Scraps of Worship


If you could use one word to describe your current devotional life, what would it be? Mine would be “scraps”. So often I feel like all I can muster is a distracted scrap of devotion to God. For example, here’s what my Bible reading time often looks like:

Step 1: Open Bible. Pray that God would meet me as I read his word.

Step 2: Read diligently for thirty seconds, taking in at least three full sentences.

Step 3: Begin wondering if I’ll ever receive my tax refund, because it sure would come in handy right now.

Step 4: Feel guilty for being distracted. Try to “come back” into the presence of God (whatever that means).

Step 5: Repeat steps one and two plus additional prayer of repentance for being distracted.

Step 6: Begin thinking about my next killer blog post that will rock the blogosphere.

Step 7: Repeat steps 1, 4, and 5.

You get the point. It’s a constant battle against my sinful nature, which will seize on the slightest distraction. Many times I feel guilty instead of refreshed after doing my devotions. I feel like I didn’t pray enough, or with enough passion, or for enough people. And I certainly didn’t have enough love for God. My feeble scraps of devotion to God are pathetic, with a capital “pathetic”.

But God has been teaching me about devotional scraps lately. My devotion (probably too strong of a word) to God is nothing more than scraps, but God accepts, and even delights in those scraps. And when I get distracted, I don’t have to work my way back into God’s presence. I can come right back to God and experience full acceptance. Why? Because Jesus Christ is holding the door open. Always.
God’s love for me has nothing to do with my devotion and everything to do with Christ’s perfect devotion. Jesus was passionately devoted to God. He didn’t offer any scraps, he offered perfect obedience and love. And then his life ended. Abruptly. Brutally.

Now his righteousness is mine, and he perfects my feeble scraps of devotion and presents them to God. God loves Jesus, which means God loves me, end of story. The door to God is held open by the cross.

So yes, my worship is nothing more than scraps. But to God, they’re delightful scraps, made perfect by his son. How freeing this truth is. Today let’s throw aside any hope we have in our scraps of devotion and place all our hope in Christ. True devotion to God starts at the cross.

Can you relate to my feeling of devotional scraps?

+photo by Payton Chung

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I’m married to Jen, and I have three kids. I know a lot about Star Wars, and I live in a van down by the river. I’ve also written a number of books, which people seem to like.


  1. says

    Wow. This was just what I needed to read this morning. I was about to spend time in the Word, but was feeling hesitant because it always feels like it couldn't possibly bless God with how distracted I get when I'm trying to read.

    What a great reminder. Thanks, Stephen.

  2. renee says

    I awoke at 4a.m.. Hesitated to start a devotion because I just felt like it would be SCRAPS again. As I read my mind wondered, then an attempt to refocus, what is God saying to me from Leviticus(hard anyway) remembering that all scripture is profitable, and God breathed I try. But left feeling my prayer was not enough and I had missed the fellowship with the Lord in the Cool of the Day.
    So after finishing some chores I decided to check out your site, (by the way I really do enjoy, relate to and encouraged by.) So I have to thank God for his timing, his goodness and for Jesus who died that I might have fellowhip with God.

    Thank you, thank you

  3. says

    I absolutely identify with that feeling. I thought I was the most distracted reader on the planet. Thank you for that encouragement and empathy.

  4. Stephen Altrogge says

    It seems like we’re all in the same boat! Distracted, yet seeking to pursue the Lord. Let’s ask God to help us grow in overcoming distraction!

  5. says

    Sounds quite familiar! Even this morning on my way to work I was praying one minute & the next singing a song from ‘BunnyTown’ on playhouse dysney! Weird!
    Thanks for the post!

  6. Stephen Altrogge says

    Bob – I’m glad you found it encouraging!

    Matthew – I think I always need to be reminded of my justification.

    Boaly – Why may I ask, were you singing “Bunny Town”? You obviously are watching way too much kid TV…

  7. says

    Definitely a timely and encouraging word. Much thanks.

    In Boaly’s defense, kid tv seems designed to loop through the heads of well-meaning parents. That comment made me chuckle – I could tell similar tales with other songs…

  8. says

    Thanks Alex for your defence! I totally agree with what you say about kid tv’s design. It uncontrolably attaches itself to the mind!


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