Do you ever get bored with your devotional time? Ever feel like what you’re doing isn’t producing the spiritual results you hoped for?
Consider interval training.
I first learned about interval training at the fitness center where I exercise every morning. Here’s the definition as it refers to physical activity:
Interval training - training in which an athlete alternates between two activities, typically requiring different rates of speed, degrees of effort, etc.The Mayo Clinic article, “Rev Up Your Workout with Interval Training” lists several benefits to this approach:
- Higher calorie burn
- Increased time efficiency
- Additional aerobic effect
- Less boredom
- Increased feelings of happiness
Who wouldn’t want these benefits? Impressed with the science behind this approach, I decided to use an interval training exercise routine. I walk five laps at a brisk pace, then jog one. I’m not a runner, and I’ve never enjoyed jogging, but I found that one lap out of five isn’t so bad.
Almost immediately, I saw a difference. I finished my workout quicker, which helped me get to work on time. The occasional jog broke up the monotony of 50 laps around the track, and instead of feeling drained at the end, I felt energized.
But what does this have to do with morning devotions and spiritual boredom? We can apply similar principles to our spiritual exercise and achieve similar results.
Think about what you normally do to engage God each day. If you’re like me, you probably sit in the same spot and read the same Bible you’ve used for the last five years. Or maybe you read from a devotional. You pray about the same needs and the same people, “Lord, keep my husband and children safe, draw my unsaved loved ones to you, and use us in your service today. Amen.”
If you’re suffering from spiritual boredom or not seeing the spiritual results you hoped for, maybe it’s time to shake things up.
Four suggestions for spiritual interval training:
1. Read from a different bible.
Choosing a different translation, or a new way of reading. I love the MacArthur Daily Bible, where, every day, I read a portion of the Old Testament, a portion of the New Testament, and a Psalm and Proverb. This year, however, I’ve been reading in The Chronological Study Bible instead. I may try The Archaeological Study Bible next.
I’ve gained new insight and grown even more excited about God’s Word. Some days I use the Bible Gateway app to listen to different translations and readers without having to invest in new Bibles. Hearing God’s Word read aloud often gives me fresh insight. I catch emphasis and repeated words I would otherwise have missed.
2. Use a Different Devotional.
If you always read Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening, read Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest. If you love The Upper Room devotions, try Our Daily Bread. If you haven’t read my book, Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible, I’d love for you to grab a copy.
3. Pray Using a Different Method.
Do you normally use the ACTS (Admit, Confess, Thanks, and Supplication) way? Try using The Lord’s Prayer as a model instead. If you pray with a list in a prayer journal, go off script and invite God to bring people and situations to your mind and allow Him to direct your prayer time. Or pray for missionaries and ministries one day, family members the next, and friends, associates, and strangers the next.
4. Meet with God in a Different Place.
If you usually sit in your recliner in the den or read your Bible in bed, go somewhere else. Weather permitting, find a quiet spot outdoors, read in your car at lunch time, or listen to a Bible app while you’re walking. It’s amazing how a change of venue can open your heart and mind to things you’d never see otherwise.
Running the race with spiritual interval training:
Unlike physical training, spiritual interval training has less to do with speed and more to do with efficiency. When we switch things up in our Bible reading and devotional time, we rev up our spiritual metabolism, burn off negative influences, fight boredom, and increase our joy. Investing time and energy in God’s Word every day enables us to raise our level of spiritual fitness and increase our degree of spiritual health.
If you’re struggling with boredom and inefficiency in your devotional time, I encourage you to banish it by applying interval training to your faith walk.
Is a pastor’s wife who lives delightfully close to her four grandchildren in Lexington, South Carolina. She’s the author of several devotional books including Refresh Your Faith – Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible (Our Daily Bread Publishing) and blogs at Hungry for God…Starving for Time: www.LoriHatcher.com.