What works for you?

Take a deep breath and imagine: You’re feeling excited, comfortable, and profoundly connected—to the spirit of God. You’re in His presence. The scripture in front of you is crystal clear. Then, a revelation comes to mind and thrills your heart with hope for a brighter tomorrow.

When such beautiful and cherished moments in the life of a Christian occur, they are memorable—even euphoric.

Cultivating the devotional disciplines and lifestyle that ultimately lead to such desired epiphanies is what the “Deeper Discipleship” aspect of “Strikepoint” is all about.

To learn how people across the territory successfully initiate and conduct their private moments with God, SAconnects (the magazine) asked them to describe their devotional life in response to the following questions:

• Briefly describe your devotional life and how you daily cultivate spiritual disciplines.
• What Christian book(s) are you currently reading?
• What Christian authors have influenced you most?
• Where do you physically conduct your daily devotions?
• What advice do you have for people who are struggling in these busy times to develop a healthy devotional life?

As many as 50 people responded. Common threads are revealed, such as meeting God early in the morning, sitting in a favorite easy chair, sipping coffee or tea in a familiar “space” or “War Room.” Other responses include “doodling, drawing, and coloring” scripture verses; writing entire passages of scripture; reading the same scripture from various translations; enlisting the support of an accountability partner; listening to the Word on audio recordings; using Bible apps on smartphones; and praying for family members while working out in the gym (giving each machine the name of a child or grandchild).

All examples evidence each responder’s exceptionally personal and intimate relationship with God. As one person put it, “He designed us all differently. There is no ‘cookie cutter’ way to have devotions.” As you ponder these practices, let God touch your heart in a new and exciting way.

What our leaders do

Yourdevotionallife_WBamfordCommissioner William A. Bamford

Territorial Commander

I like my day to begin in quiet time with the Lord. Often, I will use music to prepare my soul. This time helps me to reflect, which has developed my periods of solitude with Him.

Because I travel frequently, where I physically conduct my daily devotions varies.  I prefer being in the recliner at my home office. Many times at Territorial Headquarters before people arrive, I’ll close my office door and look out the window at God’s wonderful creation.

To people who are struggling to develop a healthy devotional life, I say to them, carve some time out of the day—no matter what!

What I’m reading:
The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus, by Brennan Manning
Surprised by Joy, by C.S Lewis
Christian authors who have influenced me the most are Max Lucado, Henri Nouwen, and Samuel Logan Brengle.

Yourdevotionallife_LBamfordCommissioner G. Lorraine Bamford

Territorial President of Women’s Ministries

I prefer to occasionally change my personal devotional style for periods of time. At present, I am “scribing” daily (writing and copying Scripture). I use a lectio divina process with each portion of scripture I write. (Latin for “Divine Reading”—scriptural reading of God’s “Living Word,” meditation, and prayer).I conduct my devotions at the kitchen table or in a chair in our bedroom.

My advice for people who are struggling is, if your time with the Lord is becoming routine, change it up! Develop small disciplines at certain times during the day.

What I’m reading:
Sacred Chaos, by Tricia Rohodes
I am also reading books by Henri Nouwen, Liz Curtis Hicks, and Max Lucado.

Yourdevotionallife_PJohnsonColonel Paula Johnson

Territorial Secretary for Women’s Ministries

I use the S.O.A.P. method for my Bible reading; writing our Scripture, Observation, Application, and a Prayer focused on the verse for the day.Right now, I physically conduct my daily devotions in my den. However, if it’s nice outside, I like to take time on my back patio.

If you are struggling to develop a healthy devotional life, don’t beat yourself up. God wants a seeking heart—not a legalistic one! Take a moment to select a verse and write it out on a notecard. Spend a minute and ask God to apply that verse to your life in a real way. When needed, pull out that card and go over it. This advice is especially helpful for moms who have little children and who need to stay connected.

What I’m reading:
God in My Everything, by Ken Shigematsu
The writings of Ken Gire speak to my soul.

Yourdevotionallife_KJohnsonColonel Kenneth Johnson

Chief Secretary

My devotional life could be described as “Practicing the Presence.”Each day, I strive to maintain an awareness of God’s presence. In my Bible reading and during my prayer walk and ministry duties, I stay centered in the knowledge that God is working in and through me. Whether I’m engaged in boisterous activity or in the discipline of silence, whether I’m feasting or fasting, God helps me make every moment count for Him.

The writings of Dr. James MacDonald speak volumes to me. This is especially true in When Life is Hard. I have also enjoyed Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Max Lucado has been my “go to” author for devotional material.

Being a morning person, I conduct my quiet time with God over a cup of coffee. I have always gravitated to my easy chair and, preferably, face it outside. Looking out at nature helps me center my thoughts on the majesty and magnitude of our Creator.

In a world of competing demands, one has to simply prioritize the eternal matters vs. the temporal ones. Turn off the “blue screen” technological distractions and center on the Creator of the majestic blue sky above you!  Feel no regret or guilt about telling the world, “I am not available right now.” God will honor the “Centered Servant” who gives Him first place.

What I’m reading:
Stay the Course, by Captain Andy Miller
I’m also enjoying Miracles We Have Seen by Harley A. Rotbard, M.D., and I’m getting ready to re-read C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity

Yourdevotionallife_PLaBossiereLt. Colonel Patricia LaBossiere

Territorial Secretary for Spiritual Life Development

I begin each day with prayer and scripture readings based on Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Clairborne. I review whatever scripture portion I am currently committing to memory. Throughout the day, I strive to maintain an awareness of God’s presence and remain open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to pray for specific individuals or situations as they come to mind. On some evenings, I spend time meditating and journaling; I find it helpful to write out my prayers. On other evenings, I use the “Prayer of Examen” (a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day). At bedtime, I read the evening scripture portions from Common Prayer, review my memory portion again, and pray for people on my prayer list.I physically conduct my daily devotions while seated in a chair in my living room. I have a basket that contains my Bible, several books, my prayer journal, and some pens.

What your devotional life looks like will change, based on your family, work, and circumstances. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Find what works for you right now and do that. If you miss a day (or a week) don’t beat yourself up. Don’t give up. Start again and keep on trying. God will meet you where you are and lead you to where He wants you to be.

What I’m reading:
Sunday, Sabbath and the Weekend, edited by Edward O’Flaherty and Rodney L. Peterson with Timothy A. Norton
Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World, by Shelly Miller
C.S. Lewis and Richard Foster are Christian authors who have influenced me the most.

Yourdevotionallife_JLaBossiereLt. Colonel James LaBossiere

Territorial Program Secretary

My devotional life includes early morning Bible reading and prayer. I enjoy the quiet time with the Lord before the busyness of the day begins. I also try to include devotional readings as well as seasonal studies (Lent, Advent, and others). For this purpose, I often use a Bible reading app with daily readings.I conduct my devotions in my living room in a comfortable chair with my first cup of coffee of the day.

My main advice for people who are struggling to develop a healthy devotional life in these busy times would be to find the devotional style and materials that work for you. Experiment with various materials and time of day. After you feel comfortable, the key issue is consistency and a well–balanced diet of spiritual food to feed your soul.

What I’m reading:
War on Two Fronts: The Redemptive Theology of William Booth, by Roger Green
The Christian authors who have influenced me the most are C.S. Lewis, Max Lucado, Dietrick Bonhoeffer, Timothy Keller, and Henri Nouwen.

Yourdevotionallife_AHinsonEnvoy Anita Hinson

Ministry Development Coordinator, Greater Philadelphia

My daily devotional life starts in the morning and includes intentional and sacred “private time” with the Lord. My time consists of music, prayer, Bible study, and meditating on Scripture.I’ve been moved by many authors, some of whom are Matthew Henry, Ken Gire, Jeremiah Burroughs, Oswald Chambers, John Foxe, John Flavel, and Thomas Moore. Salvation Army authors have also been an excellent source of inspiration, such as Roger Green, General Arnold Brown, General John Larsson, Colonel Henry Gariepy, Commissioner William Francis, Major JoAnn Shade, Major Amy Reardon, and Bob Hostetler.

I have an in–home office that is my “sanctuary space” for Bible study and devotions.

To the best of your ability, set aside a specific time and location for your devotions to be uninterrupted and focused on Jesus and in the Holy Spirit. Link arms with an accountability partner with whom you can briefly share highlights from your devotions.

What I’m reading:
The Hidden Smile of God by John Piper
You Give Me New Life by David Hazzard
Intense Moments with the Savior series by Ken Gire
You Set My Spirit Free, works of John of the Cross

We received as many as 50 responses. You can find them all here by clicking on the plus (+) sign.

Do what you enjoy - Major Jessica DeMichael
Is this important to you? - C.B. Crowell
God whispers to my soul - Major Janet Zuniga
There’s an app for that - Cadet Kaitlyn Haddix, CFOT
Praying with the sisters - Cadet Elizabeth M. Carvill
When the Spirit calls, answer - Demetrius Marlowe
The world moves fast - Rebecca Zwicker
Start small and grow - Major Paul S. Knickerbocker
Do it when you don’t want to - Deborah Steadman
I’m young in the faith - Lieutenant Ann Marie Devanney
Wake an hour earlier - Lieutenant Josh Brookman
Don’t rob God - Major William Edmonds
Schedule your time - Scott Hocker
Hold yourself accountable - Lieutenant Kate Esker
Don’t get discouraged - Wendy Hart
Keep your desire strong - Susanna Eggleston
He wants all of you - David Webb
Your temperament matters - Major Carol L. Ditmer
Make devotions a habit - Major Thomas Babbitt
Use your iphone and ipod - Major Kathleen A. Muir
Martha or Mary? - Dianne J. Browning
Stay positive - Tanesha Fain
Same Scripture for a year - Major Asit George
Make devotions your TV - Cindy Walton
It’s a lifelong process - Rosario Reimon-Jenkins
Don’t wait, go for it! - Major James W. Betts
Don’t beat yourself up - Major Susan Dunigan
Be consistent - Barbara Butler
I enjoy Scripture - Lieutenant Larry Fulmer
Remember God’s promise - Lieutenant Christopher Hinzman?
Be a role model - Adam Morgan
As you give counsel, pray - Major Brian Thomas
It’s a relationship tool - Lieutenant Holly Johnson
A spiritual ‘snack’ - Major Mike Morales
Quality over quantity - Patricia Forbes
If I breathe, I must read! - Major John Stewart
Listen for God’s voice - Major Joy Jugenheimer
Pray on birthdays too! - Robin Holloway
Novel ideas - Grace Eisenhart
Captain Cynthia Crowsen
Dig deeper in the Word - Lieutenant Cristina Spencer
Rise a half hour earlier - Major A. Philip Ferreira
Musical ways of prayer - Lieutenant Giovanni Otero
Rooftop devotions - Eliana Satterlee
Night owl - Major Joshua Lyle
Eliminate all distractions - Robert Mitchell


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