Paul the apostle said in Colosians 4:2-4, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. ï»¿And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. ï»¿Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.”
Paul was not only speaking to the entire Colossian church, he directed his exhortation to each indivdiual Colossian believer. Spending personal time with Jesus in daily devotions is absolutely essential. I believe it’s the most important discipline of the Christian life.
I discovered in my survey of 700 cell leaders in eight different countries that the cell leaderâ€™s devotional life consistently appeared among the top three most important variables. The correlation between cell multiplication and the leader spending time with God is clear. The cell leaders surveyed were asked: â€œHow much time do you spend in daily devotions? (e.g., prayer, Bible reading, etc.).â€ They chose one of five options, ranging from 0 to 15 minutes daily to over 90 minutes. The following table summarizes the devotional patterns of those cell leaders who filled out a questionnaire:
- 0 to 15 minutes– 11.7%
- 15 to 30 minutes– 33.2%
- 30 to 60 minutes– 33.8%
- 60 to 90 minutes– 7.6%
- 90+ minutes– 13.7%
In the same questionnaire, cell leaders were asked whether their group had multiplied and, if so, how many times. Those who spent 90 minutes or more in daily devotions multiplied their groups twice as much as those who spent less than half an hour.
The correlation is a logical one. During quiet times alone with the living God, the cell leader hears Godâ€™s voice and receives His guidance. In those still moments, the leader understands how to deal with the constant talker, how to wait for a reply to a question, or how to minister to a hurting member of the group. Cell leaders moving under Godâ€™s guidance have an untouchable sense of direction and leadership. Group members respond to a leader who hears from God and knows the way. God brings success. This statistical study is simply further proof of that.
Daily devotional time is the single most important discipline in the Christian life. During that daily time, Jesus transforms us, feeds us, and gives us new revelation. On the other hand, not spending sufficient time with God can bring the agony of defeat. How often have we raced out of the house, hoping to accomplish a little bit more, only to return bruised, depressed, and hurt? When we start the day without time with our Lord, we lack power and joy to face the demands of life.
For more information on this important topic, check out my my book, An Appointment with the King