I have always enjoyed learning about the devotional habits of fellow preachers. I also have been surprised to learn that some pastors do not see a need for a daily quiet time, but rather believe their weekly sermon preparation is sufficient for personal growth. While preachers certainly benefit from sermon study, there are good reasons why we must also set aside time each day to read the Bible and commune with God. Whether that time is in the morning (my preference) or in the evening, here are seven reasons why preachers should have a daily quiet time:
- It provides additional opportunity for personal growth. It is often when we are communing with God in prayer and reading the Bible for pure pleasure–not “looking for a sermon” in the text–that God grows us most profoundly.
- It establishes a healthy rhythm. Pastors are busy people. In addition to the “normal” demands of ministry, unpredictable surprises, challenges, and interruptions occur. Having a regular time with the Lord serves to recalibrate our ministries, allowing time to breathe during the imbalances and disorders of the day.
- It reminds us to depend on God. Jesus emphasized the importance of daily dependence when He taught us to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). The more disciplined we are to talk to the Lord in prayer, the more likely we are to depend upon Him throughout the hours of each day.
- It models devotional practices for others. When preachers share what God has revealed to them in their personal devotions, their listeners understand the importance of seeking God daily and may desire to have a daily quiet time themselves.
- It results in greater familiarity with the Word. When we read the Bible daily–especially reading through the entirety of Scripture–we become better acquainted with biblical themes and the locations of particular texts. And, greater familiarity leads to greater confidence in handling the Word.
- It adds fuel to our preaching. In addition to the discoveries we make during weekly sermon preparation, our devotional experiences may also find their way into the weekly sermon. What God shows us in our quiet times often supplements our preaching in meaningful ways.
- It was the way of our Lord. While no verse explicitly says that Jesus had a daily quiet time, our Lord certainly cherished time alone with the Father (Mark 1:35-38; Luke 5:16). If a regular time of solitude was important to Jesus, then it must be equally important to His followers.
Preachers: What are your devotional habits? How do you connect them to your sermon preparation?
Be sure to check out Dr. Linn’s website, Preaching Truth.