Prayer immediately turns us into something greater than ourselves.
- Cardinal Timothy Dolan
I spent a good deal of time last week thinking about a title for this blog. The word devotional in most people’s vocabulary (and in the dictionary) is an adjective; we read devotional books, attend devotional services and put aside some morning devotional time. But in the Christian world, particularly in the evangelical Christian world, devotional is also a noun. A devotional can be “a short worship service” (according to Merriam Webster), but most often it’s a short reading or a book of short readings intended to help the reader direct her or his mind and heart to God as part of a time of prayer and reflection.
Here at Guideposts, when we talk about a devotional, we usually mean a short, first-person story, with a Bible verse and a prayer, designed to be read in about five minutes. Three hundred and sixty-five of these short pieces (366 in leap years) go to make up our annual devotional book, Daily Guideposts, now about to celebrate its thirty-fifth anniversary. For the past fifteen years, I’ve been blessed to be the editor of Daily Guideposts, and the title of this blog reflects how that fact has changed me. Working on Daily Guideposts has affected how I look at life, how I relate to the people around me and, most importantly, how I experience God in prayer and in the things that happen around me every day.
So I’ve titled this blog “The Devotional Life.” In the coming weeks, I’d like to share what I’ve come to believe about the intersection of devotion and life, some of the ways living devotionally can tune the eye and the ear for the signs of the God in Whom “we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17: 28, KJV) that are all about us. And I’d love to hear from you; I’d love to know how you live devotionally: what resources you use in your devotions, when and where do you have your quiet time, how your devotional life has developed over the years.
Next time, I’ll give you my “top ten” list of devotional reading.
Andrew Attaway is a Senior Editor at GuidepostsBooks, where he has edited and written for the annual devotional Daily Guideposts since 1995. His more than thirty years in publishing have included stints at Simon and Schuster, Oxford University Press, G.P. Putnam, and Macmillan. A native New Yorker, Andrew attended Columbia University and the City University of New York. He lives in northern Manhattan with his wife Julia, also a Daily Guideposts contributor, and their five children.