In his book, Invitation to a Journey, author M. Robert Mulholland Jr. refers to “creation gifts”, that is, the unique mix of personality traits given to us by God. His point is that understanding how we’ve been created helps us become more conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others.

I think the concept also applies to our devotional lives. We will get more out of our times of Bible reading and prayer, and become more effective at applying God’s Word, if we understand the unique devotional personality God has given each of us. Here are a few I’ve discovered:

  • Early Birds—these are the classic early morning devotionalists. Their minds are the sharpest and their hearts are the most receptive just as the sun is coming up. They love the routine of starting every day the same way…with God.
  • Mid-Day Breakers—these devotionalists love to take a few minutes for Bible reading and prayer in the middle of their busy days. For them it’s like an oasis with God that keeps them sane.
  • Commuter Seekers—these folks have discovered how to transform the boring time on a bus or train into a meeting with God. They also appreciate new technology; digital Bibles and devotionals are perfect for them.
  • Night Watchers—when the pressure and details of the day finally fall silent, these devotionalists come alive. They love unstructured time with God when everyone else is asleep.
  • Free Spirits—for these devotionalists, routine is a downer. For them the most important thing is quality time with God, and whenever that’s possible, great!

So…what’s your devotional type? Don’t feel guilty if you’re not an early bird or a free spirit. Spend a few weeks experimenting, asking God to give you insight into how he’s wired you. Then build a lifelong pattern based on your unique devotional personality.

What’s Your Devotional Type?

4 thoughts on “What’s Your Devotional Type?

  • July 14, 2009 at 10:18 am
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    This is such helpful thinking Whitney. I wonder what this then means for what we offer with regard to devotional resources? Should we be radically rethinking the structure and format of EWG for example in order to better meet peoples' changing needs? And what does this mean for wordlive.org?

    I suspect that many of our print Bible guides are actually weighted pretty heavily towards equipping those classic early-morning devotionalists. And I further suspect that there is more growth in the other devotional types.

    How can we best equip those who are building that lifelong pattern based on their unique devotional personality?

    Reply
  • July 14, 2009 at 12:59 pm
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    Good questions, James. My thinking is that Scripture Union should continue doing what it does better than anyone in the world, that is, creating resources for the disciplined devotionalist. I wouldn't stop that.

    But our growth will come from supporting and creating resources for the other devotional temperaments. In our children's work we are very conscious of the implications of different learning styles etc; I think we need to apply some of that thinking to our adult Bible engagement side.

    Also, I believe this will involve more than just new formats–digital, audio etc. I've been experiemtning with how the old fashioned process of Scripture meditation (still valid) works out in a digital world and with a variety of devotional personalities. I'd love to see a consultation on that.

    Reply
  • July 16, 2009 at 8:30 am
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    Great post and great comments.

    I love the 'disciplined devotionalist' phrase.

    It is the tension we have to hold on to at Scripture Union. We can create many and varied ways of helping people meet with God through Bible and prayer, but unless people want to / have a desire to / are disciplined to, then that makes little difference.

    One of the reasons why I like the E100 concept, personality wise… I need discipline 🙂

    Reply
  • August 7, 2009 at 11:08 pm
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    Hi!
    I am a combination of Early Riser and Internet.
    I use the E-mail devotionals in the morning.
    I read the Bible during the day.

    Reply

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