Last week we talked about keeping a divine appointment with God on a daily basis. Again, I know this isn’t easy to do, especially if you have small kids, but I promise you it will be the most important and beneficial decision you will ever make in your life.
Do you want a transformed life? A life of victory? Then this is where it starts. So, what does a quiet time look like? There’s many ways people choose to carve out a time to spend with God so this isn’t a right or wrong question. Suzanna Wesley threw her apron over her head, signaling to her children that she was praying and spending time with God. I’ve heard many women say they use their time in the shower to pray and often find they “hear” God better there. I’ve experienced that myself but it’s not always convenient. (grin) Some find they have more time in the evening.
As I’ve shared before it took me a year of my mentor’s sweet nudgings to finally heed her words and practice this discipline. And just let me be clear that this isn’t something that we need to feel guilty about if we miss a day here and there. God isn’t keeping count. Over time you will find this time to be something you look forward to as you sit at the feet of Jesus and know Him as the Lord of your life.
So, I’d like to share some of what helped me create and keep a quiet time:
- Time. Start out small, say 15 minutes. Get up a little earlier, before the kids, or wait until they go off to school. Take part of your lunch break or the time the little ones are down for a nap. Just make it the same time every day. You may have trouble sitting still at first, especially if you’re used to always being on the go, but stick with it.
When I first started doing all this, I really struggled with my mind wandering. What worked for me was picturing myself sitting with Jesus with this bubble-like dome covering us. This was my way of telling my mind to push the concerns of the day aside because they weren’t allowed to invade my space with Jesus. Over time you will be surprised how easy it becomes and how you wind up extending your time without even realizing it.
- Place. Pick a comfy spot in your home that’s conducive to sitting quietly or is private. I have a comfy chair by a window. I’ve always needed to see outside or even sit outside during my quiet time. God’s creation helps me relax and focus. And as with the time of day, make this the same spot you go to as much as possible. Our brains make associations so by creating this habit of the same time and place everyday, you will train your brain to focus and relax. You’ll notice it will get easier over time too.
- Materials. I love using daily devotionals. Over the years I’ve used devotional magazines like The Daily Bread (RBC Ministried), Our Journey (Walk in the Word by James MacDonald), and books such as Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest and Experiencing God Day By Day (Blackaby). I use these in conjunction with a daily plan to read my Bible in year. Most devotional magazines have a daily plan to read your Bible in a year. There are also Bibles designed to do this as well.
With the advances in technology, I’ve found great benefit in using my iPad. There are many great Bible apps in several translations available (I use Olive Tree), which include study notes and reading plans. They also give you the ability to highlight passages and takes notes as well. And now that so many books are available in digital format, I have many of my favorite devotional and prayer books on my iPad as well. This makes keeping my quiet time when I travel much easier since I don’t have to bring so many books. It’s all in one portable place.
- Prayer. My mentor helped me a great deal in this area too. One of the things she said and I’ll never forget is to “clear the air.” Each morning as I sit down with God, I pray for my sins to be forgiven. I don’t want anything clogging the pipeline of communication with God. 1John 1:9 is the Scripture I refer to.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Then I ask the Holy Spirit to open my eyes and heart to hear what He wants me to understand through His Word and prayer. This is how I start my quiet time, then from there I do my reading and journal what God has shown me that day (journaling doesn’t happen every day), then I pray for those needing prayer and intercession. Even writing out your prayers can be invaluable. The benefit of journaling is being able to go back and remember what God showed you.
- Expectations. Do expect interruptions and challenges when you first start. The enemy will most likely try to discourage you from this because if he does, he knows you’ll miss out on some amazing times that will grow you closer to God. But also expect to be hugely blessed by this time and see a change in yourself, how you handle your days, your life, your family and your marriage. This is valuable time God will use to equip you for whatever’s coming your way.
Make your quiet time uniquely yours. Don’t be afraid to explore and change things up from time to time. Sometimes I play worship music. Sometimes I’ll sit outside. If you find yourself doing it more out of duty, ask God to help you change that and do something a little different.
The one thing I know that changed the most for me is feeling like my faith was a rollercoaster ride that went from strong to weak to strong to weak on the tides of my life. Over time, my faith was strengthened in so many ways to where I could ride those waves but still feel centered in my faith and knowledge of who God is and trusting Him to be in control of my life.
Once you start, I promise you won’t want to stop. And you will miss it dearly on days (hopefully rare) that you miss meeting with your Creator. If you want God to transform your life, this is where it starts—by spending time regularly with Him.
Praying and believing,