through the breadth of God’s Word, you can use a Bible reading plan that takes you through the whole Bible in a year. Most of these plans will have you read two or three chapters of Scripture per day. During this section of your devotion, you are not going to remember everything you read or dive deep into every passage. That’s not the point. During this time, just allow God’s Word to soak into your heart as you read.

  • Choose a Bible reading plan to work through during the upcoming year. Two of the best, time-tested plans are the Daily Journal Bible Reading Plan from the Navigators and the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan.


After you have read through the breadth of the Bible, ingest the truth of the Word deep into your heart. The goal for this portion is to allow the truth you just read to percolate into your mind, heart, and soul, so that you may be transformed. You can ingest the truth through meditation and memorization.

Meditation is rolling the truth of God over and over in your mind so that it transforms you. Reading is like taking a small spoonfull of every dish from an all-you-can eat buffet. Meditation is like going to the most delicious dish in the buffet and filling your plate. This is what the Lord told Joshua: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do all that is written in it” (Joshua 1:8). Biblical meditation is different than eastern meditation. Instead of trying to achieve a state of peace through emptying our minds, we fill our minds with God’s Word and find peace in his promises.

One of the best ways to begin meditation is by journaling. Simply choose a verse or passage from your daily reading and write it down in a journal. After you write down the verse, write down the following:

  • What does the passage say?
  • What does the passage mean?
  • How can I apply the passage to my life?

As you think over the passage and seek to apply it to your life, the truth of God’s Word will sink deep into your heart.

A second way to ingest truth is through memorization, the process of storing up God’s Word in your mind. As you memorize scripture, your mind is transformed, and you are equipped with the Word on-the-go to speak and apply it in any situation. As the psalmist prayed, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).

You can get started in memorization by using the 5 x 5 x 5 method. This is how the method works:

    • Begin by memorizing Scripture 5 minutes a day. The greatest barrier to Scripture memory is not ability, but time. We must discipline ourselves to set aside time to memorize Scripture. A great way to begin memorizing Scripture is to set a five minute timer on your watch or phone and resolve to memorize Scripture during the entire duration.
  • Read the passage with your Bible open 5 times. Go to the verse you want to memorize in your Bible and read the passage out loud, following the words of the verse with your eyes each time you read. Each time you read it, you can emphasize a different word:
  • There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
    • “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
    • “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
    • “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
    • “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

If you’re a visual learner, you can do the same thing, except write down the passage five times in a notebook.

  • Close your Bible and recite the passage out loud 5 times. After reading the verse out loud five times (or writing it down five times) with the Bible open, you should be able to close your Bible and recite the passage five times with the Bible closed.

This is the 5 x 5 x 5 method: five minutes a day, five times with the Bible open, five times with the Bible closed. After you memorize one verse, begin the next day with the old verse before moving on to a new verse. Over time, the discipline of memorization will provide the firepower of God’s Word to your prayers, your Bible study, your conversations, and every moment of your walk with Jesus.


End your devotional time by praying to God. The goal of this portion is to cry out to God and get a grip on him. All of your reading, all of your ingesting, all of your meditation, and all of your memorization was putting firewood into your heart so that you might be ablaze in prayer.

Pray over the passages of Scripture that you read and meditated over. You can use the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 as a guide to help you pray, or you can use the “A.C.T.S.” model: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. The important thing is that you actually talk to God. Don’t skip out on the feast of prayer. It is in prayer that we behold God’s glory and enjoy his loving presence.

  • Jot down some key Scriptures and prayer requests on a few notecards and use these to kick off your prayer time with God.

Explore Devotion

Evaluating Your Devotion

The Gospel