The Narrow Way Bible Study Lessons
Personal Devotions Made Practical
In this lesson, we want to look at how to have meaningful personal devotions that will help us to draw closer to God and to stay connected to Him throughout our day.
Have you ever felt that reading your Bible was boring, or that your prayers went no higher than the ceiling, or that you didn’t even know what to pray about? While these feelings are all too common in the Christian world today, they don’t have to be your experience. In fact, this must not be your experience if you are seeking for a walk with God where you can find victory over your besetting sins and form a character for heaven. You can experience meaningful life-changing personal time with God each day!
1) How shall I prepare my heart to gain the blessings God intends for me in my devotional time? __________________________________________________________
“If ye then be risen with Christ, ________ those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. ______ your __________________ on _____________
_________, not on ______________________________________. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3
“But the _____________________ receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are ______________________ unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are __________________________________________.” 1 Corinthians 2:14
“If any man will ______________________, he shall ____________________________
____________, whether it be of God, or [whether] I speak of myself.” John 7:17
If we are thinking upon and being involved in things of this world all day (whether it be television, worldly music, novels, business and economic pressures, acquiring wealth, family stresses and disagreements, etc.), we will not be prepared to find our quiet time with God the next morning and interesting and desirable experience. Our mind will be so full of the worldly things we have been feeding it with, that we will find our devotions empty and boring. So in order to gain the blessings of personal time with God, we must practice walking with God and keeping our thoughts stayed on Him through the day; and we can have this experience of abiding in Christ when we get connected with Him in our morning devotional time. The two (personal devotions and daily walk) go hand in hand.
The Bible also tells us that we must be walking in harmony with God’s will in order to understand the truth. If we are holding onto known sin in our life, we will not be able to gain the blessings God has for us in our devotional time either.
2) Do I need to spend time with God every day? It’s so hard to find time for it, and then to be consistent about it. YES / NO
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and __________________________________________________, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11
“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live ________________________, but by ____________________ that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4
“Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth __________________________________________________________.” Job 23:12
Personal time with God is as essential to spiritual life as food is to physical life. We cannot safely attempt to ride through today on yesterday’s experience, yesterday’s prayers, yesterday’s connection with God. We need a fresh experience each day. Many people have found that they need at least one hour every morning to spend with God and get connected with Him for the day. Some spend even more time and are greatly blessed by it.
In regards to finding time for it, it’s all an issue of priorities. We will find time for the things that are most important in life. If we put daily time with God at the top of our priority list (above talking on the telephone, watching the news, reading other books or magazines, long “primping” sessions in front of the mirror, or countless other “little” things that so often crowd our days) we will find time for it. Pray and ask God to help you put your priorities in line in light of eternity, and He surely will. True, it will most surely require the sacrifice of some daily activities you have previously enjoyed, but it will be well worth it, both now, and in eternity.
In regards to being consistent, it is true that we often start out with enthusiasm and good intentions, fully intending to keep on faithfully as we have begun, but Satan is not content to give us an easy ride. He comes along with all the distractions he can come up with, to keep us from consistently spending time with God. “The spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh [is] weak.” Matthew 26:41. Our first line of defense is to pray and ask God to help us be consistent. Then we can put time with God into our schedule, and set our alarm clock so we will be up on time. It is also important to “turn off” any distractions you can (TV or music or other noises you may have in your home, the ringer on the phone, etc.). Finally, if you fail to be consistent with your time with God one day, don’t let it get you down into the depths of discouragement, for that is just what Satan would like. Rather, go to the Lord in repentance, and ask Him to help you be more consistent, and then get up and try again!
3) What is the purpose and goal of our personal time with God? Write several of the reasons given, on the lines below: ____________________________________________
“______________________, and ________________. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the ________, ye [are] the ________________: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much __________: for without me ye can do ______________. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast [them] into the fire, and they are burned. If ye ______________________, and my ___________________________________, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” John 15:4-8
“__________ to show thyself __________________________________, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be _____________________________________________________________, having ______________ the ____________________ that is in the __________ through lust.” 2 Peter 1:4
“Thy ________ have I _______ in mine __________, that I might __________________
_____________________.” Psalms 119:11
“Wherewithal shall a young man ______________ his way? By ____________________ [thereto] according to thy ________.” Psalms 119:9
“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee ______________________________________ through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
2 Timothy 3:15
“________________ them through thy truth: thy ________ is __________.” John 17:17
The goal of personal devotions is multifaceted, but it can be summarized as knowing Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. This includes surrendering my life to God, allowing Him to cleanse me from all sin and keep me from sinning, knowing truth from error so I won’t be deceived, abiding in Christ and partaking of His divine nature, walking with God as Enoch did, and perfecting a character for heaven.
4) What is Christ’s daily invitation to us?
“Behold, I __________________________________, and __________: if any man ________ my voice, and ________ the door, I will _______________ to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20
Christ is waiting to meet with you each morning. He invites you to let Him in and spend time with Him. If you rush past Him into your day because you think you don’t have time to spend with Him, you leave Him standing outside, and miss the rich blessings He has in store for you. How many of us have done this, and then we wonder why God seems so far from us all day, and why we fail over and over when tempted to get irritated or impatient. It is no wonder, because we have not surrendered our heart and connected to His strength.
5) What promise are we given when we search for God with all our heart?
“And ye shall ________ me, and ________ [me], when ye shall ____________ for me with ____________________________.” Jeremiah 29:13
6) Whose guidance and wisdom do we need when we study God’s Word? ____________
“But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the ____________ searcheth all things, yea, the ______________________ of God…. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the ____________ which is of ______; that we might know the things that are _________________________ to us of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:10, 12
We should always ask the Holy Spirit to guide us as we study, that we may rightly understand what we read, and apply it practically to our lives.
7) Why do we need God’s Word, and how much authority is it to have in our life?
“All scripture [is] given by ____________________________________, and [is] profitable for ________________, for ______________, for ___________________, for ________________________________________________________: That the man of God may be ______________, thoroughly furnished unto all ____________________.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our ________________, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4
“Thy word [is] a _________ unto my feet, and a __________ unto my path.”
“For the word of God [is] __________, and _________________, and sharper than any twoedged __________, ________________ even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a __________________ of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the ________ of our ______ shall _________
__________________.” Isaiah 40:8
The Bible is the inspired Word of God, and is to have full authority in our life. It gives us true doctrine, corrects our errors, points out our sins, and teaches us how to develop a character like Christ’s. As we diligently study the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, we learn more and more of God’s will for our lives.
8) What warnings does the Bible give us about studying it?
Do not ___________ to it or ________________ from it
Do not listen to those who ____________________________________
“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall ______ unto these things, God shall ______ unto him the ______________ that are written in this book: And if any man shall __________________ from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall __________________ his part out of the _______
________________, and out of the __________________, and [from] the things which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19
“Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
________________________ unto his words, lest he _______________ thee, and thou be found a ________.” Proverbs 30:5-6
“__________, my son, to ________ the ______________________________________ _____________________ from the __________ of knowledge.” Proverbs 19:27
It is of eternal importance that we never twist the meaning of Scripture to suit our own opinion, or rationalize away its plain injunctions because they cross our self-will. We must also guard against listening to the counsel of those (even among our family, friends, or fellow church members) who would endeavor to dissuade us from following God all the way and doing just what He has said. We must accept God’s Word just as it reads, and obey it.
9) How do I study the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy in my morning devotions?
“For ______________ [must be] upon ______________, precept upon precept; ________ upon ________, line upon line; __________________________, [and] ____________________________:” Isaiah 28:10
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they ________________ the ________ with all __________________________________, and ________________ the scriptures daily, whether those ____________________________.” Acts 17:11
The Bible tells us that when we study to know the truth, we must diligently search out all the counsel we are given on the subject. it is never a safe practice to build a teaching on only a small portion of the counsel wile ignoring the rest, because God never contradicts Himself or gives new light contrary to the light which has already been given. God’s truth is always in harmony and agreement with itself.
Now let us consider a couple of practical suggestions of ways to make our personal study time a blessed and meaningful experience.
A) Always begin with prayer, as we will be studying in more detail next. As for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and an open heart to receive whatever God wishes to teach you.
B) Read thoughtfully and slowly through a book of the Bible or a Spirit of Prophecy book, going verse by verse or quote by quote, using your dictionary or Strong’s Concordance to look up the meaning of the words you may not be sure of. Ask God to help you make practical applications of the things you read to your own life.
C) As you read, keep a notebook or card file of key verses you read on different subjects and Bible teachings, promises, or lessons God taught you. This notebook can be a valuable reference later for your own review or for sharing with others when you are looking for a certain verse you remember reading or are giving a Bible study.
D) Do a topical study - pick a subject that you want to understand better or one where you are struggling personally (such as how to walk with God, how to communicate with your spouse, how to train your children, how to dress, how to care for your health, the Sabbath, the second coming, the character of God, how to have the victory over temptation, character qualities we need to develop - the list is endless!). Using the concordance (for the Bible), or the index or CD-ROM (for the Spirit of Prophecy), find all the verses and quotes you can on the subject and compile them in an orderly fashion so you get a complete picture. You may find it helpful then to write out a summary of the subject as you understand it from your study, and how what you have learned applies to your life.
E) Mark your Bible using colored pens to underline or pencils to lightly color. First, make a list of subjects and their corresponding colors. Then use that list as a guide as you read and mark. You can also mark chain reference studies in your Bible. For this, you make a list of verses on a subject. Then, on the flyleaf of your Bible, you write the subject, a code letter for the subject (example - second coming = SC), and the first verse reference. Turn to the first verse and in the margin beside it write the subject code letters and the reference for the second verse. Go to the second verse and continue in this way until you come to the last verse. In the margin beside the last verse write the subject code letters and “end”.
F) Memorize verses or chapters of the Bible. This is a wonderful way to hide God’s Word in your heart.
10) Who shall we ask to teach us to pray? ______________________________
“And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, ____________________________________________, as John also taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1
11) When we pray with a sincere heart, even if we feel that we lack for words, Who makes intercession for us? _______________________________________
“Likewise the ____________ also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should ________ for as we ought: but the ____________ itself _____________________ __________________ for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what [is] the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh ________________________ for the ____________ according to [the will of] God.” Romans 8:26-27
12) What are the prerequisites for having our prayers heard and answered?
a) Obedience to God, doing whatever is pleasing to Him.
“And whatsoever we ______, we ______________ of him, ______________ we ________ his ________________________, and ____ those things that are ___________________________________________.” 1 John 3:22
b) Not holding on to any sin in my life, letting God cleanse me from all iniquity.
“If I ______________________________________________________, the Lord will ________________ [me]:” Psalms 66:18
“He that ________________________ his ear from hearing the law, even his ____________ [shall be] ______________________.” Proverbs 28:9
13) What example did Jesus give us in prayer? __________________________________
“And in the morning, rising up ______________________________________________, he went out, and departed into a ________________ place, and there ____________.” Mark 1:35
“And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a ________________ apart to ________: and when the ______________ was come, he was there __________.” Matthew 14:23
It was Jesus’ practice to spend time morning and evening in solitude, communing with God in prayer. He is our Example, Whom we are to follow.
14) Where are we to pray our private prayers? __________________________________
“But thou, when thou prayest, enter ______________________________, and when thou hast shut thy door, ________ to thy ____________ which is in ____________; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:6
Having a special quiet spot where we go for prayer, away from noise and distractions, helps us keep our mind from wandering when we pray. It may be in a quiet room in the house or outside in a special spot in nature; wherever you are best able to keep focused on God.
15) How are we to pray?
a) That God’s will be done, not our own.
“And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless __________________________, but ________________________.” Matthew 26:39
b) Asking for those things that are according to His will.
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask _____________________
_______________________________, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” 1 John 5:14-15
c) In full faith that God will hear and answer in His time.
“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, ______________ that ye ______________ [them], and ye shall have [them].” Mark 11:24
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him _____________________, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him _________________
___________, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” James 1:5-7
d) Not repeating the same wrote prayer over and over until it becomes practically meaningless.
“But when ye pray, use not ________________________________, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Matthew 6:7
e) Not praying half-heartedly, but pouring out your whole heart to God.
“Arise, _____________ in the night: in the beginning of the watches ________________
Thine __________ like water before the face of the ________:” Lamentations 2:19
f) In a reverent kneeling posture, showing our reverence for and submission to God.
“O come, let us worship and ________________: let us __________ before the LORD our maker. For he [is] ______________; and we [are] the ____________ of his pasture, and the __________ of his hand.” Psalms 95:6-7
“And he (Jesus) was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and _________________
_______, and ____________,” Luke 22:1
16) What are some of the things the Bible tells us we can pray about? List several below:
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, ________________ be thy name. Thy ________________________. Thy ________________________ in earth, as [it is] in heaven. ________ us this day our ______________________. And ____________________ our debts, __________________________ our debtors. And ______________________ into ____________________, but _____________________ from ________: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” Matthew 6:9-13
“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,… That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be ________________________ with might __________________________ in the __________________; That Christ may ________________________________________ by faith; that ye, being rooted and ______________________________, May be __________________________________ with all saints what [is] the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to ________ the ____________________________, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be ____________ with all the ____________________________.” Ephesians 3:14, 16-19
“Pray without ceasing. In every thing ______________________: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 18
“Casting ___________________________________________; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
We should offer thanks and praise to God in our prayers for all His goodness to us. We can also bring to Him all our cares, perplexities, and burdens. We should pray for forgiveness of sin (remembering that we will be forgiven as we forgive others), for the Holy Spirit, for help in developing Christlike characters, for deliverance from temptation and danger, for wisdom and understanding of God’s will for our lives, for healing of the sick, for others’ spiritual needs, for the ministers and leaders of our church, for those who are persecuted for the truth, for the work of God to go forward and His cause to be vindicated, and for Christ to come back soon. Making a prayer list is a very helpful way of remembering the people you want to pray for and the specific needs they have, prayer requests for yourself and your family, other requests, and things to be thankful for. Keep your list in your special prayer spot and refer to it when you need reminders as you pray.
17) How long are we to persevere in prayer, even when it seems nothing is happening as a result? __________________________________________________
“And he spake a parable unto them [to this end], that men ought ___________________ _______, and ________________________;” Luke 18:1
“Watch ye therefore, and ______________________, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” Luke 21:36
“And let us not be ______________________________________: for in due season we shall reap, ______________________________.” Galatians 6:9
Never give up! Remember, God hears your prayers if your heart is right with Him, and He is working to answer them even though it may be behind the scenes for a while.
18) What promises does the Bible give to those who persevere in prayer?
“Ask, and ____________________________________________; seek, and __________
______________; knock, and _______________________________________________
______: For every one that asketh __________________; and he that seeketh ______________; and to him that knocketh it shall be ____________…. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, ________________________ shall your Father which is in heaven give ______________________ to them that ______ him?” Matthew 7:7, 8, 11
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your ________________ be ____________________ unto ______. And the __________ of God, which passeth all __________________________, shall ________ your ________________________________ through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
“The prayer of the humble suppliant He presents as His own desire in that soul's behalf. Every sincere prayer is heard in heaven. It may not be fluently expressed; but if the heart is in it, it will ascend to the sanctuary where Jesus ministers, and He will present it to the Father without one awkward, stammering word, beautiful and fragrant with the incense of His own perfection.” DA 667
19) Is quiet contemplation and heart searching an important part of personal devotions? YES / NO
“Mine eyes prevent the [night] watches, that I might ________________ in thy ________.” Psalms 119:148
“__________________, O God, and __________________________: ____________, and ________________________________: And see if [there be any] wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalms 139:23-24
“I call to remembrance my song in the night: I ______________ with mine own __________: and my spirit made ______________________________…. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.” Psalms 77:6, 12
“Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his ______________ [is] in the law of the LORD; and ____________________ doth he ________________ day and night.” Psalms 1:1-2
“________________, and ________ that ________________: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalms 46:10
Life is so busy that if we don’t take time to stop and think and contemplate where we are headed and what God is trying to tell us, we may very likely bring the rush and hurry into our devotional time as well. We may hastily rattle off a prayer (the same things we say every day) without much thought, and quickly read a Bible chapter (never pausing to think what God is trying to teach us through it or how it can practically apply to our life). All the while our mind is spinning with the 100+ things we hope to accomplish that day, the frets and irritations in our relationships with others (which we ought to be bringing to Jesus for help with), and just about anything and everything else but communion with God. No wonder after “devotions” like this we rush off into our day no more connected with or abiding in Christ than we were before we started, with no power to subdue self and gain the victory over temptation. This is why it is so important to truly take the time to be still and know that He is God.
20) Would you like to make the solemn commitment before God that by His grace you will set aside a specific time each day to meet with Him, commune with Him, study His Word and the Spirit of Prophecy, and be still and know that He is God? Write your commitment below: _______________________________________________________
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