Is it Possible to Strengthen Spiritual Disciplines Online?

Anshe De Vera-Mier

March 01, 2021

A lot of students I’ve talked to admitted that despite being at home most of the time, it’s still a struggle to have quality “quiet time” or personal devotion time—that is, praying and reading the Bible—precisely because they can’t seem to find a place that’s quiet enough at home. And I totally get it! 

While at home, we have to face online classes and modules for most of the day, meet groupmates online for projects and reports, and also serve and spend time with family. At the end of the day, you just want to sleep. (Pero pag may time pa, KDrama pa muna syempre! Haha.) 

Yet, when we have experienced God and already decided to follow Jesus Christ, we have that desire to connect with Him and fight for our time with Him. God has designed us for relationships and to want to spend time with Him, because only when we do that can a deep inner work happen which will make us more like Christ. It also explains our emptiness and restlessness when we don’t get to connect with Him. And because we want to connect with Him, parang BDO lang tayo—we find ways. So, is it possible to connect with God through online platforms? Isang malaking YES! God does not limit the ways we can connect with Him. 

First, you may want to read some tips on finding a quiet place, free from distractions at home. Second, you may need to quiet your gadget to avoid distractions from apps. You can try turning off all notifications and putting your phone on silent mode. Third, familiarize yourself with your learning style, so that you know what options you can try.

Here are some of the apps and online platforms you can explore to trigger that time of connecting with God. 

If you are a visual learner, you can try these:

1. BibleProject. The BibleProject is a nonprofit animation studio that produces short-form, fully animated videos to help people study God’s word. A video can be as short as six minutes or as long as twelve minutes. You can choose to dive into book studies or biblical themes.

2. Worship Videos. Worshiping God together with our local congregation (or during youth service) refreshes our souls. But we can also do it in our own personal devotion time. Allow your heart to be refreshed as you bring God a sacrifice of praise. Some of our favorite channels for devotional worship are Victory Worship, Every Nation Music, Bethel Music, and Maverick City Music.

3. YouVersion. If you haven’t downloaded the YouVersion app on your device, now is a good time to do it! Every day, you can view their story, which is very similar to Facebook or Instagram stories. You can read the verse of the day, watch a quick devotional video, check out their application activity, read their devotional content, follow their prayer guide, and download their verse images. It’s very interactive and quick, so you can do it any time of the day.

If you are an auditory learner, you can try these: 

1. Podcasts. Here is a list of podcasts that can help you start your day with devotional content and prayer time.

Today on Campus has conversations about what students experience on and off campus that can trigger you to meditate on truths that are discussed.

Victory Devotional Podcast  is a podcast series that helps you to start your weekdays with encouragement, hope, and faith.

Every Nation Podcast has podcasts of Every Nation leaders from around the world where they share messages to encourage you as you lead wherever you are.

Through the Word is a Bible app that helps provide simple, yet powerful tools to help users on their journey to understand the entire Bible, one chapter at a time. You can listen to a short devotional content per chapter of the Bible that leads you to listen to the whole chapter and meditate on it.

2. Worship Song Playlists. We can all worship God in our own personal devotion through listening to worship songs any time of the day. Spotify and Apple Music have multitudes of playlists, but you can always make your own playlist from your favorite worship albums.

If you are verbal-linguistic learner, you can try these: 

1. Bible Apps. Bible apps provide reading plans that you can do on your own or with friends. You can choose from different Bible study plans that can go on for as short as three days or for as long as three years. Two of our favorite apps are YouVersion and Through the Word. YouVersion even has an app for kids!

2. Journaling Apps. If you switched from writing on a physical notebook to online journals, then you can download journaling apps that can help you write your insights and even store pictures to encourage and remind you of God’s faithfulness anytime and anywhere. For Apple users, we recommend Day One journal. For Android users, we encourage you to try Journey.

3. Articles. Reading articles can start you off in your devotional time. Our Every Nation Campus Philippines website has articles that are written according to our context, but you can also read content from other platforms:

The Gospel Coalition provides resources that are “trusted and timely, winsome and wise, and centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Desiring God aims to “help people everywhere embrace a profound truth of God’s Word that changes everything you perceive about life and eternity.” 

Thir.st is a digital meeting place for all who are “searching for truth and tangible handles on faith and life through amplifying unique stories that can encourage, equip, edify, or comfort someone.”

You can start with these online resources, but you are definitely not limited to these. If you are more comfortable with detaching yourself to read a hard copy of the Bible and write in a journal by hand, go ahead and keep doing that! 

Remember, some of these resources are simply triggers to a deeper study of the word and a time of prayer and reflection. We need to be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11, who “listened eagerly to Paul’s message” and “searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.” 

It is also good to note that for some people, it works to do devotions with others. This is very similar to studying together online. Some students find it effective to go on Zoom, Google Meet, or Discord with others at a specific time in order to review different subjects or modules together without disturbing each other. The presence of others provides accountability so that you are encouraged to follow through with your commitment. This can be done for our personal devotions as well. There is also an added benefit of sharing revelations and praying for one another before the set time ends. At the end of the day, even if we feel like we’ve become stagnant or even backslidden, God’s mercies are new every morning. He is committed for us to be transformed to the image of Christ even if you’re just starting your devotions anew today. Just keep showing up and let God surprise you!

 

Photo by: Hannah Tan

 

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The Author

Anshe De Vera-Mier

Anshe is a full-time campus missionary in Every Nation Campus Fort. She has received the call to full-time ministry when she was in college. She’s been helping young women in their walk with God, especially in leadership, and loving it ever since. She doesn’t drink coffee but a lover of tea and anything sweet.

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