Two years ago I experienced burnout. I can now reflect with gratitude on the things that I learned during and following that period—and the wonder of God’s grace as He has led me back to a place of health spiritually, emotionally and physically. 
One day during that time I remarked to someone that I was struggling in my devotional life. This was met with a shocked response—it seemed to be incomprehensible that as the prayer leader of our church, I could be having difficulties with Bible study and prayer!
What Is a Devotional Life?
Our devotional life is the substance of our personal relationship with God as a Christian. It includes communication with Him through conversation and other forms of prayer, as well as Bible reading and study.
A healthy devotional life both feeds and is drawn from an intimate love relationship with God.
Because our devotional life has to do with our personal times with the Bible and in prayer, it is easy to cover it up when it is not going well.
The Elephant in the Room
In church life, our devotional difficulties can become like the proverbial elephant in the room that everyone knows is there, but nobody wants to talk about.
This is frequently true of Christian leaders. When our lives become busy with ministry it can be easy to spend our devotional time preparing for ministry to others instead of relating personally to God.
Sometimes leaders find it difficult to openly encourage others’ devotional lives because they are struggling with their own.
Your Devotional Life—A Quick Diagnostic Tool
If you would like to grow in your devotional life or help others in this area, you might find the following categories helpful. Does one describe your devotional life right now?
**You are a new Christian and would like to learn how to begin a devotional life for the first time
**You may have been a Christian for a while but have not yet developed a devotional life
**You would like to study the Bible for yourself but are unsure where to begin or what study tools are available
**You have not yet developed a regular connection and prayer time with God.
**Your devotional life, or some aspect of it is ‘dead in the water.’ You need rescuing!
**You have stopped having time for God; you may even have lost heart and given up on a devotional life altogether
**There may be external reasons in your world for your lack of a devotional life—stress relationally, vocationally, and educationally. Your world is spinning around and you feel powerless to stop it
**You may also be avoiding a devotional life due to a nagging sense of condemnation or you may feel displeasing to God.
**You have some measure of activity in your devotional life
** You may be irregular or haphazard in your approach to devotions
**You may need help in one or more areas of prayer, worship, Bible reflection and Bible study
**You may be stuck in a rut, and feel your devotional life is not as good as it could be
D. Turbo Boost
**You have a regular devotional life that includes prayer and Bible study
**It may be starting to lose its shine and you could do with encouragement and a fresh boost
**You would like to know how to go to the next level in prayer or Bible study
** You could do with some more ideas and tools to help you. 
There is no right or wrong answer, only real and honest answers. Most of us have struggled with our devotional life seasonally if we have been Christians for any length of time.
Why is Your Devotional Life Important?
Your devotional life is vital because it connects you relationally to God. It is the place of conversation, where you learn to know Jesus not only as Saviour and Lord, but also as a Friend.
To assist you with some motivation, here are some more reasons why your devotional life is important:
1. Jesus demonstrated and talked about a devotional life with God
Prayer was a regular part of Jesus’ life. Jesus also had an intimate knowledge of the Scriptures and understood how these related to His life and His personal journey. Mark 1:35, Matthew 14:23; Luke 21:37, Luke 5:16
2. It is your primary source of spiritual nourishment and growth Psalm 1:1-3
3. It provides protection from sin and strengthens us in times of crisis and temptation Matt 26:40-41, Ps 119:11
4. It helps you with guidance, in your everyday life as well as with important long-term decisions John 10:27
5. A healthy devotional life results in fruitfulness (others around us benefit from our devotional lives) John 15:4, 7
6. It plugs you into God, your Source of power John 7:37-38
It is through your devotional life that you hear God personally speak to you about what he wants to do in and through you.
You also grow in wisdom and Christian maturity as you get to know more about God and his ways through the Bible.
We wouldn’t locate the water mains to our home and wind the supply right down to a trickle—but this is what we do with God’s power in our lives when we do not plug into Him with a healthy devotional life.
Next week I will look at how performance can kill our devotional life and what we can do when it has been reduced to a routine.
Questions to Consider
1. Which position—L-Plates, Resuscitation, Renewal, or Turbo-Boost—do I most relate to?
2. What are some factors that have contributed to me being at this place?
3. Is there someone caring who I can talk to and pray with about this—and with whom I can be mutually accountable to grow in this vital area?
If you are a leader, consider providing a safe place for others to discuss where they are in relation to their devotional lives.
Do you have any ideas or experiences to share on this topic? I would love to hear from you. Leave a note in the comments box below. If the comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.
 I have shared some of my journey relating to burnout in the blog. The following post reviews some of the reasons behind it:
 Journaling can be a helpful tool to assist in renewing your devotional life. I share about two different types of journaling here:
© Helen Calder 2011 Enliven Blog – Enliven Ministries
In the David McCracken Ministries family