Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Doug Fields' new book, Refuel: An Uncomplicated Guide to Connecting with God, (Thomas Nelson, 2008). 

You have the best of intentions when it comes to connecting with God, yet somehow, you never seem to do what you hope to do.  Maybe you’ve gotten up extra early in the morning planning to have an extended prayer time, only to get distracted by the day’s to-do list. Perhaps you’ve scheduled regular times to read and study Scripture, only to find that you don’t open your Bible nearly as often as you’d thought you would.

When your spiritual expectations fall short of reality, it’s easy to feel guilty. You know that you need to refill your spiritual tank regularly to have the energy you need to live well. But despite your best intentions, you keep missing your connection with the One who wants to fuel your life – God.

No matter how you’ve struggled with devotions in the past, it is possible to fill your spiritual tank every day. Here’s how:

Get rid of unreasonable expectations. Stop trying to fit plans into your life that don't naturally fit. There's no magic formula for connecting with God; just because a certain devotional program worked for someone else doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you. If a certain plan you’ve tried proved unsustainable in your life, accept that reality and move on.

Stop feeling guilty. You’re not a bad Christian just because you don’t have a traditional time for devotions. Remember that Jesus came to set you free, and He wants you to approach God in freedom rather than through obligation and guilt. God is far less interested in religious demands than He is in the state of your heart and your desire to connect with Him.

Don’t compartmentalize your life. Seek to live out your faith in every part of your life – not just in church, but also at work, at home, with friends, etc. Invite God to speak to you about each aspect of your life. Listen to what He tells you, and cooperate with His work transforming every part of your life. Don’t hold anything back from your relationship with God. Aim to live consistently as a Christian at all times and in all situations. When you fill your spiritual tank every day, the pressures of daily life won’t stall your spiritual engine.

Stop. Create pauses in your day where you stop to refuel your soul. Realize that, even though it may sometimes seem like you don’t have enough time to stop for spiritual refueling, you actually do if you rearrange your priorities. Make your relationship with God your top priority, and fit everything else in your life around that. Go ahead and say “no” to activities that don’t fit in well with what you value most. Don’t wear busyness as a badge of honor. Although our culture may give you the message that being busy equals being important, that’s a lie. From God’s perspective, you’re just as important when you’re not doing anything at all than when you’re extremely busy. So stop justifying busyness, saying yes to everything, occupying your life with trivial things, and filling your life with too many good things and living with no margin. Instead, decide to stop at various times each day during your normal schedule to check in with God. Practice stopping during different activities throughout each day – from taking a break at your office to waiting in the line of cars to pick your kids up from school. After you practice enough, stopping throughout each day will become a habit for you.