What motivates your personal devotion (quiet time)?

My ministry trainee has been asked by the DDO (Diocesan Director of Ordinands) to spend some time using the Anglican daily office in preparation for selection conference. He has also been asked to interview me about my devotional life. In the interview, last week, we discussed what motivates us to spend time each day in solitary devotion. Readers of this blog will know that I am a recovered (recovering) neonomian, someone who mixed grace and works as the basis for my acceptance before God. Being a neonomian meant my motives for my quiet time were also mixed.

You will know that you are a neonomian if you feel you must have a quiet time if you are motivated to have a quiet time in any one of these ways:


  1. if you don’t you are not doing what a Christian should do;
  2. if you don’t you are not showing God that you love him;
  3. you must keep up with everyone else who has a daily time with God;
  4. you need to spend time with God out of as sense of duty to him.
  5. If you don’t have a quiet time you feel guilty and despair at your lack of godliness.

The way I now view my personal devotion is now completely different. I want to have a quiet time because that is the time God feeds me. He is my shepherd and I am his sheep. His word is my sustenance and daily bread. If I don’t eat, I starve. I am poor and needy (Psalm 40:17) and he is my help and deliverer. I sit at his feet as he teaches me (Luke 10:41-42).

This view of my quiet time has changed what I do. In the past, I would study a passage then pray through a list of people in my life. I had done my duty in both reading and intercession.

Now I try to find ways to be fed. I read a theologically meaty devotional book. There are lots of extracts from my devotional reading on this blog (Thomas Watson’s exposition of the beatitudes, Charles Spurgeon on the Song of Songs and so on). I read the bible in a 5-year cycle using Murray McChene’s bible reading plan. The first year all the way through then the next four years one section at a time. I write a prayer fro the passage(s) I’ve read. I then meditate which is when God feeds me most. Meditation on God’s word leads me to deep joy, dependence, confession and repentance.  I then end in intercession.

As for my ministry trainee, I hope that he is able to approach the daily office seeing that it has the potential for God to feed him rather than simply being a necessary task to tick a box for Church of England selectors.  I also hope he finds lots of others ways to be fed.

About neilrobbie

I am a 6'6" formerly ginger Scot, in a cross cultural marriage to my lovely Londoner wife. We've lived in SE Asia and since 2005, I have served as an Anglican minister in Wolverhampton and West Bromwich.
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2 Responses to What motivates your personal devotion (quiet time)?

  1. andrew G says:

    Usually out of a sense of panic! Without God I can’t get through the day too easily, and if feels like treakle. I need God basically there and helping me to make sense of it all, and I somehow feel like i have had a meeting with the board director afterwards. A while ago I was asked what got me out of bed in the morning. Some of the responders to the question said that they were looking forward to serving God and other such things. I said that it was my quiet time, otherwise I would hate the day. Not sure what that says about me…but in my weakness and all that! great post. Thanks

  2. Wilma says:

    Leaving the house, having a very meaningful and inspiring devotion with God brings clearness in direction. It makes you sensitive to the needs of people. It attracts people to you. It helps you do things easily. It produces fruits. It brings joy in everything and prepares you in facing anything that you encounter. It’s really a blessing to put God first daily. Thank you, Lord Jesus.

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