In the fall of 2019, our church began a four-year emphasis called Living our Faith—Pray, Read, Worship and Love. In the first year, we focused on prayer, trying to strengthen our individual prayer lives. In the second year, we focused on reading scripture and launched a monthly Bible book club to encourage people to read and reflect on scripture.
This fall, we are starting the year of worship. The goal is to deepen our experience in worship when the community gathers (whether in person or online) and to deepen individual practice of daily devotion.
Personal or family devotions are a part of the way we live out our discipleship. It is a time to focus our attention on our devotion to God. Prayer and reading and reflection on scripture are parts of a personal or family devotion practice. But so much more can enhance our devotional time.
- The singing of hymns or listening to music as a way to focus our attention on God.
- The setting we use for devotions—a home altar, an icon or painting, even the lighting of a candle can help us demarcate that this is our time to focus on God.
- The use of movement, sacred dance or prayer postures.
- The use of a variety of devotional resources, like the ELCIC’s Eternity for Today, or an online devotion from Lutherans Connect.
- The use of set liturgies like morning and evening prayer.
Some people use the same practice every day. Some people like to experiment with new things, perhaps on a season of the church year basis. Nothing is wrong!
I grew up with a practice of family devotions. For a while when lives got busy, the practice tapered away. But eventually my parents began using morning and evening prayer as a time of devotion, and I loved being able to be a part of that with them.
I confess I struggle with my daily devotional practice, just like I struggle with a regular exercise or diet regime.
Don’t get me wrong, prayer and reading scripture are a constant, it’s just the extras that sometimes elude me. I sometimes feel like I run out of time. I get bored. I like to try new things.
I am looking forward to this next year, to hearing about the devotion practices of others in our church. I am going to try new things and try to find a rhythm that makes the most sense to me.
Please join me this year! God deserves our devotion!
Rev. Susan Johnson,
ELCIC National Bishop