Pursuing Jesus Together
We asked Brenda and Don Jacobson to talk about having devotions as a couple and wanted to share their thoughts with you.
Having devotions is connection with the Lord and inviting Him into your day, your choices, your attitudes and your actions. Being able to respond rightly to our circumstances and the stresses in our lives, saves so much time and energy. If that is true, you have to ask yourself, “How much of my day do I want the Holy Spirit involved in?”
Do you want His help in conflict and difficult life circumstances? Communicating with your boss? Your spouse? Your children? Do you only want Him actively involved in the last few minutes before you fall asleep exhausted at night? Do you want His guidance in only half of your day? Or do you want His help and encouragement starting the moment you wake up?
I’m naturally a “night” person but over time, I’ve trained myself to meet God in the morning. Connecting with the Lord in morning can be hard, especially when you’ve been up all night with kids, making you tired and grouchy or your life circumstances are causing you to worry. Ask yourself:
“Is my God big enough to give me the energy I need today if I get up a few minutes earlier to connect with him?”
“Do I believe my God can and will carry the weight of my problems all day, starting in the morning?”
The Bible says His “mercies are new every morning” and I need and want those mercies to begin my day. Jesus says, “Come to me, all who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28) He wants to give you rest, rest for your whole day.
When it comes to having devotions with your spouse, the first thing to remember is that there is no “correct” way or “one size fits all” formula that works for everyone.
We all come to Jesus with different stories and in different stages in life. What works for Brenda and I as “empty nesters” isn’t going to work for a couple with young children. What’s important, is that we each establish practices that connect us regularly to the God we love and who loves us.
Here are three principles for you to contextualize in your current stage of life:
- Be committed to your own spiritual growth
- Be committed to your spouse’s spiritual growth
- Be committed to your spiritual growth as a couple
Let’s unpack each of them a bit.
01 Be committed to your own spiritual growth
Ultimately, you have to decide that this is the most important part of your day. Henry Blackaby once said:
“The best time saver I know is unhurried time with God.”
For me, I decided long ago to give God the “first fruits” of my day. I no longer work out first thing in the morning and I don’t turn on my phone until He and I have finished our one on one time together.
I get up earlier than Brenda so our morning rhythms are different. I begin by asking the Holy Spirit to teach me as I read the Bible. I spend time thinking about the passage (meditating), pray and then journal.
About the time I’m finished, Brenda will join me and we will pray together. Often times I’ll share something I’m thinking about from my reading (just this morning, I shared things in Genesis 3 that I’ve never seen before—even though I’ve read it dozens of times through the years).
Brenda’s practice it to write her prayer in her journal, read Oswald Chambers classic devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, read her Bible and then finish journaling.
Both of us begin our prayer times with praise for who God is but praise also finds its way into the other parts of our devotional practice. Sometimes, it will be in response to a particular verse in the moment. It might be when we’re meditating on a verse or passage that we’ve been wrestling with, and then the Spirit reveals the meaning and we know we’ve heard from God. It might be when we’re praying or journaling the truths that God has revealed. At times, there will be a song that comes to us (individually) and sometimes we will sing a song together. Praise help us be mindful of God’s presence in our lives and thankful throughout our day.
02 Be committed to your spouse’s spiritual growth
Brenda and I have a goal of being each other’s best friend in heaven. We are committed to being a catalyst in each other’s life to grow spiritually and to produce much fruit that Jesus will someday reward us for. So we encourage each other in our individual pursuit of God and we make sure to create space/time for each other to do this. We take seriously our role as one of the Spirits’ primary voices into each other’s lives.
03 Be committed to your spiritual growth as a couple
In 2011 Brenda and I set an appointment to pray with each other every day. Both of us will tell you that it took our marriage to a new level of intimacy. We also created a personal credo. Here’s what it is:
“Because we love Him, we live for God’s glory, seeking to grow in wisdom and humility each day and striving to turn many to righteousness”
Recently, we felt God inviting us to know Him better, so we added another appointment in the evening where we read a Psalm together and then have an extended time of prayer.
Brenda and I do these things together because we believe that when we are one—one with each other and the Lord, He is released to work powerfully in us and through us.
A final thought.
Here’s the thing—this is Brenda’s and my rhythm. It’s right for us at this stage in our lives. It may not be right for you. The important thing is to create a set of practices that works for you and your spouse.
“Only one life, ‘twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last”