1. MY USUAL DEVOTIONAL SCHEDULE WAS TO FIRST SING, to "enter into His gates with thanksgiving, & into His courts with praise" (Ps.100:4). If you have a little gathering together like you're supposed to have everyday, you ought to sing a song or two first‚ songs of praise‚ praising the Lord, or even songs of prayer.
2. And then I always had a little introductory prayer for the Word & so on. But if you're going to have real prayer‚ heavy prayer—of course God can answer anyway—but it gives you more faith for your prayers if you'll read a little Scripture first, a little devotional or inspirational reading, because the Word inspires your faith!—"Faith cometh by hearing the Word of God." (Rom.10:17) So why pray first & then hear the Word afterward? Normally, it's better to have your Word-reading first, & then have your prayer afterwards for whatever the need may be.
3. And then, if in prayer you're seeking answers of some kind, one of the best ways to get them is to have some spiritually-gifted people present. At the end of our meetings in the early days, we would always stand & hold hands—or you can hold hands around the table or whatever you want to do—& ask the Lord to speak & give us the answer.—Either by someone getting a Scripture or a message in tongues with interpretation or prophecy or a word of wisdom or a word of knowledge or whatever.
4. The most important & valuable gifts of the Spirit are not the most visible or obvious—you go over the list & see! (1Co.12:4-10) And the least important‚ which He puts at the bottom of the list, is the most obvious & manifest & showy, & that's tongues. Nevertheless it's good, but "above all thy getting get wisdom." (Pr.4:7) So words of wisdom from the Lord are far superior to any of the other gifts.—And also words of knowledge.
5. The word of wisdom doesn't always come like a sudden message—it might come as a burst of inspiration, or you might see a vision, or God could just put it in your head—suddenly you've got the answer, just like that! The word of knowledge—it can be from knowledge you already have, or it can be from a sudden supernatural gift of knowledge.—Like if you've lost something & you're praying, "Now where did I lose it, Lord?"—And all of a sudden you see it, right where it is‚ you see a picture of it!
6. THE LORD HONOURS YOUR COMING INTO HIS PRESENCE WITH PRAISE & THANKSGIVING. The Apostle writes the same‚ he says first of all give thanks & then pray. (Ph.4:6; Heb.13:15) You can put it this way: Praise, Precepts, Prayer. And what could we have for answers?—Products or produce, the response it produces from the Lord, & that includes the Word of the Lord that you get after you pray.
7. So that's Praise, the Precepts, the Prayer‚ the Products—& what should come next at the end?—Praise again! And then I think after that I'd put Production.—Get out & put it into action! There must be a seventh—of course, the Results you get out there in the field! TYL!—I think you'll find it a very helpful thing in your general devotional procedure.
8. And this doesn't have to take hours! You can sing one song, read one Psalm, have one little prayer & then wait a few minutes to hear the Lord's answer—if you get an answer.—You may not get it right then.—Sometimes He says, "No!", sometimes He says, "Yes!"‚ & sometimes He says, "Wait!—I'll show you later!"
9. But the Lord nearly always spoke to us with something!—A Scripture or a good thought or something! We usually got answers right away! Then we'd have another praise session & get out & produce! And the final product would be the end results! TYL!
(More on Daily Devotions—Compiled 2/83.)
10. GOD SAYS HE'LL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE HIM & WE MUST PUT GOD FIRST! So it behooves us to give God a little time, & we should give Him some time every day! I believe the church of God needs a session together of assembly & fellowship & inspiration & studying God's Word & praising the Lord & hearing from the Lord every single day!—Not just once a week on Sunday like the average church!
11. So by all means please get together for a little fellowship & inspiration & prayer & a little feeding on the Word together—united devotions! You should have Family fellowship in your house at least once a day, whether it be at breakfast or lunch or dinner.—Often mealtime is the easiest. Just keep everyone together & before you let them go, read a MO Letter or Bible or Word of some kind.—If there's a new MO Letter out, you can read that. You don't have to read much—one Chapter, one Letter, or a part of one, have a little prayer—but something!
12. I know we can all do this on our own & we all do, I hope, but there's nothing like assembling yourselves together. As Paul said, "Neglect not the assembling of yourselves together". We need to get our hearts together & our minds together & our spirits together & our bodies together—we need to get together!
13. So get it together with daily devotions!—Amen?—Read the Bible, MO Letters & pray & discuss & so on. Discuss problems & pray for your needs every day! That's more than most Christians get who go to church.—Very few have daily Bible devotions & united family worship, but we have it every day, TTL! It's a good time for you to fellowship with the Lord & each other & discuss needs, plans, problems & have prayer! PTL?—Happy Devotions!
14. Devotions & Fellowship Scriptures:
"Truly our fellowship is with the Father, & with His Son‚ Jesus Christ.—If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, & the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1Jn.1:3,7)
"Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called. endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Eph.4:1,3)
"And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine & fellowship‚ & in breaking of bread, & in prayers." (Acts 2:42)
"For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them." (Mt.18:20)
"Exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." (Heb.3:13)
"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love & to good works. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: & so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." (Heb.10:24,25)
"Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect‚ be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; & the God of love & peace shall be with you." (2Co.13:11)—PTL!