How high a place does the activity of devotions hold in a young person’s life? Is it right at the top of one’s to-do list for the day? For some people, the activity of praying and doing devotions is an easy and natural part of the day, but for many people, finding time for daily devotions can be a struggle. However, that is not the problem for everyone; sometimes one is kept from praying because one feels as if he cannot pray. Other times, one struggles with finding the right reasons for praying. Even though one can have many reasons for not praying and doing devotions, the need for doing them is still very great. A Christian young person has a need for personal prayer and devotions, but with this need comes the necessity of knowing why one does them.
How often does a young person do personal devotions? Some would say every day, but many would say not very often or barely ever. Why does a young person not do private devotions regularly? There are many reasons that a young person can give. One such reason is that everyone does devotions several times a day in school. This may be true, but this is not a valid reason because devotions and prayer by oneself are still being neglected. Other times a young person just does not want to do devotions at the time, or does not feel any sort of desire whatsoever to do them. There are no excuses for this lack of desire to do private devotions, but with some people it is the case.
The most common reason for the neglect of daily devotions is the busyness of life. One simply does not have the time or cannot make time for devotions. This can be because of work, school, or other obligations that fill a day’s schedule. Oftentimes a young person is just too tired at the end of the night to do devotions, and wakes up too late to do them at the start of the day. Instead of making time out of one’s busy life to pray and do devotions, the devotions are just neglected, and only done when time is available.
Another excuse for not doing personal devotions could be that one does not feel the need to do them. In most cases, this is because the young person is at a high or easy point in his life and is happy and content with how things are going. Many young people view prayer as necessary only when they are at a low point in their lives and need comfort. This is a misguided and false assumption, but it can very well be a reason.
For some young people, the reason for not praying is because they feel like they cannot pray. The main cause of this is the feeling of guilt that plagues many of us. This guilt can be caused by all kinds of sins; some sins affect young people in such a way that instead of bringing them to their knees in repentance, they run away from God and prayer. They cannot face God and the weight of their sins because of their fear, so they just do not pray privately.
The other cause of this feeling is that some simply do not know how to pray. There are young people who have not prayed enough or stopped praying for various reasons, thereby losing their ability to pray well and strongly when they actually want to pray. There are others who just do not know the proper way to pray, who have never had personal prayer as a daily ritual, and have never learned to pray for the right reasons. More often than not, these young people do not realize that practice makes perfect, and instead give up on praying.
However reasonable or logical they may sound at the time, all of these reasons and excuses for not doing personal devotions are selfish in some way, because a young person is putting himself before God and his calling to pray. That is why none of these excuses should validate why one does not do the necessary devotions.
Why should a young person do personal devotions? There are many reasons why it is so necessary to do them. One reason is simply that young people need to get in the habit of doing them regularly. If a young person falls out of that habit, it is very hard to start again. Also, if someone does not pray often enough, praying becomes hard; one might run out of things to say or not know what to say. That is why praying on a regular schedule is very important.
Prayer gives a person the ability to quietly talk one-on-one with God, and this should be another reason to do devotions. This ability is a great gift to a child of God. When one has a rough day, or one needs comfort, or one needs a friend, or one just needs to talk to someone, this is the perfect opportunity to pray. Being able to set aside the troubles of the day to come to God in prayer is a great blessing. A Christian is also called by God to pray. Fulfilling this calling to pray to God quietly and privately should be an easy task, even though very often it can be difficult.
Another reason that personal devotions and prayer are so necessary is that through them, one praises God for all he has done. God calls us to pray, not only to ask for help, guidance, or needs, but to praise him for his works. How often does a young person neglect to praise and thank God for his gifts? Many times one is praying just for oneself; often one just skims over the part of praising God and goes right to the part of asking for God’s help. This can be very selfish, because prayer should be focused not only on oneself, but on God. When one prays with the focus on God and his glory, prayer changes and is not self-centered.
Personal devotions also help a young person grow in one’s knowledge of God and His works. On Sunday, one hears sermons where the word of God is taught. But that is not enough. A young person can also learn from doing devotions and reading the word privately. A young person needs both of these in order to learn properly and to grow in his own spiritual life and knowledge. One can learn so much about God, his creation, and the history of the church, by taking the time to go through the Bible privately and slowly.
The comfort that comes from prayer and personal devotions is the main reason why a young person should do so. Praying to God gives a person the much-needed strength to go throughout one’s life. There is something so comforting about being able to go to God about anything and everything, and having him constantly listening. Many people can comfort one who is having a bad day, but no one can offer the comfort and understanding that God does. No matter how petty or minor a problem is, God is always there, listening to and offering comfort to his child. This truth takes some time and practice to learn, because some people find praying hard because they doubt that God is really listening. But even when it seems as if he is not, He is always there and always listens to his people’s prayers.
Doing devotions and praying by oneself is so important to a Christian young person’s life. For many young people, this activity is pushed to the side and does not take priority in the to-do list for a day. Many forget how important and valuable personal devotions and prayer are, and they do not realize the necessity of personal time with God. However, this should not be the case. The blessings of private prayer and devotions not only bring a child of God comfort and knowledge, but also help one praise God for his works. Private prayer and devotions are very necessary in a young person’s life. One must keep in mind why prayer is needed and pray often.