“If you abide in My word,” Jesus said, “you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”1 We all know that consistent time reading and meditating on God’s Word, along with prayer and hearing God’s still small voice, is critical to our spiritual health and fruitfulness. But sometimes we aren’t as consistent as we would like in doing those things. We skip our Bible reading, we hurry through prayer time, and we put off seeking God’s counsel on important matters.
Unfortunately, sometimes I think we can grow familiar with God’s Word and start to take it for granted, and even feel bored. There’s so much to read these days, when almost any article on nearly any topic is at the tip of our fingers online. This can be a distraction, because other writings can sometimes seem more interesting than God’s Word or other devotional books. Sometimes, other books may seem more relatable to today’s world.
There’s also the constant barrage of other distractions in today’s world that may be entertaining and relaxing but can steal the time that we would normally spend reading and studying God’s Word and other spiritually feeding writings.
If you struggle with apathy or boredom in your spiritual life and find it difficult to concentrate or stay focused when reading God’s Word, and you feel your walk with Him has stagnated, you aren’t alone. I’d venture to say this happens to everyone at some time, and for some it’s an ongoing struggle.
I think it’s even harder in this modern age to be content with quiet study due to the frenzied pace of the times we live in. We aren’t used to being … well … so quiet, and our minds tend to wander.
Sometimes, just admitting to yourself that you’ve allowed boredom to seep into your spiritual life helps. If you’re willing to recognize the problem, you can work on finding a solution or improving the situation. Then you can ask God for His guidance for a better approach and a change in attitude to enrich your time with Him.
Here are several helpful concepts I’ve noted after researching online sources:
- It’s a meeting, not a habit. People refer to the habit of daily Bible reading and prayer. But your quiet time is really a meeting with the living Christ. Don’t focus so much on the mechanics of the process that you miss the Person behind it. If you want to have a more meaningful quiet time, view Bible reading and prayer as daily dialogue with God.
- It’s a privilege, not a duty.Remember, God really loves you. And He wants to spend time with you. Don’t focus on guilt for not “paying your dues” to Him. Rather, in whatever time you have, focus on expressing your love and devotion to Him. Soon you’ll find yourself looking forward to spending time with God.
- Find a plan that fits you. Many people say, “I love to cook but I hate to decide what’s for dinner.” The same principle is true when it comes to a daily quiet time. That’s why it’s helpful to use a daily Bible reading plan or devotional guide. Then you won’t have to spend your quiet time in “menu planning,” and you can experience “the joy of cooking.”
- Be creative, add variety. Even good things can become routine. To keep your daily walk with God fresh, vary your approach occasionally. Read the passage in a new Bible translation. Keep a journal of your reflections. Try a “through the Bible in one year” schedule. Sample different Bible reading plans or study one Bible book in depth using a commentary.
- Learn to listen. Prayer is not just talking to God; it’s also listening. Take time to be still in God’s presence, to give your worries and concerns to Him. Think back on the experiences of the last day. How did you see God’s hand at work? Reflect on what you’ve read in God’s Word. What is He saying to you? When you love someone, you take time to listen to them.
Here are a few additional ideas that you might want to consider if you need a boost in your times of worship, prayer, and reading God’s Word.
- Ask God to increase your desire to know Him better through reading His Word.
- Find a translation of the Bible that is clear to you and easy to understand. Whether it is more traditional or contemporary, the goal is that you enjoy reading it and it speaks to you.
- Read and worship together with another person, someone who can serve as an accountability partner. Discuss what you’re reading.
- Meditate on what you’ve read; ask God to show you what it means to you personally and how it relates to your life.
Our relationship with God is similar to other intimate relationships; it’s not possible to be on a spiritual high 24/7. Sometimes things are routine, and that’s okay. Keeping this in mind helps us not to be unrealistic in our expectations. And by applying these simple guidelines, we can power through the occasional periods of spiritual boredom.
- John 8:31–32