10 Tips for a Great Quiet Time {2016 Update!}

What if having a great quiet time isn't as complicated as you think??

What if having a great quiet time isn't as complicated as you think??

In 2012 I wrote a post with tips for a great quiet time … since then, it’s been shared, pinned, tweeted, and viewed thousands of times. It’s a great post and I still believe every word of it. But, Ithought it might be time for a little bit of updating and adding some new ideas and resources for those of us who find having this daily time in the Word overwhelming or intimidating … and maybe even a word of encouragement for those who might wonder if it even matters at all. {Here are some other thoughts I have on that topic.}

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But before we get into the “tips,” I want to share a few other thoughts.

First, there is no “right”  or “perfect” way to have a quiet time. God has made each of us individually and connects with us in personal and unique ways.  If you’ve never read Gary Thomas’s book, Sacred Pathways, I highly recommend it. In it, Thomas outlines the many ways God reveals Himself to us and draws us into connection with Him. [aff link: Sacred Pathways]

Second, different seasons of life will bring new challenges to your quiet time routines. As your life goes through the normal ups and downs, so too will your quiet time. Some seasons are really busy and you may have a more difficult time carving out moments for major study — it’s okay! There are plenty of resources available for the busy seasons. I shared two of my favorites here. Katie Orr has also written a fabulous series of Bible studies designed specifically for those of us who want to dig deep but don’t have hours to spend.  The Focused 15 studies are great. [aff links: Everyday Hope, Everyday Faith, Everyday Love]

Third, the goal is knowing God! Don’t ever lose sight of that truth. I love what Paul wrote in Philippians 3:7-8,

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ. {NLT, emphasis added}

It’s so easy for us to get caught up in accomplishments and checking off the Bible studies we’ve done. But, y’all, the point of time with Him is to KNOW Him, to grow in Him, and to abide in Him. {Read John 15:1-17 for more about abiding. It’s good stuff!}

There is no perfect quiet time! The goal isn't to know more stuff, it's to know Him more. Click To Tweet

With those truths firmly in place, here are my 10 tips for having a great quiet time…

Make every effort to have your quiet time before you start all the activity of your day. I don’t say this because I believe 5 a.m. is the super spiritual hour … I say it because I’ve learned if I don’t make myself stop and spend time with the Lord first thing, there’s a really good chance it isn’t going to happen at all.

When your mornings are just not conducive to this pattern, give yourself a set time to do it later.  Maybe nap time works better for you or even at night before you go to bed.  Here’s the thing: SET A TIME! Tell your husband or kids what you are going to do and let them know you need some space and quiet to be with the Lord. Be intentional about developing a specific time in your day for you and the Lord.

Have a plan. Know what you want this time to be, how you want to focus it. I usually start with journaling the thoughts and concerns I have weighing on me and even the activities of the day ahead. That helps me pray through those and offer them the Lord and it also clears my head of all the “stuff” so I can really focus on what God is saying to me as I read the Word.  I’m using the She Reads Truth plans for my morning devotions and have been for several years. I follow that up with some prayer journaling and using the Prayers for Girls calendar to pray specifically for my daughter. Some days it all takes me 30 minutes and some days when I have more time (or more worries!) I can spend an hour or more.  {I also love using my journaling Bible when I have time. Dayspring has partnered with Illustrated Faith to create some amazing resources for Bible journaling.} [aff link: Daypring/Illustrated Faith Bible Journaling Kits]

The Bible is really all you need. Seriously. You don’t have to use a Bible study or devotional guide, in fact, for a lot of us those can become a distraction. Start with the Word … no matter what. I always read the passages noted in any devotional or on the SRT app and make notes for myself before I ever read what is written by someone else. If you can’t find a book or study you like, start reading a chapter a day from a book like John or Proverbs. {And if you want more information about how to dig in and study the Bible for yourself, the very best resource I can recommend is Jen Wilkin’s book, Women of the Word. Seriously, get it.} [aff link: Women of the Word]

Don’t try to be someone else! You don’t have to journal or draw pretty pictures in your Bible or create images with Bible verses in order to connect your heart with God’s. The goal is to know Him … not try to be like someone else. Allow your quiet time routine and patterns to grow as you grow in Him.

from 10 Tips for a Great Quiet Time || Don't try to be someone else! You don't have to journal or draw pretty pictures in your Bible or create images with Bible verses in order to connect your heart with God's. The goal is to know Him ... not try to be like someone else. Allow your quiet time routine and patterns to grow as you grow in Him.

Start where you are. This one is so important. If you’ve never managed a consistent quiet time, now may not the time to start reading straight through the Bible. Check out the Proverbs 31 First 5 app … it’s a simple way to engage with Scripture, pray, and have accountability with others.

Don’t be afraid to quit. Not quit completely … but if the study or resource you’re using isn’t working for you, don’t feel like you have to finish. I have several unfinished studies.  It’s not that they were bad, but I wasn’t connecting with them at the time. Often I go back to something I set aside several months earlier and find it is exactly what I needed.

If what you're doing for your quiet time isn't working, don't be afraid to quit & try something else! Click To Tweet

Share what you’ve learned. When we spend time in the Word, it changes us. Romans 12:2 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds and I firmly believe interacting with Scripture is the best way to have our minds transformed. So, why wouldn’t we want to share with others what God is teaching us.  Maybe you will share on social media or maybe with your husband.  Often I find that God brings people to mind who might be encouraged by what He is showing me. Sending a quick text or dropping a note in the mail to someone and sharing a verse that made you think of them is a great way for us to encourage others and share what God is teaching us.

Do what you’ve read. James writes, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). When you spend time reading the Bible, the next step is to apply it. Often I have found when someone feels like their quiet time isn’t helping them, the reality is they are not applying what they’ve learned.

Don't give up. Dry seasons will come and it will seem as though God is a million miles away and your prayers and study are not accomplishing anything. But trust that your faithfulness is valuable and He is always at work even when we can't see or feel it. Isaiah 55:11 reminds us, "So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."

Don’t give up. Dry seasons will come and it will seem as though God is a million miles away and your prayers and study are not accomplishing anything. But trust that your faithfulness is valuable and He is always at work even when we can’t see or feel it.  Isaiah 55:11 reminds us, “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Keep reading, keep praying, keep listening … He is always at work in us!

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If you were sitting here with me, what I’d want most to say to you is this:  God is passionate about you and wants you to know the fullness of His care and provision. A quiet time isn’t the goal — Jesus is the goal. 

xo,

Teri Lynne

7 Replies to “10 Tips for a Great Quiet Time {2016 Update!}”

  1. In the throes of busy and transition in life. Great post to aleve guilt when I’m not focused as I feel I should. He is by my side through all seasons.
    Joy!
    Kathy

    1. Oh Kathy! I’m so glad you found grace here … because YES!! There is simply this truth – HE IS NEAR!!
      xo,
      Teri Lynne

  2. Another wonderful post! Thank you for writing about something every Christian needs to hear.

    1. Thanks, Allie! I appreciate your encouragement.

  3. […] 10 {More} Tips for a Great Quiet Time — “Different seasons of life will bring new challenges to your quiet time routines. As your life goes through the normal ups and downs, so too will your quiet time.” […]

  4. I ran Across your posts at just the PERFECT time in my life, so glad God led me here!!

    1. Oh yay! I am so glad to hear that!! <3

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