Busy moms want to know how to read the Bible every day, without getting up at 4 am or locking the kids out of the bathroom! Here are 4 tried-and-true ways.
I hunched over the stove, tears dripping down my nose.
Another wail came from upstairs. It was my baby, who hadn’t slept more than 45 minutes at a time since he came home from the hospital, weeks ago.
I was exhausted, but I hoped against all hope that this time he would sleep for a bit, and that I would get to sit down with God for a while.
My eldest was snoozing soundly in his bed, but this baby needed constant movement to sleep, and my power levels were flashing red.
I wailed to God: “Why won’t you make him sleep so I can spend some time with you? Isn’t that a good thing?”
In the midst of my son’s wailing (and mine), I was reminded of a Bible passage I’d read a long time ago:
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:17-18 NIV.
I was reminded that God is worthy of worship even when I’m running on fumes.
That day at the stove I surrendered my need for the perfect quiet time, and began a journey that would help me deepen my connection with God in SO many different ways.
Can a busy mom actually learn how to read the Bible every day??
A few months ago, in my Bible study at church, we talked about how to read the Bible every day. This group is full of moms, most of them with at least one kid under 5, some with older kids. But I’m starting to get the idea that no matter whether your kids are scurrying around your feet or dashing between sporting events, it’s hard to make time to be with God.
Sitting down for 30 minutes to “do devotions” like we were trained in Sunday School just isn’t possible for most of us. Some people seem to be able to get up an hour early to pray and read the Bible, but I can barely drag myself out of bed when the baby is screaming, so that just isn’t going to happen for me!
So we need to find new ways.
Before kids, I used to spend 15-20 minutes sitting at the kitchen table at nap time, journaling, or reading the Bible. But now with three kids, I rarely get even that much time alone, and when I do, there’s usually so many pressing things to do that I just can’t focus on sitting and reading/writing.
I spent a lot of time wallowing in the mama-guilt over this before realizing that I didn’t always have to read it with my eyes and highlighter.
In fact, the smaller the habits, the easier they are to fit into my life. These tiny habits then grow into something deeper and more meaningful than I could have imagined. (To learn more about how LITTLE habits can grow DEEP faith roots, download my Start LITTLE guide!)
Without further to-do, here are 4 ways to read the Bible daily, even when you’re busy, exhausted, or stressed out.
1. Listening to the Bible
It wasn’t until recently that humans became generally literate. They couldn’t read or write, so the Bible was read TO them. This is how the stories, Psalms, Proverbs and many other parts of the Bible were shared for thousands of years. Yes, there were written copies. But most people couldn’t read them. And still today there are places where illiteracy is rampant, so people can only HEAR the Bible.
There is nothing sub-par about listening to the Bible.
In my ideal circumstances, I would study the Bible in-depth, but that isn’t always possible, and isn’t even necessary. I have had just as many profound revelations while folding laundry and mopping floors as I have with a pen and Bible in hand.
One thing I’ve found incredibly helpful is the audio function in the Bible app I use on my phone.
I have the app set up with a daily reading plan, so sometime during nap/quiet time I can turn on the day’s reading and listen to it while doing something mind-numbing (like dishes or sweeping). I’ve found it a very helpful way to keep me on track. It’s amazing what difference it makes to listen to Scriptures rather than reading them. It has brought a whole other dimension to my understanding!
I have also really appreciated Pray As You Go, which combines liturgical-style music with a meditative Bible reading.
2. Memorizing Scripture in LITTLE chunks
Another thing that works for me is memorizing scripture. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but the act of trying to memorize a verse keeps it on my mind more often. I use another app, called Scripture Typer, which has been enormously helpful in keeping my verses on track and updated. It even prompts me to review the ones I memorized a couple years ago….although let’s be honest, most time my review section looks a lot like this:
Obviously I have some catching up to do! But the thing I love about this app is that I can review just a couple verses at a time. It’s much less intimidating to memorize big chunks of the Bible this way! A couple years ago I memorized most of Colossians, and it was amazing how real those verses became to me.
Another way to very simply memorize Scripture is to hang Scripture around your home. I use the posters from the Blessings Challenge and my kids and I have memorized every single one of those Scriptures, simply by praying them on a regular basis.
3. Read in small doses
Bibles are big, and they tend to stay open to the page you left them on (unlike my cookbooks, ahhhh!). We can use that for a purpose!
Try leaving the Bible open on your kitchen counter or in your bathroom. When you’re there, prepping dinner or spooning out oatmeal (or, ahem, doing your bathroom business), read and meditate on a few verses.
Over the past couple of years I’ve also found a lot of spiritual life through reading little chunks of the Bible on a daily basis and connecting about it with friends, through the HopeGrown Faith membership.
One of the simplest ways I have found to read in small doses and memorize them as well is by praying Scriptures over my children. This doesn’t have to be very complicated. In our house we are in the practice of praying Biblical blessings over our kids each night.
They love it.
We have seen some massive spiritual and emotional changes in our kids as a result.
And we’re all getting more of the Word into our souls.
If you’d like to learn how to do this, join my FREE 7-day Blessings Challenge!
4. Read with your kids
I used to get incredibly frustrated when my kids interrupted my “time with God”. I’d snap at them, then realize how hypocritical I had been!
Studying the Bible doesn’t have to be done alone, and when done together, it can be a fabulous way to deepen your family’s faith.
There are two ways to do this: unintentionally, and intentionally. Both are fabulous.
– Unintentional Family Reading
Sometimes one of my boys will wander in while I’m listening to or reading the Bible. Each time, I tell them what I’m doing (briefly), and invite them to join me.
If I’m listening, I’ll ask them to listen quietly with me. If I’m reading or journaling, I’ll read out loud one of the verses that have impacted me. Sometimes it leads to greater discussions, but often not. The important thing is that my kids know this is important to me.
– Intentional Family Reading
You can also study the Bible WITH your kids and be just as impacted as if you had studied alone. Here are some things I’ve tried that have worked well for our family:
- Read through the book of Mark using this study plan.
- Use various kid-friendly techniques to engage them in the Bible.
- Read a little chunk at a time at bedtime. (Side note: your child’s bedtime is a great time for this because they will naturally want to stall and will come up with some phenomenal questions. ?)
- Praying (and talking through) a few strategic verses, like the Armor of God.
- Using some of the free Bible study apps recommended here.
So that’s it – 4 reliable ways to learn how to read the Bible every day, even when you’re tired, busy, or stressed out. I hope you’ve found this helpful! Remember, starting SMALL is the only reliable way of starting any new habit, including a faith habit.
If you’re struggling to start doing ANY of these things, download my free guide: Start LITTLE: 5 quick wins to deepen your family’s faith (and how to actually make them a habit)
Judith Rempel says
My mom had 9 children. She left devotional books on the bathroom counter. Not only did she get a few mins to meditate, but her children also did some reading. ( no other reading materials were in there.) Another friend propped a songbook on the window sill above her sink and sang hymns and spiritual songs while she did the dishes. May God bless you as you seek time with Him.
Oh good idea! I do have some reading material in the bathroom, but I guess that could easily become more intentional!