I created my own daily bible reading plan because I was so frustrated with myself.
Everytime I started to read the Bible, I would find myself reading the same passage over and over again, neither understanding nor absorbing anything. I had a hard time focusing on what God was saying to me. My mind would wander all over my worries, concerns, situations, events and people of the moment. I would feel sleepy! I would think of the tasks I had to do that day; the people I had to call; the places I had to go. All these thoughts were crowding out the word of God and competing for my attention!
No, these were not very quiet times of devotion and reflection! They were very noisy and unrestful sessions. The enemy truly succeeded in distracting me. I had to do something different!
So I looked up several "Bible study methods" books to see how I can get some structure or discipline. Turns out there are many forms of
daily bible reading plans
to choose from and they all sounded reasonable... if I applied myself. Some of them sounded rather academic. I didn't know if I could do it to such details or high calibre.
Then one book said something to this effect (I'm paraphrasing):
The key to any daily Bible reading plan is the presence of the Holy Spirit. You can read the Bible any which way you like, but the most important component is to invite the Holy Spirit to participate in your devotional time. Without him, you will be missing out on the live presence of God! Invite him to teach, guide and comfort you through God's living word.
So I took a bird's eyeview of all the varieties of daily Bible reading plans and really questioned myself: What are the major components of a daily Bible reading plan? I kept thinking about that children's song:
Read your Bible
and you'll grow, grow, grow
How basic can it get? There are only TWO basic components:
Read your Bible (God talking to me.)
Pray everyday (Me talking to God.)
So being a visual learner, I created a daily bible reading plan that is very simple, effective and highly interactive:
LOW-tech, HIGH-touch, SUPER-interactive!
Now don't laugh at the simplicity of this plan! It has helped me to focus on God's word; focus on writing it down; deal with all the distracting thoughts in my brain; AND most importantly, it has helped me to HEAR God and understand him.
Get hardcover notebook (so you can do this away from a desk if you want).
Fold the pages in half or draw a vertical line down the middle. This will give you two columns to work with.
Label each page with the DATE and the PASSAGE that you're reading.
Pray and ask the Holy spirit to to teach and guide you in your reading. Choose and read your passage. I often just pick one book of the Bible and work on it until I finish it. There are many reading lists to choose from. Do what you are comfortable with.
In the LEFT column, copy down the passage you're reading or the highlights or whatever catches your attention. This is what God is saying to YOU. Underline, highlight or circle any words or phrases you want. Point to it and make any comments you want in the other column. I often jump from column to column to write things down. Writing helps me to reflect on the passage and my prayers.
In the RIGHT column, write down your praises, thanksgivings, repentances and prayers. Throughout your time with God, feel free to jot down any concerns here. Once you write it down, you've transferred these distracting thoughts from your brain to the notebook; they can no longer crowd out God's word! Then pray about these concerns. Somedays I may even write down my "To Do" list here because it is burdening me, and I ask God to take control of it. Also, I try to write down how the passage is relevant in my own life. Sometime I even draw out simple diagrams and pictures to help me understand, interpret and clarify what I am reading.
Read and write as much as you want. Some days I write a quarter page; some days, two pages! The two columns simply give you the framework to LISTEN to God and to TALK to God.
The act of writing down in the notebooks, underlining, highlighting helps you interact with God's word. Through this method, I have experienced revelations, solutions, expressions of love and confirmations from God; much of this I'd record in the right column. Imagine how wonderful it is to go back and reread your journey of faith!
Relatively speaking, I am not "reading" a lot of the Bible each day. My purpose here is to see what I can learn from a short passage. I seem to be able to digest only small chunks at a time. This I would try to chew on through the day. Other times, I may just want to read through a much longer passage to get an overall idea what is happening. There are two different purposes here.
But do you know what the greatest benefit is by "reading" my Bible this way? I took OWNERSHIP of my Bible study and devotion! I was not doing "homework" for a Bible class, I was not doing required "good for you" reading from the Bible or extra classnotes. Group and more formal bible studies are great for fellowship and discussions, but personal Bible reading, reflection and prayer is extremely important for knowing God's will for us as individuals.
Sometimes (OK, often) I even work in a nap during this time! Homeschool/stay-at-home moms need to recharge spiritually AND physically! And by the way, I've taught my 9-year old daughter to do a simple version of this. It's never too early to learn to listen and talk to God! See the
of my daily bible reading plan.