Daily Private Worship

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danekristjan

Puritan Board Freshman
Greetings brethren,

I was wondering what everyone's daily private worship (aka daily devotions) looks like. What time do you worship? How many times a day? Do you use prayer books? Do you read the scriptures only, or do you incorporate a daily devotional or theological work? Do you incorporate singing? If you are a minister does this look different than a layman?

I hope this thread is edifying for us all and possibly gives us all some ideas.

The ideal to which I myself aim in private worship (though this changes and is adapted from time to time, or based on the business of the day/week may look different) is as follows:

I follow a fairly strict liturgy I worked out for myself. In the morning I begin with reciting the Lord's Prayer in English, as well as whatever other languages I may be up to. Then I go through the morning prayer of the 1662 BCP. After this I pray through a section of Matthew Henry's "A Method for Prayer", and a prayer from "The Valley of Vision" (VOV). Then I move to free-form prayer. I then begin my reading from my English Bible. Lately, I have been trying to read no less then 15 chapters, but I always aim for more (this sounds super pious, but it is actually pretty quick since I read along while listening to an audio Bible at 2x speed). Then I pray through another section of Henry or VOV, read the daily psalms from the BCP and pray again. I then sing a psalm from the 1650 Psalter. After this I read a few chapters from my Greek testament. I pray again and then finish with a reading from a confession or some Puritan work I am up to.
I will add that I am a pastor, so I have more time and a greater duty to give much time to my own private worship.

What systems do you follow? Do you journal, study in-depth smaller chunks of Scripture? Read from sounds theological works?

Looking forward to hearing
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
Perhaps it is natural that a mom's devotionals are interwoven with the family's? I've been depending on the family readings to get through larger passages of the Bible. On my own, in the mornings, I've been taking just a few verses that I deeply meditate upon over the course of several days, often writing them in a journal entry that then flows into a written prayer. Morning is also my primary Bible study time.

In the evening I've been reading very short selections from the patristics that then often guide the subject of my prayers. I greatly look forward to it all day. Morning or evening I'm likely to use a reading, the Lord's prayer, 10 commandments, or a reading from the previous week's public worship to make the framework for prayer.

If I get a chance to read much during the day I have several time slots that dictate what I pick up. Right after lunch I'll go for something more meditative. Sinclair Ferguson's book on the Upper Room discourses filled that spot for the last few weeks.

I've been very much taken by the notion of a family living as a Christian community with prayer and readings and meditation interwoven throughout the day. I'm hoping patterns established over the summer will prove robust during our home school year that starts after labor day. (Along with the anticipated birth of two grandbabies!)
 

toledomudhen

Puritan Board Freshman
I have thoughts that I will share, but I don't have opportunity to do so now. Here's hoping I remember to come back and post...
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
This year, I'm reading through the Scriptures at the rate of 6 chapters per day: 3 chapters from each Testament. So, today (8/24/21), for example, I read Isaiah 28-30 and 1 Timothy 4-6 (by this point in the year, I'm on my third trip through the New Testament). I use the ESV, the finest modern translation available.

After the Bible, I have several devotional books I'm going through (including books that aren't specifically set up in a devotional style), by Vance Havner, James Montgomery Boice, Abraham Kuyper, R. C. Sproul, James Smith (1802-1862, an English Baptist who was Spurgeon's immediate predecessor at New Park Street Church), and Dane Ortlund.

Prayer accompanies all of this, of course.
 

pgwolv

Puritan Board Freshman
At the moment, I read in the evening, as my mind currently tends to be sharper at the end than at the beginning of the day.

I am reading systematically through the Bible, something that I started in 2014. I am currently busy with the Acts of the Apostles, just finished with Philip testifying to and baptising the Ethiopian. I first read in my native tongue, following the heading divisions in my 2020 Afrikaans Bible (a rather literal translation in the same vain as the ESV). Thereafter I read the same portion in my current study Bible (Cultural Backgrounds NIV), and follow the cross-references to similar texts. Finally, I read Matthew Henry's commentary on the same section.

After that, I am currently reading either one author's section in the Free Grace Broadcaster series from Chapel Library (I'm at the topic of "Obedience," yesterday I read a section by AW Pink, tomorrow it will be by D. Martin Lloyd-Jones), or a piece by Spurgeon on prayer (from an omnibus of Spurgeon on Prayer).

My main prayer time is in the morning. I most often structure it around the Lord's Prayer, as learnt from Thomas Watson, and I try to focus on one or two persons for whom I pray.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
For the past 7 years I begin my morning, after taking care of the cat's needs, with the morning reading in the M'Cheyne 1 year reading plan. I follow it with D.A. Carson's exposition (For The Love of God) for that days reading. I pray. It is a free-form prayer, and somewhat repetitious, since I have individuals, and groups I pray for daily, but it does change according to changing circumstances. In the evening I do the nightly reading of the M'Cheyne reading plan, followed by D.A. Carson's accompanying volume. There are times throughout the day/night when I may pray depending on the Spirit moving me. I always pray before turning in for the night. I suppose it can be called devotional, but I also spend time reading various sermons, commentaries, and what have you. Currently Thomas Goodwin's works volume 4.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
For my daily Bible reading, I use a version of Professor Horner's Bible Reading Plan: https://sohmer.net/media/professor_grant_horners_bible_reading_system.pdf

I've read through the Bible with it many times. Instead of using bookmarks, I track my reading on a spreadsheet. I have ten different chapters in view, which I aim to read 5-10 chapters a day from different books of the Bible. I've modified the sections of the Bible a little bit, but I think the PDF I linked there lays it out well. I really like that I can get a wide sense of the Bible with it. Some days I feel like I want to read a bit more in a book so I might switch it up and there's no harm in that. The biggest disadvantage is that this will not take you through the Bible in one year (usually takes me 13-14 months), whereas I know most aim to read the Bible through once per year.

In addition, I have a prayer list where I have certain daily concerns to keep in mind (including my church officers, local churches in my presbytery, and leaders in local government) and whatever temporary ones there are. I have tried doing written prayers or songs in my private time of worship, but now I reserve the singing for my wife and I together.
 

rookie

Puritan Board Junior
Currently on a 6 month bible reading plan. A few chapters in the old, a couple of Psalms and then a couple in the new. And I am working on Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund.

I also listen to Brian Borgman's sermons on a pod app daily when I'm driving to and from work.
 

B.L.

Puritan Board Sophomore
I was wondering what everyone's daily private worship (aka daily devotions) looks like. What time do you worship? How many times a day? Do you use prayer books? Do you read the scriptures only, or do you incorporate a daily devotional or theological work? Do you incorporate singing? If you are a minister does this look different than a layman?
I follow a fairly strict liturgy I worked out for myself. In the morning I begin with reciting the Lord's Prayer in English, as well as whatever other languages I may be up to. Then I go through the morning prayer of the 1662 BCP. After this I pray through a section of Matthew Henry's "A Method for Prayer", and a prayer from "The Valley of Vision" (VOV). Then I move to free-form prayer. I then begin my reading from my English Bible.
What systems do you follow? Do you journal, study in-depth smaller chunks of Scripture? Read from sounds theological works?

I recently changed things up in my household. We transitioned away from everyone having their own individual reading plan (M'Cheyne, 5x5x5, etc) to using the ACNA BCP 2019 lectionary so that everyone in the family is reading, at a minimum, the same Psalms, OT, and NT readings each day. At night we do the evening readings together as a family during our time of family worship and say the Apostle's Creed and Lord's Prayer together. We also started select readings of the collects together as common prayer and then close our time lifting up whatever particular praise or prayer request we have to God going around the living room from youngest to oldest. In the mornings and at the close of the day I individually have been using the BCP 2019 as well.

I do my fair share of theological reading, but I do not typically consider this as part of my daily private worship.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
1. Morning Bible reading and prayer that lasts as long as I want it to last. I typically make my way through a book of the Bible, but I feel free to break off and read a psalm instead or some other passage that may be on my mind. I also feel free to skip my morning time entirely when something interrupts my usual routine.

2. Listening to a sermon or Christian podcast or other audio during my daily walk or bicycle ride. This may not quite fit your category of "private worship," but it's an important part of my overall edification. It happens most days.

3. Brief family devotions with my wife (and with the kids, when they are home from college) at the dinner table. It's usually Bible reading (working through a book of the Bible), discussion, singing, and prayer. We always do it whenever we eat dinner together at home, but skip it on the rare occasions when we don't.

As you can see, I don't have the level of discipline or every-day commitment that many people would tout as important. But these are habits I usually look forward to and enjoy, and my spiritual life is as strong today as it's ever been. I think there's much room to experiment and find what works for you.
 

danekristjan

Puritan Board Freshman
1. Morning Bible reading and prayer that lasts as long as I want it to last. I typically make my way through a book of the Bible, but I feel free to break off and read a psalm instead or some other passage that may be on my mind. I also feel free to skip my morning time entirely when something interrupts my usual routine.

2. Listening to a sermon or Christian podcast or other audio during my daily walk or bicycle ride. This may not quite fit your category of "private worship," but it's an important part of my overall edification. It happens most days.

3. Brief family devotions with my wife (and with the kids, when they are home from college) at the dinner table. It's usually Bible reading (working through a book of the Bible), discussion, singing, and prayer. We always do it whenever we eat dinner together at home, but skip it on the rare occasions when we don't.

As you can see, I don't have the level of discipline or every-day commitment that many people would tout as important. But these are habits I usually look forward to and enjoy, and my spiritual life is as strong today as it's ever been. I think there's much room to experiment and find what works for you.
Brother, that sounds wonderful! I think the sermon/podcast during morning exercise certainly can fall within that label. It seems you have made prayer and the word of God a theme throughout the whole of your day, interwoven throughout all that you do, privately and corporately, which is the goal of being faithful in "private worship". God be praised!
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
It seems you have made prayer and the word of God a theme throughout the whole of your day, interwoven throughout all that you do
That sounds more God-focused than my days actually are. But my schedule usually does allow me to turn toward God at several times each day, which I find more helpful than cramming it all into a single block of time.
 
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