First Lutheran Church Plainville, Kansas
Peace Lutheran Church Natoma, Kansas
At any given time, I have a variety of writing projects that I am working on. Some of these have deadlines that have to be met; others have no such deadline and will get done when they get done. Most are related to ministry here in Kansas, one or two go beyond that.
Every now and then, a project moves off the ‘to do’ pile and goes into the ‘done’ pile. Occasionally however, some projects go from the ‘to do’ pile to the ‘trash’ pile, as there just seems to be no good way to bring it together in the way I envision.
One project in particular has been sitting on the ‘to do’ pile far longer than all the others; if ever written, the goal is to send it in for publication, as it would benefit those far and wide, but alas, the words for this article still escape me. I have tried numerous times to craft it, but it just will not fit together.
The goal is to write a ‘how to’ article for daily devotions. The premise would be to walk one through the process of devotions, what to do and when and why; with the ultimate goal being to establish a routine that one could do on a daily basis.
Sounds simple, right? So what’s the problem? Too many variables. Just open up LSB to pages 295-298, and you will see 4 options for devotions, each with a different twist. Or go to Luther’s Small Catechism, and you will see the description for Morning and Evening Prayer with their own patterns. Or go to Portals of Prayer, or any other devotional book, and find still another order laid out.
It is borderline insanity. How do you write a ‘how to’ article on daily devotions when everyone does something completely different, and you can add or subtract about a dozen different things?
So I was discussing this issue with a friend who is also a pastor. I told him the vision and what I wanted to write, and yet there being too many variables to account for.
His response was profound: Just do it.
Not just go ahead and write the article on how to do daily devotions, but just do daily devotions.
Just tell people to do devotions. It doesn’t matter what pattern you use, or what devotional you use, or if you sing a hymn or not, or read the Catechism or not, or have a reading from one of the historic Church fathers or not; just do devotions. Just read God’s Word, just pray, just do something.
Something after all is better than nothing. Just reading a few verses at a time is better than no verses read ever. Just praying the Lord’s Prayer is better than praying nothing at all. Just doing devotions, no matter how brief, is better than not doing devotions.
There are so many resources for devotions that we have complicated the matter beyond all human reasoning; we have taken what should be simple and turned it into deciphering nuclear codes.
The simplest advice that can be given to someone who is not doing devotions, is not to point them to the CPH catalog, but to tell them: just do it. Just pick something up and start using it daily. If you miss a day, don’t worry, just go on to the next one.
Whether you are young or old, just do it. Whether you have done devotions everyday your whole life, or if you have never looked past the cover of Portals of Prayer: just do it. The benefits of doing devotions is immense, but the only way you get the benefit, is to just do it.
God Bless! Pastor Schmidt