If you're like me- or virtual any Christian most probably- you may have at one point struggled with committing to a time of prayer and Bible reading. These two spiritual disciplines are the most vital things every Christian must have, but truth be told it never comes naturally.
No one wakes up one day accidentally praying or reading his or her Bible. In fact, it's more likely that we'll accidentally forget to do so. We all need some help when it comes to setting a time of regular devotions. I believe in the Holy Spirit giving us supernatural hunger and delight in God's Word and God's presence. But no matter how much the Holy Spirit prods us to spend time with Him, we will find it hard to build strong devotions without creating a habit of scheduling a fixed time to do so.
Now before anyone goes and shuts this down thinking it's "by the flesh," think of it this way: 1 Corinthians 14:33 tells us that God is a God of order and the wisdom and drive to schedule well is also one way of God's Spirit moving in us to build a habit of devotions. The fruit of the Spirit after all includes self-control.
Why should we set a fixed time of prayer and devotions? There's one good reason why - because being deliberate about your time with God builds a good strong habit or following through with your commitment.
Habits die hard, even good ones. We all have habits - some are bad but some are actually good. Bible reading and prayer can be good habits and we have to admit that setting a fixed time and place for Bible reading and prayer helps us build that good habit of doing so. I have found that ever since I included devotions on my calendar that I have been less likely to skip or miss spending time with God.
Jesus Himself set a time to pray as Mark 1:35 tells us, "And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed." Jesus spent early mornings to pray and commune with the Father so shouldn't we do the same?
That's not to say that we don't pray and read the Bible for the rest of the day. By all means we can continue to pray even while we're driving, at work, at home or even having a meal alone. Prayer and Bible reading doesn't have to be limited to a set time and place, but it can be beneficial to set one time and place for prayer and devotions and simply build around that.
If it's really important, it's worth integrating into a daily routine. We will find that we can commune with God best when we set appointments with Him on a daily basis, and follow through with a Spirit-empowered decision to keep those times sacred.